Easy Tortelloni

Easy Tortelloni

Tortelloni could not be tastier paired with tomato cream sauce! The rich, tangy sauce pairs perfectly with chewy pasta pillows.


Got tortelloni? This delicious pasta is often mistaken for tortellini, but it’s easily the better of the cousin pasta shapes. The larger of the two is delightfully tender, with a generous gooey filling. Here’s our favorite way to serve them: with a tangy, garlicky tomato sauce, with a touch of richness from a hint of cream. It’s a great way to make them into a tasty vegetarian dinner or easy side dish. This one has been a huge hit with any friends and family we serve it to!

What is tortelloni?

What is tortelloni, anyway? It’s easy to grab a package and mistake it for the smaller pasta shape. What is tortelloni vs tortellini?

  • Tortelloni is a pasta shape that is larger than tortellini with a filled center. Tortellini has smaller and is ring shaped, with a hole in the middle. In traditional Italian cooking, tortelloni filling is vegetarian whereas tortellini often has meat. Tortellini is also often served in broth, whereas tortelloni is served with creamy sauces.
  • Where to find it? Tortelloni is easy to find the refrigerated section at your local grocery. It’s usually not available dried or frozen (though you can find tortellini dried and frozen).
  • How to tell the difference quickly? Tortellini has a hole in the middle, tortelloni has a solid center that encloses the filling.

Ways to serve tortelloni

Tortelloni is our preference over tortellini because it’s larger and more substantial. It’s great for serving with creamy sauces, whereas the smaller pasta shape can get lost. Here are some of the top ways to eat tortelloni:

Tomato cream sauce

Making tomato cream sauce: some tips!

This tomato cream sauce is our favorite way to serve tortelloni. It’s similar to a Vodka Sauce, but instead of slow cooking it for hours you can whip it up in just 30 minutes. Here are a few notes on the process:

  • Find best quality canned tomatoes. The quality of tomatoes makes the sauce. Our top choice is fire roasted, if you can find them: the flavor is sweet and developed right out of the can. Or look for San Marzano, an Italian variety of tomato with a sweet flavor. If you can’t find either, just find the best quality canned tomatoes you can find.
  • The secret ingredient? Fennel seeds. The fennel adds add hearty, meaty flavor that can’t be replicated. Don’t leave it out!
  • Simmer until thickened. This should take between 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the brand of tomatoes. Longer is always better, if you have the time!

Make it a meal: sides for tortelloni

Whip up a pan of this tortelloni, and you’re on your way to a delicious meal! You can serve it as a meatless main, or a side dish in part of a larger spread. We’ve served it as a side dish for salmon in a meal al fresco, and all our guests raved! Here are some ideas for making it into a meal:


Try it in these tortellini recipes

Can you use tortellini in this tortelloni recipe? Absolutely! These pasta types are easy to swap. You can also use tortelloni in these tasty tortellini recipes:

This tortelloni recipe is…

Vegetarian. For gluten-free, use gluten free tortelloni.


Easy Tortelloni

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 0 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Tortelloni could not be tastier paired with tomato cream sauce! The rich, tangy sauce pairs perfectly with chewy pasta pillows.


  • 18 ounces refrigerated cheese tortelloni*
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 28 ounce crushed tomatoes (fire roasted if possible)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons (double concentrated) tomato paste or 3 tablespoons normal tomato paste
  • 6 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/2 yellow onion, peeled
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • To serve: Parmesan cheese, fresh basil (optional)


  1. Make the sauce: Mince the garlic. Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and fennel seeds and cook for about 1 minute until fragrant and the garlic is golden (do not allow to brown). Turn the heat to medium low. Add the canned tomatoes, tomato paste, ¼ cup of the heavy cream, the half onion, and the salt. Simmer 20 to 30 minutes until the sauce is thickened. When thickened, remove the half onion and stir in remaining 2 tablespoons heavy cream.
  2. Cook the pasta: Start a large pot of well-salted water to boil. Boil the pasta until al dente according to the package instructions (usually around 2 minutes).
  3. Serve: When the sauce is done, add the pasta to the skillet. Top with Parmesan shavings and fresh basil, if desired.
  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian inspired

Keywords: Tortelloni

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