Do you want a homemade dinner that's ready in only 15 minutes? Yes, you heard right...15 minutes! Then Tortellini with Tomato Spinach Cream Sauce is the dinner for you. Made with simple ingredients, this family-friendly vegetarian tortellini dish is an excellent choice for busy weeknights.
Okay, let's be real for a minute. Who's working from home, trying to entertain or educate the children, and has a house that looks like a tornado blew through it?? ME! You would think you had more time to clean and cook and do laundry when working at home, but the reality is, you probably don't. Or maybe you've found other fun things to do instead, and that's okay with me. And if you're considered an essential worker, hat's off to you! You will definitely need this seriously fast, seriously delicious tortellini with tomato spinach cream sauce dinner.
Tortellini with tomato spinach cream sauce is a delicious, super-fast dinner ready in FIFTEEN MINUTES! And if you're really fast and get the instructions down pat, you'll be able to whip this up in 10 minutes. Tortellini with tomato spinach cream sauce is one of the best dinners for busy nights (or lazy nights) or when there are hungry children who just. cannot. wait.
If you've been reading my blog, you know that my children love pasta. There isn't a pasta my oldest daughter won't eat. The baby is still learning about how fabulous pasta covered in a healthy olive oil sauce or a rich creamy sauce is. She always eats homemade spaghetti, creamy mac n cheese and pasta shells with broccoli, garlic, olive oil, and parmesan, but is skeptical of some otherwise tasty pasta dishes. She'll get there. And when she does, I know she will devour tortellini with tomato spinach cream sauce!
If you're in a rush tonight or are simply looking for something different yet delicious, make this tortellini dinner! Maybe you're too tired to spend time cooking. Or maybe you want something fast so you can spend more time with your family. Tortellini with tomato spinach cream sauce is the dinner for you!
ingredients in tortellini with tomato spinach cream sauce
To make this tasty tortellini with tomato spinach cream sauce, you will need:
- tortellini (fresh or frozen)
- canned diced tomatoes
- chopped fresh spinach
- minced garlic
- salt, pepper & basil
- whole milk, flour & butter
- parmesan cheese
variations to ingredients for tortellini with tomato spinach cream sauce
Can I use fresh tomatoes instead of canned? Yes, you can most definitely use fresh tomatoes instead of canned ones. I have made this using both and my family loves it with either. There are 2 key adjustments if you use freshly diced tomatoes. 1, you'll lose the juice from the canned tomatoes so you'll want to simmer them for a little while longer when you get to this step in the instructions (I'll remind you later!). I recommend using very ripe and soft, but not mushy, tomatoes. 2, since you won't have that red canned tomato juice, the cream sauce will not be as red in color when using fresh tomatoes. What I do like about using fresh tomatoes is that I control how big or small they are diced.
If you stick with the canned tomatoes, you can go with petite diced, regular diced, or even stewed tomatoes. Petite diced tomatoes will give you smaller tomatoes spread out more in the sauce, meaning more tomatoes in every bite! Regular diced tomatoes will give you a little less tomatoes in each bite, while stewed tomatoes will give you big tomato chunks, but not a lot of them. I only use stewed tomatoes when that's all I have in my pantry, and I chop them into smaller pieces.
Can I use frozen spinach? Sure, if you have frozen spinach on hand that's fine. I've never made it with frozen spinach, but I don't see why this wouldn't work. It will probably result in smaller spinach pieces throughout the sauce, so if you have kids that are picky about greens, use caution here.
Can I use fresh basil? Absolutely! I always prefer fresh basil in my recipes, and try to only use dried basil when the fresh isn't in season. Remember to use 3 times as much fresh basil than you would the dried. To make tortellini with tomato spinach cream sauce, you'll need 6 teaspoons of fresh basil.
The tomatoes, spinach, garlic, and spices add the flavor and color to the cream sauce. Once you have those ingredients sauteed together, you'll make the base of the sauce using the milk, flour, butter, and Parmesan. There are a few ways you can do this.
One way is to use all whole milk, flour, butter, and grated Parmesan cheese, as I did here and as the recipe primarily is written for. You can also use a combination of whole milk and heavy cream, flour, and grated Parmesan. There is no need to use the butter if you use heavy cream. You can even use a combination of whole milk and evaporated milk, flour, and grated Parmesan.
