This easy and delicious recipe for cheese tortellini with browned butter and balsamic glaze is a delicious quick dinner perfect for any occasion. Make this cheese tortellini recipe for family, guests or anytime you want a delicious quick tortellini dinner. The cheese tortellini sauce is so delicious too and even simpler to make. I really feel strongly that this the best sauce for tortellini, hands down.
Recipe from the Emilia Romagna Region of Italy
This cheese tortellini recipe was taught to me by two wonderful Italian Sfoglinas during a trip to Italy. A Sfoglina is a woman who hand rolls pasta and in Italy, tortellini and its larger version, tortelloni, are traditionally hand rolled and shaped.
These women taught me this wonderfully simple cheese tortellini recipe and my authentic bolognese recipe.
This cheese tortellini recipe uses refrigerated tortellini but you can use frozen as well.
Why this is the Best Sauce for Tortellini
The cheese tortellini sauce in this recipe is browned butter with sage. This butter and sage sauce is tossed with the cheese tortellini and then it is topped with a good drizzle of sweet balsamic glaze.
If you have not worked with browned butter recipes, browning butter is so easy to do and it has the most delicious nutty flavor. I use browned butter for my cheese ravioli recipe and I even add it to sweets like with my apple galette with brown butter frosting.
The other thing that makes this the best tortellini sauce is the balsamic glaze that is drizzled over the top when serving. Reducing balsamic really sweetens it and that sweetness combined with the nutty flavors of the browned butter are the perfect match.
The entire recipe including this tortellini sauce, is ready in 30 minutes.
You can find the exact recipe quantities in the recipe card at the bottom.
Step by Step Instructions to make this cheese tortellini recipe
- The first thing you want to do is make the balsamic glaze. This will take about 15 minutes and all you need is balsamic vinegar. Just pour the balsamic vinegar into a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer over low heat.
Keep simmering until it is reduced by half. When it is done cooking, pour it into a small jar or bowl for later.
- After you are done making the balsamic glaze, start making the sage and browned butter sauce for the tortellini. This is merely adding butter to a sauce pan with fresh sage and gently cooking it until the butter browns. Remove from heat at this point.
- Now you can start making the cheese tortellini. Follow the manufacturers instructions for how long to cook the cheese tortellini to the point of al dente.
- Once the cheese tortellini is cooked, drain it and add it to the sage brown butter sauce. Toss the tortellini gently in the butter sauce until all of the tortellini are covered.
- You can now plate the cheese tortellini that has been coated in that delicious brown butter sage sauce. Once the tortellini are in individual bowls, drizzle some of the balsamic glaze over the tortellini and serve.
Choosing the Best Cheese Tortellini for this Recipe
Difference between fresh tortellini, frozen tortellini and dried tortellini
There are three types of cheese tortellini that you can find in most stores. Frozen tortellini, fresh tortellini and shelf stable tortellini (this is dried and found not refrigerated.)
Fresh tortellini is tortellini that was made and refrigerated right away. It can be found in the refrigerated section of stores.
Frozen tortellini is fresh tortellini that has been frozen to extend its shelf life. You can find this in the freezer section.
Shelf stable (or dried tortellini) is tortellini that has been dried and sealed in packaging to make it safe for grocery store shelves.
I prefer using fresh refrigerated tortellini because it cooks up in 2-3 minutes and it is the freshest option. You can also find really wonderful high quality brands that make a delicious tortellini when you buy fresh tortellini.
Type of Cheese Tortellini to Use
This cheese tortellini recipe works best with a ricotta and parmesan mixture in the tortellini. You can use any cheese tortellini that you prefer but make sure to avoid using meat tortellini.
What to serve with this tortellini meal
- Spinach Salad. Our easy fresh spinach salad makes a great quick side and it is big on flavor. This one takes just minutes to make.
- Asparagus. Roasted Asparagus is so easy to make and this one is cheesy and delicious and can be cooking in the oven while you make the tortellini.
- Broccoli. We love broccoli and we often make a Charred Broccoli and a roasted garlic broccoli to go with this tortellini recipe.
- Arugula. We love the peppery bite of arugula. Our warm Radicchio and Arugula Salad is the perfect warm salad to make and if you are new to cooking with radicchio, this is a great intro to it.
- Crostini. Any good Italian meal is always made better with a classic Garlic Crostini
Browned Butter Cheese Tortellini with Balsamic Glaze
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- 24 ounces Fresh cheese tortellini frozen works too
- ½ cup Salted Butter
- 5 Fresh sage leaves cut thin lengthwise
- Freshly grated Parmesan for serving optional
- ½ cup Balsamic vinegar
Making the Balsamic Glaze
- Add balsamic to a small sauce over medium heat and bring to simmer.½ cup Balsamic vinegar
- Once simmering, reduce heat to low and cook until the balsamic is reduced by half.
- Once reduced, pour balsamic into a small bowl and set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- While you are waiting for the water to boil, Add butter to a large sauce pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer.½ cup Salted Butter
- Once the butter starts to simmer a little bit, reduce heat to low and add sage.5 Fresh sage leaves
- Cook the butter and sage until the butter begins to turn golden in color. It is normal to see little brown speckles throughout the butter at this point. That is the flavor!
- Once the butter is golden brown, remove from the heat and set aside.
- Once pasta water is boiling, add a good pinch of salt then add the tortellini.24 ounces Fresh cheese tortellini
- Cook the tortellini according to the manufacturers instructions
- When ready, drain tortellini then add it to the pan with the browned butter and sage.
- Toss the tortellini gently in the browned butter making sure to coat all of them.
- Plate tortellini in individual bowls.
- Drizzle with balsamic glaze and serve immediately with Parmesan on the side.Freshly grated Parmesan for serving
Nutrition Values are estimates only.See full nutrition disclaimer here