An excellent cream sauce surrounds delightful cheese-filled pasta. It does not get any better than this.

I must admit this dish satisfies both of my roots: The French with the cream and the butter—and the Italian with the pasta and parmesan cheese.

Cheese Tortellini Alfredo

Both countries love the Nutmeg, which is vital to this dish.

I had the chance to eat at the original Alfredo Restaurant in Rome, Italy. This made the dish even more special. An authentic experience not soon forgotten.

The restaurant was a clean, open, space Italian restaurant, as many are.

Waiters dressed in black ties. Impeccable service. We, of course, ordered fettuccine Alfredo, their specialty.

I remember the fresh homemade fettuccine with this beautiful creamy sauce as if it were yesterday. Each bite melted in your mouth.

Of course, the fettuccine was homemade, which brings this dish to another level of thrill.

In this Article

What is Alfredo Sauce made from?

Creamy tortellini Alfredo is a traditional pasta sauce made with parmesan cheese, butter, heavy cream, salt, and pepper, with a dash of nutmeg. That is it.

The parmesan cheese and butter melt and blend with the heavy cream, achieving this mouth-watering flavor. Hard to describe. The nutmeg with the pepper uplifts without interfering with the flavor.

This easy Alfredo sauce recipe, or any Alfredo sauce for that matter, does not contain garlic. None at all, ever.

If you see or smell the garlic or cream cheese in this dish, it is not Alfredo. And don’t be tempted with that Italian seasoning – you don’t need herbs for this recipe!

Cheese Tortellini Alfredo

Is Alfredo Italian?

Indeed, this exquisite dish was crafted in the heart of Rome, Italy, and I had the good fortune of savoring it at the authentic Alfredo eatery.

However, it is not a dish known outside Rome and Italy. Alfredo restaurant in Rome is the only place you can find it.

Somehow it is more popular here in the US. I have never seen it anywhere else in Italy or in any menus in Italy.  It is a mystery why it never took off.

I love trying new things, especially when it comes to food.

Instead of making regular fettuccine, I decided to try cheese tortellini instead because I love cheese.

Recipe Tips

I love this dish because it’s easy to make the Alfredo sauce, and you only need one pot. The one that the pasta cooks in.

  • I take out all the ingredients from the fridge to be at room temperature when I use them. And by that, I mean the butter and the heavy cream.
  • Cooking the tortellini according to the package instructions, minus a couple of minutes to have them al dente.

At al dente means to bite; once our dish is finished cooking, the cheese tortellini will not fall apart.

  • Taste the tortellini to ensure there is enough salt in the water. It is healthier and better to add it during cooking than afterward.
  • Reserve a cup of the cooking water before draining.
  • After you drain them, put the tortellini back in the pan where you cooked them.
  • Add the butter, heavy cream, parmesan cheese, pepper, and a couple of grinds of nutmeg.
  • The nutmeg is a must as it gives it that extra flavor that makes this dish.
  • Mix gently and well, and serve.

And as the Italians say: “You wait for pasta; pasta does not wait for you.”  

Ensure everyone has a great appetite to enjoy this wonderful dish at the table.

I highly recommend using fresh Parmesan cheese that you will grate as needed. So much more flavor, more intense for your creamy tortellini.

Cheese Tortellini Alfredo

Equipment needed

I only recommend what I use and love.

Large pot to cook the pasta. Pasta must cook in plenty of water, or it will become mush. Leave your large skillet in the pan rack as a normal pot is deal to make this delicious meal.

Colander to drain your pasta.

Cooking utensils

Cheese grater is excellent for your freshly grated parmesan cheese. Good to have around the kitchen too.

Serving pasta plates: pasta plates have a side that will keep the pasta more concentrated in the middle.

Cheese Tortellini Alfredo

Here are a few helpful tips for the ingredients needed to make this delicious cheese tortellini Alfredo sauce

This is a short introduction. The ingredient list is also short. It includes essential items that you may already have in your pantry. Please read the recipe for complete instructions.

Cheese tortellini pasta: Fresh is always the best. However, you can use the frozen or dry one if you cannot find fresh. Buitoni, a brand sold worldwide, makes the best.

Unsalted butter: always use unsalted butter. You want to have control of the seasoning, and salted butter will not only add too much salt to your dish but change the flavor of it.

Heavy cream: the ingredient that binds the pasta with the cheese. It thickens while it cooks, giving you that excellent cream that tastes amazing.

Parmesan cheese: The best cheese for Alfredo. I always recommend buying your cheese in a large chunk when possible. Not only do you know what you are getting, but it will also stay fresher in your refrigerator.

