On busy weeknights I’m always looking for ways I can get dinner on the table quickly – like REALLY quickly! – with minimal effort and without compromising on flavour. I love this super-comforting tortellini in a creamy, garlicky tomato sauce as I can have it prepped and cooked in under 15 minutes. It’s simple but substantial because I use tortellini stuffed with spinach and cheese and it’s topped with lashings of Parmesan cheese. It’s all cooked in one pan and you don’t even have to precook the pasta! I came up with this recipe while on a family holiday when I was looking for something super quick, easy and full of flavour that we could all enjoy – which would work with limited stove real estate and used just one pan.

Close up of Spinach & Ricotta Tortellini with Creamy Tomato Sauce Recipe
In this easy and delicious one-pan dish, spinach and ricotta tortellini is cooked in a luscious, creamy tomato sauce. There’s no need to precook the pasta as it’s fresh so it cooks in the sauce.

This Spinach & Ricotta Tortellini with Creamy Tomato Sauce is so versatile and easily adaptable and you can throw in pretty much any vegetables you like after sautéing the onion. There’s minimal chopping, minimal washing up and minimal stress involved, which equals a big win for me! It’s spiced up with an Italian chilli oil, but you can leave this out if you prefer.

What are some other quick and easy meal ideas that take 15 minutes or less to make?

Some of my favourite super quick meal ideas are: Easy Butter Chicken, Sticky Pork Noodles, Mediterranean Pizza, Eggplant & Tofu Red Curry, Beef Burrito Bowl and 10 Minute Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta to name just a few. You can view all of my 15 minute meals here.

What other ingredients can I add?

This is the perfect “catch-all” meal, allowing you to use up all of those veggies hiding in your crisper. I’ve used baby spinach in the recipe (minimal chopping!) but diced zucchini (courgette), sliced broccoli, green beans, snow peas (mangetout), capsicum (bell peppers) or shredded kale would also work beautifully. Add up to 2 cups of vegetables of your choice after adding the onion.

A Bowl of One pan of Spinach & Ricotta Tortellini with Creamy Tomato Sauce Recipe with fork
I drizzle the finished tortellini with some Italian chilli sauce, but omit if you prefer.

Tips for cooking “one-pot pasta” with success

To make a one-pan pasta dish (where the pasta is cooked in the pan with the sauce), it’s important that you use a heavy-based piece of cookware. Thin cookware doesn’t heat as evenly and may leave you with too much or too little liquid. I use a flameproof, ovenproof, enamelled cast-iron pot with a lid. The liquid needs to be simmering the entire time (gently with small bubbles). If it isn’t, modify the heat by turning it up or down slightly to maintain the simmer!

One pan of Spinach & Ricotta Tortellini with Creamy Tomato Sauce Recipe
The cream in the sauce takes this vegetarian pasta dish to a new level!

What can I serve with Spinach & Ricotta Tortellini with Creamy Tomato Sauce?

We love to keep it simple with steamed greens or a leafy green salad. Some Friendly Freezer Garlic Bread or 5 Minute Cheesy Garlic Bread for dunking is always welcomed and if you’re wanting to add meat, some barbecued chicken or prawns (shrimp) work really well in this recipe too.

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Close up of Spinach & Ricotta Tortellini with Creamy Tomato Sauce Recipe

Spinach & Ricotta Tortellini with Creamy Tomato Sauce

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5 from 11 reviews

You only need simple ingredients, one pan and 15 minutes to have this easy but gorgeous Spinach & Ricotta Tortellini with Creamy Tomato Sauce on the table. Vegetarian tortellini is transformed into a fulfilling family meal with a comforting creamy, cheesy and tomatoey sauce.

  • Total Time: 13 mins
  • Yield: 4 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 1 tsp freshly minced garlic
  • 150 g (5 1/2 oz) cherry or grape tomatoes
  • ½ cup (125 ml) chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste (concentrated puree)
  • 1 cup (250 ml) thick (heavy/double) cream 
  • 1 cup (100 g) freshly grated parmesan, plus extra to serve 
  • ½ tsp cracked black pepper 
  • 2 large handfuls baby spinach leaves
  • 600 g (1 lb 5 oz) spinach and ricotta tortellini (or any fresh tortellini/ravioli of choice, see note 1)
  • 1 tbsp Italian chilli oil, to serve (optional) see note 1

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based pan with a lid over medium–high heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring, for 2–3 minutes or until softened.
  2. Add the tomatoes. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Use the back of your spoon to gently squash the tomatoes and release their juices.
  3. Add the chicken stock and tomato paste. Stir for 1 minute.
  4. Add the cream, parmesan and pepper. Bring to a simmer.
  5. Add the spinach, stir until just wilted. 
  6. Add the tortellini directly into the pan from the bag (no need to precook, see note 2). Stir through the sauce.
  7. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 2 minutes or until the pasta is just cooked through. (Too much or too little liquid? See note 3.)
  8. Remove from the heat, stir through the parmesan and serve.
  9. Top with extra parmesan and the Italian chilli oil, if using.

Notes

Note 1 – I use Bippi’s brand, a chilli paste in oil made from fresh chillies, which I purchase from the supermarket. I love it on pasta or pizza. Look for chilli oils that say “Italian-style”, often called olio di peperoncino.

Note 2 – Fresh ravioli or tortellini from the refrigerated section of the supermarket (that takes 2 minutes or less to cook) is suitable for this recipe (not the dry variety from the pasta aisle!). Cook from fresh, not frozen.

Note 3 – If you find there is too much liquid at the end of cooking time, the heat may not have been high enough. Uncover the pan, increase the heat to high and simmer for 2–3 minutes until some of the residual liquid has been absorbed. As the pasta sits, it will also absorb liquid so don’t worry too much if it appears to be super saucy. If the tortellini isn’t saucy enough at the end of cooking time, add 1–2 tablespoons of boiling water (from the kettle) at a time, to loosen the sauce to your desired consistency.

Make ahead

This meal is best made and served immediately, but you will love leftovers the next day!

Leftovers

Refrigerate leftover Spinach & Ricotta Tortellini with Creamy Tomato Sauce in an airtight container for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw completely in the fridge overnight prior to reheating (otherwise you’ll land with mushy pasta!). You’ll find the cream breaks down during the refrigerating/freezing process and the results are a garlicky, oil-based sauce. The sauce is equally delicious, just less creamy as it would be when it’s made fresh!

  • Author: Nicole
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 8 mins
  • Category: mains, pasta, quick and easy, one pan, vegetarian
  • Method: pan, frying
  • Cuisine: Italian