All three variations result in a similar taste, but if you use heavy cream the final product will be a little richer. However, you'll also add calories with heavy cream so if you're looking for a healthier option, stick with all milk. And for an even healthier option, use 1 or 2 % milk instead of whole milk.
how to make tortellini with tomato spinach cream sauce
Super fast tortellini with tomato spinach cream sauce has just 4 simple steps.
First, bring water in a large pot to a boil. Covering the pot will get the water to boil quickly. Then add the tortellini and simmer until they rise, about 4 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Second, while you're waiting for the water to boil or the tortellini to rise, make the sauce by sauteing the diced tomatoes, spinach, minced garlic, salt, pepper, and basil in a large pan over high heat. Stir occasionally until the water from the tomatoes begins to bubble, about 3 minutes. If you're using fresh tomatoes, simmer for longer, until the tomatoes cook down and they release their juices which takes about 10 minutes.
Third, add the milk, flour, and butter. Stir until the flour dissolves into the milk. Then add the Parmesan cheese and mix well. Let simmer for 3 minutes to thicken.
Last, toss the tomato spinach cream sauce with the cooked tortellini.
Now serve, relax, and enjoy your freshly made tortellini with tomato spinach cream sauce!
a kid-friendly version
Tortellini with tomato spinach cream is family and kid friendly already. What kid doesn't like pasta?! But for picky kids who get disgruntled over finding greens hidden in their dinner, simply pick them out. Don't tear or chop the spinach too small during this step while making it, and you should be able to pick them out easily.
I also suggest using petite diced tomatoes or chopping your fresh tomatoes into very small pieces if your family includes smaller children. The texture of big chunky tomatoes might be too much for younger kids, especially babies.
And as far as the tortellini themselves, young babies may have a problem with their chewy texture and thickness. It's best to cut them into fours or add the sauce to another small pasta for your babe, like elbows, ditalini, wagon wheels, or shells. Or, if you skip this meal for babies altogether, try this homemade tomato sauce and spaghettio recipe with ditalini pasta.
serving tortellini with tomato spinach cream sauce
Tortellini with tomato spinach cream sauces makes a satisfying vegetarian dinner on it's own. For meat-eating families, it is a great dinner to add to your "meatless Monday" rotation.
As a side, tortellini with tomato spinach cream sauce is excellent paired with a simple meat or fish. Because the pasta is infused with tomato spinach flavors, you don't want to pair it with something strongly flavored. Grilled chicken or salmon are excellent choices. You can even add cooked shrimp or shredded rotisserie chicken to the tortellini and sauce for a full one-pot stir fry type meal.
Tortellini with Tomato Spinach Cream Sauce
- 16 oz tortellini
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 cup chopped fresh spinach
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tsp basil
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 1 ½ cups whole milk (or a combination of heavy cream and milk)
- 2 tbsp butter*
- 2 tbsp flour
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the tortellini until they rise (about 4 minutes). Drain. Hint: cover the water as it heats to bring it to a boiler quicker.
- In a large pan or wok, saute the tomatoes, spinach, garlic, basil, salt, and pepper over medium heat until the water from the tomatoes bubbles, about 3 minutes.
- Add the milk, butter, and flour. Stir to incorporate the flour into the butter. Add the Parmesan and stir well. Simmer for 3 minutes as the sauce thickens.
- Remove from heat and toss with tortellini. Serve as a vegetarian main course or as a side with chicken or fish.
storing tortellini with tomato spinach cream sauce
Tortellini with tomato spinach cream sauce keeps well in the fridge for up to 3 days. It could be freezer friendly, but I have never done this (it's just too good to have leftovers!). On their own, all of the ingredients, including the spinach, tomatoes, tortellini, and sauce are freezer-friendly, so I think that you should probably be okay.
And that’s all you need to know about making this incredibly fast and simple tortellini with tomato spinach cream sauce dinner. Let’s start cooking!
Did you enjoy it? Let me know how much you loved it and what you did differently in the comments below! Don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest for the latest recipes and more!