This delicious Pesto Tortellini comes together beautifully and quickly with a homemade basil pesto sauce! Fresh and flavorful pesto made with basil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, quality olive oil and a hint of garlic and lemon with fresh cheese tortellini is a match made in heaven! Great for busy weeknights!
Pesto Tortellini Recipe
One of the most simple yet delicious recipes in my weeknight dinners repertoire, this quick and easy Pesto Tortellini recipe has amazing flavor thanks to the homemade pesto sauce. Fresh, flavorful, fantastic pesto sauce is the key ingredient in this recipe and perfectly complements the cheesy tortellini. It is so incredibly easy to make your own pesto and it tastes much better than any jarred version.
Pesto freezes really well too so go ahead and double or triple the batch so you can have yummy homemade pesto at any time!
Basil Pesto Recipe
This recipe is all about the homemade basil pesto! Made with fresh basil, toasted pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, high quality olive oil and a hint of garlic and lemon, this fresh basil pesto is loaded with flavor and is perfect with pasta and is terrific in so many other ways:
- spread for sandwiches
- dip for bread
- use as a veggie dip
- make a pesto pizza
Why You’ll Love This Pesto Tortellini Recipe
Delicious cheese tortellini coated with a tasty homemade pesto – weeknight dinners don’t get much better than this. This simple recipe is sure to become a new favorite!
- Quick & Easy. This simple recipe is ready in just about the time it takes to boil pasta which makes it perfect for busy evenings.
- Flavorful. You absolutely cannot beat the flavor in the homemade pesto sauce. Bright, vibrant, so delicious. The homemade pesto sauce, with its fresh basil and nutty Parmesan, packs a punch of flavor.
- Customizable. Add your favorite protein (chicken, shrimp, etc.) or try a new flavor tortellini or pasta.
How To Make Pesto Tortellini
This recipe couldn’t be easier to prepare! Let’s take a quick look at how to make this recipe and as always, you can find the full printable recipe with complete instructions in the recipe card at the end of this post.
- Tortellini. Cook the tortellini according to the package instructions, reserving some cooking water for later.
- Basil Pesto. Process basil, garlic, Parmesan, pine nuts, olive oil and lemon juice in a food processor until smooth, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
- Combine. Combine the pesto with the cooked tortellini, adding cooking water as needed to achieve your desired consistency.
- Serve. Garnish with shaved Parmesan, toasted pine nuts and fresh basil leaves. Serve and enjoy!
Toasted Pine Nuts
Storage. This dish is best enjoyed fresh but can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. I don’t recommend freezing the assembled dish as the pasta can get mushy when thawed.
Make Ahead. Making the pesto in advance is a great time-saver. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week or frozen for up to a month. Just ensure it’s well-covered or stored in an airtight container to maintain freshness.
Freezing. The pesto can be frozen for up to a month. Store in a freezer safe, airtight container. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.
Variations To Try
- Consider adding grilled chicken or shrimp for an added boost of protein.
- Use different flavor tortellini or even ravioli in this dish for a different flavor profile.
- Add even more flavor with some chopped sun-dried tomatoes, or add in roasted vegetables like cherry tomatoes or zucchini.
- Add a sprinkle of red chili flakes to the dish to give it a little heat and spice.
- We used a fresh cheese tortellini here but you can use any variety you like. Aim for around 5 ounces of tortellini per person and cook according to the package instructions.
- Fresh tortellini will only take 2 to 3 minutes to cook but you could also use frozen which will take a little longer so keep that in mind.
- Make sure to reserve some of the water from cooking the pasta. It’s what helps the sauce clink to the tortellini.
- High quality Parmesan and olive oil will really enhance the flavor of the pesto.
Can I use store bought pesto instead?
Sure! I love the flavor and freshness of homemade pesto but store bought pesto can be a great time saver.
What if I don’t have a food processor?
The pesto can also be made in a blender although keep in mind that you will likely need to scrape the sides of the blender often. A mortar and pestle will also work although the pesto will have more texture.
How do I keep my fresh pesto bright green?
The key to keeping the pesto’s bright green color is the addition of lemon juice. The acid helps prevent oxidation. Also, try storing the pesto with a layer of olive oil on top in an airtight container in the refrigerator to help maintain its vibrant color.
What if it’s too thick or too thin?
Too thick? Add a bit more of the reserved pasta cooking water to the skillet, a tablespoon at a time, until you reach your desired consistency. Too thin? Let the pasta simmer on low heat for a few minutes can help thicken it up.
Pair this delicious pasta with a crisp, green salad dressed in a simple vinaigrette, fresh bread and Strawberry Italian Soda for the kids and kids at heart. A glass of light Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc beautifully complements the rich flavors of the pesto.
More Delicious Pasta Recipes
- Bang Bang Shrimp Pasta
- Lazy Day Lasagna
- Velveeta Mac and Cheese
- Chili Mac and Cheese
- Cheeseburger Casserole
- 20 ounces cheese tortellini fresh or frozen
For the pesto
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves
- 2 small garlic cloves minced
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese grated
- ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ lemon juiced
- salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup Parmesan grated or shaved
- toasted pine nuts
- basil leaves
- Cook the tortellini according to the package instructions then drain and reserve ½ cup cooking water.20 ounces cheese tortellini
- To make the pesto, add all the ingredients except for salt and pepper to a food processor and process until mostly smooth. You can add a splash of water if the pesto looks too thick.2 cups fresh basil leaves, 2 small garlic cloves, ½ cup Parmesan cheese, ¼ cup toasted pine nuts, ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil, ½ lemon
- Season the pesto to taste.salt and pepper
- Return the drained tortellini to the pan over a low heat and add the pesto. Mix well to coat the tortellini in the pesto and add a spash of reserved cooking water if needed.
- Heat through then scatter over parmesan, pine nuts and basil leaves.¼ cup Parmesan, toasted pine nuts, basil leaves
- Serve immediately and enjoy!