Easy Tortellini Alfredo for the win! What beats cheese tortellini smothered in a rich, buttery, creamy, garlicky alfredo sauce on those nights when nothing but pasta will do? This dish is an easy crowd-pleaser and sure to be a new family favorite.
If you want all the easy, delicious Italian pasta recipes, then you’ll want to try my other popular posts like Easy Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana Soup, Creamy Sausage Pasta, and One Pot Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta.
Is there anything better than cheese tortellini in alfredo sauce? I mean, okay, to be honest, I’ll take just about any pasta covered in creamy, garlicky alfredo sauce. It’s truly one of my favorites. But to top cheese tortellini in this sauce? My, oh, my, every bite is a little bit of heaven.
Even people who generally don’t like creamy sauces I think will be won over by this one. I choose to use fat free half and half on purpose. With the butter and flour, and then the cheese in the tortellini already, I think it’s okay to cut back a bit on the fat and in my opinion it makes for a smoother, less thick sauce that really melts right over the pasta and really coats every little piece of tortellini.
Also, you can easily add veggies to this dish to get your greens in, if you are worried about offsetting the butter and cheese. Or you can make some simple, fresh vegetable sides to eat with this tortellini pasta recipe. I’ll go into more detail on that below, as well as offer some “pro-tips” for making this Easy Tortellini Alfredo the best it can be.
WHAT INGREDIENTS DO YOU NEED TO MAKE TORTELLINI ALFREDO?
For this dish, all you need is a few simple ingredients.
- Refrigerated cheese tortellini
- Minced garlic
- Milk (or fat free half and half)
- Salt and pepper
- Reserved pasta water
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Fresh chopped parsley and grated parm (optional)
HOW DO YOU MAKE CHEESE TORTELLINI ALFREDO?
I love that this recipe starts with store-bought, refrigerated cheese tortellini because once you have that, the rest is a cinch to make. I have not made my own tortellini but if you know how to make it and want to make your own, go for it!
First things first: Bring a pot of water to boil for the tortellini. All it takes is about 3 minutes (for the store-bought kind, anyway) until it’s cooked. Then, use a slotted spoon to remove the tortellini or strain it, but either way, don’t dump out that pasta water! You’ll need it later to make the sauce.
Next, you’ll turn your attention to the alfredo sauce (the best part!). Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic to the melted butter and stir for 1 minute, the garlic should be nice and fragrant. Sprinkle the flour to the melted butter and garlic and stir, stir, stir, until a paste (the roux) forms. At this point, you’ll gradually whisk in the milk or half and half until the paste smoothes out as the milk is fully incorporated. Add salt and pepper and ½ a cup of the reserved pasta water.
The last step of the alfredo sauce-making is to add that lovely parmesan cheese! To the sauce, stir in the cheese a bit at a time and let it melt down and fully incorporate into the sauce. Add more pasta water (a little at a time) to make the sauce thin and pourable. Add in more salt and pepper if you wish, then put the tortellini back into the sauce, letting it heat through for about 2-3 minutes. Garnish with cracked black pepper, parsley and more parmesan if you like.
CAN I ADD VEGETABLES TO CHEESE TORTELLINI?
The easiest way to add vegetables to this Easy Tortellini Alfredo dish is to put them right in with the sauce and pasta. You can do this one of two ways:
- Add a green into the sauce at the same time you’re heating up the tortelli in step 8. Spinach, baby kale, arugula, or even peas will work and heat up quickly at this point.
- Steam a veggie on the side and add it to the sauce and cheese tortellini to incorporate. Some of my favorites include broccoli, cauliflower, and zucchini or yellow squash rounds.
TIPS & TRICKS FOR MAKING TORTELLINI ALFREDO
- Don’t skip out on the important step of using freshly grated parmesan cheese. Pre-shredded and pre-grated parmesan has a powder coating on it that won’t melt smoothly or incorporate s well as freshly-grated parmesan will.
- Because you have to let the tortellini sit for a bit while you make the sauce, I recommend adding 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil to it and tossing it all together so that the pasta doesn’t stick to itself.
The higher the fat content of your milk, the richer and creamier the sauce will be. For an ultra-rich and super-creamy sauce, swap out a portion of the milk (or fat-free half-and-half) for heavy cream.
Easy Tortellini Alfredo
- 18 ounces refrigerated cheese tortellini
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 3 cups milk I used fat free half and half
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper or to taste
- 1 - 1 1/2 cups reserved pasta water
- 1/3-1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese see note
- fresh chopped parsley and grated parmesan for topping optional
- Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add tortellini. Boil 3 minutes. use a slotted spoon to remove from the pot or strain and reserve the pasta liquid for later.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in garlic for 1 minute til fragrant.
- Sprinkle flour over the melted butter and garlic and stir until a paste forms.
- Gradually whisk in milk until smooth and fully incorporated.
- Stir in salt, pepper, and 1/2 cup reserved pasta water.
- Stir in salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese until cheese is fully melted and incorporated.
- Gradually whisk in more pasta water as needed to rich a smooth, pourable sauce.
- Taste, add salt and pepper if needed. Stir in tortellini for 2-3 minutes til hot throughout and top with cracked black pepper, parsley, and grated parmesan if desired.