Tortellini is a classic stuffed pasta dish from Italy, it’s part of the Italian cuisine that has become so commonplace in America now thanks to Italian immigration. The dish is really tasty and satisfying while also not that filling.
People love to combine it with cheese, and if you have a good pasta dough recipe at hand then these tortellini can be quite easy to make at home, in whatever shape you want.
Whether you want to test your pasta making skills, or learn about cheese flavor combinations, don’t look further than our article. Keep reading to learn more about tortellini and classic Italian cheese flavor combination – find out below!
What Is Tortellini?
Like individual pasta shapes, each has their own unique name and shape, stuffed pasta is very much the same.
Each stuffed pasta shape has its own name that describes each shape and how they are different such as ravioli, mezzelune, tortelloni, cappelletti, as well as tortellini which we will focus on today.
That said, you can easily make any of the listed recipes into whatever stuffed pasta shape you see fit.
Specifically, tortellini are ring shaped and resemble tiny croissants, they are like mezzelune but the corners have been joined together, typically the size of a marble.
Tortelloni, similar in name, is different, often larger, and with a slightly different shape. For reference, ravioli, the most common stuffed pasta shape, is square and looks like a pillow.
Best Cheese Tortellini Recipes
Below you will find our favorite tortellini recipes which include cheese as the main ingredient.
1. Simple Parmesan Cheese Tortellini
This recipe is a great, simple, base recipe you can use to build on, that only uses parmesan cheese and other classic Italian flavors.
This is a great dish where your sauce can be your main star, letting them both mutually benefit each other’s simple but well made ingredients. The recipe shows how to make your own pasta, and shows the classic Italian way to serve with a brodo, or Italian broth.
2. Ricotta Tortellini
While the previous recipe uses parmesan as the main cheese, this dish instead uses another popular Italian cheese – Ricotta.
Ricotta is much smoother and creamier than parmesan and is perhaps the ideal cheese to use with tortellini due to this texture difference.
Ricotta also pairs really well with a fresh tomato and basil sauce, but the sauce you use can be totally up to your own preferences.
3. Tuscan Tortellini With Sausage And Spinach
This is much more of a full meal recipe and shows how tortellini can be much more than just pasta and tomato sauce. Inspired from the region of Tuscany this dish uses pre-bought tortellini which is cool, but making your own can be easy and more rewarding.
In any case adding teh sausage and spinach creates a kind of ragu bolognese vibe to the dish but is very warming, ideal in winter, and much more filling and a whole meal than just cheese tortellini.
4. Tortellini In Garlic Butter Sauce
This tortellini recipe shows how you can create quite a basic sauce with just butter and garlic for something simple but satisfying.
Sometimes this type of garlic butter sauce can really bring out the natural flavors of the tortellini, specifically if you have made your own pasta. It also shows how inexpensive this dish can be, but will really knock the socks of any Italian food lover.
Rather than using the cornstarch for thickening, as the recipe suggests, use the natural starchy liquid left behind when boiling your pasta, this naturally thickens your sauce without adding anything else.
5. Fall Harvest Tortellini
The great thing about tortellini is you can adapt the dish to basically any season, using whatever vegetables are on offer at the time you are making the dish.
This dish celebrates the fall, the cheese tortellini is complemented by squash, bacon, sage, and a brown butter sauce.
This dish is super flavorsome, umami, and particularly warming and welcoming on a cold fall night, all while celebrating the harvest of the fall season!
6. Tortellini Alla Panna
This is a great upgrade on store bought tortellini, but, again, making your own is easy and rewarding and tastes better. The sauce is particularly traditional and comparable to a carbonara sauce, albeit a little different.
The sauce is composed of parmesan, egg yolks and cream, so your classically American take on the Italian carbonara sauce, which doesn’t use cream.
The outcome, while not wholly traditional, is a good way to get lots of carbs and fat into lots of people quickly, ideal for a winter family dish.
7. Baked Tortellini
One fun way to use tortellini if you are running out of fresh ideas, is to create a tortellini bake, approaching the stuffed pasta the same way you would a lasagne, ziti, or pasta bake.
This is perhaps ideal for store bought tortellini as fresh tortellini is going to overcook in the oven. If you particularly love the baked mozzarella vibe where the cheese catches like the top of pizza, there’s no better dish to try for a stringy, cheesy affair.
8. Veal Tortellini With Blue Cheese And Walnut Sauce
This is a very special tortellini dish that shows how the dish can be quite fancy, rather than being simple store bought stuff.
Veal as a filling isn’t particularly common or traditional but is an interesting idea that does match the flavors well, you could use store bought or just make your own tortellini with whatever meat filling you prefer.
In any case, the blue cheese and walnut sauce here is really the star of the show and isn’t very hard to make but creates something balanced but rich and is ideal for a date night or special occasion.
9. Tomato And Mozzarella Tortelloni Arrabbiata
Arrabbiata is the Italian name for a spicy tomato pasta sauce that uses chillies as well as tomatoes, it translates as ‘angry’ into English which describes the spice.
In any case, teh mozzarella and tomato tortelloni, a slightly large and different shape to tortellini, although use the latter if you wish, is an ideal accompaniment to the spicy sauce.
The mozzarella does well to balance the spice with a cream and chewy cheese that creates a canvas for the other flavors to paint onto.
10. Brown Butter Pumpkin Tortellini Alla Vodka
This cozy bowl of pasta is another winner that celebrates the fall months. The nutty brown butter pairs perfectly with the pumpkin sauce and is thinned out with the vodka that adds a perfect element to cut through the noise.
The creamy tortellini provides the ideal textural difference to carry the flavorsome and rich sauce, and is perfectly balanced with grated parmesan cheese on top for a little bit of funk to bring everything together.
11. Three Cheese Tortellini With Summer Vegetables
This is a tortellini dish that celebrates the summer produce common in Italy. Summer squash and zucchini are the vegetables of choice here and are really lovely textural accompaniments to the dish.
When cooked until jammy they are slightly sweet and rich and delicious when combined with the creamy tortellini. The fresh basil leaves and a splash of lemon juice make this a bright and ideal summer lunch dish to eat in the Siciilian sun.
12. Summer Tortellini Salad
Pasta salads are a common thing that many people have, so the idea of tortellini salad served cold like the former dish isn’t such an impossible idea. Instead, we get something that is really texturally pleasant when combined with other vegetables.
The combination of the tortellini with mozzarella balls, tomatoes, greens, and fresh onion is really tasty and bright and shows the versatility of the humble tortellini, homemade or otherwise.
The addition of pesto here is truly tasty and worthwhile, the ideal dish to accompany a barbeque and serve to many.
13. Creamy Pesto Tortellini
Pesto is an ideal sauce to combine with tortellini and is the ideal ingredient to cut through other flavors. Pesto is sharp but still tasty and creamy, especially when paired with a butter to help the sauce coat the pasta.
This dish is really simple but super tasty. If you make homemade pesto and tortellini, which is not as hard as you think, then this dish can be really amazing and costs practically nothing to make.
As you can see, tortellini is a hugely versatile dish. Not only can you make your own tortellini super easily and for pennies, you can happily jazz up most store bought tortellinis with these recipes and a homemade sauce.
Regardless of which you use, tortellini is a great way to celebrate whatever season you are in by using any of the various sauces and vegetable combinations listed, whether that is a warming and rich sauce inspired by fall, or something bright and fresh from the summer harvest.
No matter which route you go, you will always remain satisfied with tortellini in your tummy.
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