This easy and delicious recipe for brown butter tortellini with sage and a balsamic glaze is a delicious quick dinner perfect for any occasion. Make this easy recipe for family, guests or anytime you want a delicious quick dinner. The butter sauce for the tortellini is so easy to make and really delicious.
Table of contents
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 rigatoni bolognese recipe.
This cheese tortellini pasta recipe uses refrigerated tortellini but you can use frozen as well.
Why I love this recipe
The sage butter sauce that goes with the cheese tortellini is perfectly browned and so delicious. The butter and sage sauce is then tossed with the cheese tortellini for a delicious buttery and sweet flavor that gets added to the tortellini.
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 ravioli with asparagus recipe and I even add it to sweets like with my apple galette with brown butter frosting.
The other thing that makes this cheese tortellini so amazing is the balsamic reduction 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 homemade sauce for tortellini is ready in 30 minutes.
You can find the exact recipe quantities in the recipe card at the bottom.
- Cheese Tortellini: Use your favorite brand of cheese tortellini for this recipe, or you could even make your own.
- Balsamic Vinegar: Provides a balance of sweetness and a bit of tang that works perfectly with the nutty browned butter.
- Butter: Browning butter is the secret process behind this recipe that makes it so rich and satisfying.
- Fresh Sage: Gives the sauce an earthy and herbal flavor with notes of mint and lemon.
- Salt: Helps bring out all of the other flavors.
How to make brown butter tortellini
Making this entire meal from start to finish only takes about 30 minutes, including making the balsamic glaze and the sage butter sauce.
- The first thing you want to do is make the balsamic glaze. This will take about 10-15 minutes and all you need is balsamic vinegar.
- Just pour the balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan 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.
Easy butter sauce for the tortellini
After you are done making the balsamic glaze, start making the sage butter sauce for the tortellini.
- Add butter to a saucepan with fresh sage and gently cook it until the butter browns.
- While the butter is browning, the sage infuses its flavors in the butter creating the most amazing aromatic butter sauce.
- Remove from heat at this point.
Now you can start making the cheese tortellini.
- Follow the manufacturer's 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 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 browned sage butter sauce.
- Once the tortellini are in individual bowls, drizzle some of the balsamic glaze over the tortellini and serve.
How to Choose the Best Cheese Tortellini for this Recipe
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 a tortellini that was made and refrigerated right away. It can be found in the refrigerated section of stores.
Frozen tortellini is a 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 delicious tortellini when you buy fresh tortellini.
What to serve with cheese tortellini
This brown butter sage tortellini is a really quick dinner on its own but maybe you want to add more to this easy tortellini meal. Here are some of my favorite sides to serve with tortellini.
Sage butter sauce is made up of sage and butter that are slowly cooked on the stovetop allowing the sage to infuse into the butter.
If you do not have sage on hand, a good substitute would be fresh rosemary which is another wonderful woody herb.
It takes less than 10 minutes to brown butter. It will typically be ready in 5-8 minutes, depending on how much butter there is. If you start with butter that's been brought up to room temperature, this can speed up the process slightly.
Brown Butter Sage Tortellini
- 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
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