One-Pan Creamy Tortellini Primavera

published Apr 29, 2024
Creamy Tortellini Primavera Recipe

You only need 20 minutes to make this veggie-packed weeknight pasta.

Serves4

Prep10 minutes

Cook10 minutes to 15 minutes

Jump to Recipe
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
overhead shot of creamy tortellini primavera, topped with cheese, in a pan
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Kelli Foster

Last year, I developed a tortellini piccata recipe as part of my Dinner Therapist column, and now looking back, I can tell you that it’s the defining meal that catapulted me into my one-pan tortellini era. So much so that I’ve been trying new variations every week. The latest version is a veggie-packed tortellini primavera with a light, creamy sauce. And I just can’t get enough of it. 

I love that the tortellini and sauce cook together in the same pot, so the pasta picks up extra flavor as the sauce works its way into all the nooks and folds, so you get plenty of creamy sauce in every bite. A mix of asparagus, tomatoes, and peas keep this 20-minute meal (that’s reminiscent of pasta primavera) feeling light, fresh, and perfect for spring and summer. 

Why You’ll Love It

  • This dinner is just as much about the pasta as it is about the vegetables. You get a mix of asparagus, tomatoes, and peas that pretty much equal the amount of tortellini.
  • While this tortellini has a creamy sauce, it’s incredibly light and the whole dish feels fresh. The sauce has lots of body and the best velvety consistency, which comes from a combination of the tortellini cooking directly in the sauce, an egg yolk and Parmesan paste (more on this below!), and heavy cream.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Kelli Foster

Key Ingredients in Creamy Tortellini Primavera

  • Cheese tortellini. This recipe works with either refrigerated or frozen tortellini. I personally prefer refrigerated (specifically Rana’s cheese tortellini) because the total cook time is about 5 minutes shorter. That said, I’ve made this many times frozen, and that also works great. The recipe calls for 20 ounces, which happens to be the amount in most family- or value-size packages.
  • Vegetables. A mix of trimmed asparagus, halved cherry or grape tomatoes, and frozen peas are mixed with the tortellini.
  • Egg yolk. Mixing egg yolk with some Parmesan makes a paste that ultimately gives the velvety sauce more body.
  • Heavy cream. This gets combined with your choice of vegetable or chicken broth for a light and creamy sauce. 

How to Make Creamy Tortellini Primavera

  1. Prep the ingredients. Finely grate Parmesan cheese and beat with an egg yolk, and chop the vegetables. 
  2. Cook the tortellini (most of the way). Once the liquid ingredients come to a simmer, the tortellini are added to the pan and cooked for a few minutes shy of being tender. The tortellini won’t be fully submerged (that’s okay).
  3. Add the asparagus. To ensure the asparagus have a crisp-tender bite, they’re added to the pan in the final minutes of cooking. 
  4. Finish the tortellini. Once the pan comes off the heat, the egg yolk-Parmesan mixture is stirred in, followed by the tomatoes and peas. If the sauce feels a little thin, let the pan sit for up to 5 minutes and it will thicken.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Kelli Foster

Helpful Swaps 

  • The recipe calls for cheese tortellini because it makes a nice base for the medley of vegetables and creamy sauce, but truly any variety of tortellini can work here. If you have a favorite that’s not plain cheese, definitely try it out here. 
  • The beauty of this recipe, like so many versions of primavera, is that a variety of vegetables can work. In place of asparagus, you could easily use an equal amount of trimmed green beans, bite-size broccoli florets, zucchini half moons, or bell peppers.

Creamy Tortellini Primavera Recipe

You only need 20 minutes to make this veggie-packed weeknight pasta.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 10 minutes to 15 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce

    Parmesan cheese (1/2 cup firmly packed freshly grated or 1/3 cup store-bought grated), plus more for serving

  • 1

    large egg yolk

  • 2 cloves

    garlic

  • 8 ounces

    asparagus (1/2 bunch)

  • 1 cup

    grape or cherry tomatoes (5 to 6 ounces)

  • 1 1/2 cups

    heavy cream

  • 1 cup

    low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons

    kosher salt, plus more as needed

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 20 ounces

    refrigerated or frozen cheese tortellini (do not thaw)

  • 1 cup

    frozen peas (do not thaw)

Instructions

  1. Finely grate 1 ounce Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 packed cup), or measure out 1/3 cup store-bought grated, and place in a small bowl. Add 1 large egg yolk and beat with a fork until a uniform, thick paste forms.

  2. Mince 2 garlic cloves. Trim 8 ounces asparagus and cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces (about 1 1/2 cups). Halve 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes.

  3. Place the garlic, 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, 1 cup low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth, 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in a large skillet. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring to combine. Add 20 ounces refrigerated or frozen cheese tortellini (it will be halfway submerged in the sauce). Cook, stirring frequently to prevent the tortellini from sticking, for 3 minutes for refrigerated tortellini or 7 minutes for frozen tortellini.

  4. Add the asparagus and stir to combine. Cook until the tortellini is tender and warmed through, the sauce is slightly thickened, and the asparagus is crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes more.

  5. Remove the skillet from the heat. Add the Parmesan cheese-egg mixture and stir vigorously to combine. Add the tomatoes and 1 cup frozen peas, and stir to combine. Taste and season with more kosher salt and black pepper as needed. Top with grated Parmesan cheese and fresh basil leaves if desired.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat with a few splashes of water or broth.