Fresh ground pepper: The perfect seasoning for your Alfredo sauce

Nutmeg: enhances Alfredo sauce and adds excellent flavor to cheese tortellini, making it irresistible.

Step by Step

  • Cook the tortellini in a large pot of salted water according to the instructions on the package.
  • After draining the tortellini, transfer them back to the pot and gently incorporate the butter until it melts.
  • Combine the Parmigiano and heavy cream, stirring until the tortellini absorbs the creamy goodness. Sprinkle in a touch of nutmeg and freshly ground black pepper for an extra kick of flavor.
  • Sprinkle an extra generous amount of parmesan cheese and serve the dish piping hot.
Cheese Tortellini Alfredo

Substitutes and additions

While the traditional Alfredo sauce is inimitable, there are several alternatives you can consider to cater to different dietary requirements or preferences.

  1. Dairy-Free Alfredo Sauce: For those who are lactose intolerant or follow a vegan lifestyle, you can substitute the heavy cream with unsweetened almond milk or soy milk. Instead of butter, use a dairy-free butter substitute or olive oil. Vegan parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast can replace the conventional parmesan cheese.
  2. Gluten-Free Pasta: If you are gluten-sensitive, replace the traditional tortellini with a gluten-free variant. Many gluten-free pastas are available on the market now, made from various ingredients like brown rice, corn, and quinoa.
  3. Low-Fat Alfredo Sauce: For a healthier, lower-fat version, use low-fat milk instead of heavy cream. You can also consider using Neufchatel cheese or light cream cheese instead of butter for a lower fat but still creamy texture.

Additions

  • Of course, you can use your favorite pasta, but fettuccine is the original choice.
  • Chicken Tortellini Alfredo is a wonderful recipe that can be created by just adding leftover chicken that is chopped up in small dice and added to the pasta. If you wish, you can warm it up by sauteing it in butter, to warm it up for a couple of minutes.
  • Sautee mild Italian sausage and add it to your sauce, which will make another option for your tortellini recipes.
  •  If you are feeling adventurous, consider adding some vegetables to your sauce. Broccoli florets or peas can take this dish to the next level and provide a much-needed nutritional boost.
  • Adding minced garlic cloves, you can make a garlicky Alfredo sauce with fresh tortellini or even cheese-filled tortellini.

Storage 

Leftovers of your easy tortellini Alfredo recipe can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

Before storing, make sure the dish has cooled down to room temperature.

When you are ready to eat, reheat it over medium heat on the stovetop, adding a splash of milk or cream to help the sauce regain its creamy texture.

As for freezing, it’s possible but not highly recommended. The heavy cream in the creamy homemade Alfredo sauce can separate during the thawing and reheating process, giving it a less desirable texture.

But if you still want to freeze your leftovers, make sure to cool the cooked tortellini Alfredo to room temperature before placing it in a freeze-safe airtight container.

It can be stored in the freezer for up to two months. 

When ready to eat, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight, then reheat slowly on the stovetop, stirring frequently to maintain the sauce’s creaminess.

If you enjoy this recipe with cheese tortellini Alfredo sauce recipe, check out these flavorful recipes:

Mascarpone Tortellini – A Perfect Dinner

Cream of Mushrooms Soup

Not Your Nonna Tortellini

Dulce De Leche Chocolate Mousse

Equipment and ingredients that I used to create this recipe

Cheese Tortellini Alfredo

5 from 27 votes
Cheese Tortellini Alfredo
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 people
 An excellent cream sauce surrounds delightful cheese-filled pasta. It does not get any better than this.

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound pasta Cheese Tortellini
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • ground pepper, fresh
  • nutmeg, a few grinds

Instructions

  • In a large pot of salted water cook the tortellini according to the package directions.
  • Drain the tortellini and return them to the pot. Fold in the butter until melted.
  • Add the Parmiggiano and the heavy cream. Stir until the tortellini absorbs the cream. Add a dash of nutmeg and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Add more parmesan cheese and serve hot.

Notes

 
Substitutes and additions
While the traditional Alfredo sauce is inimitable, there are several alternatives you can consider to cater to different dietary requirements or preferences.
  1. Dairy-Free Alfredo Sauce: For those who are lactose intolerant or follow a vegan lifestyle, you can substitute the heavy cream with unsweetened almond milk or soy milk. Instead of butter, use a dairy-free butter substitute or olive oil. Vegan parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast can replace the conventional parmesan cheese.
  2. Gluten-Free Pasta: If you are gluten-sensitive, replace the traditional tortellini with a gluten-free variant. Many gluten-free pastas are available on the market now, made from various ingredients like brown rice, corn, and quinoa.
  3. Low-Fat Alfredo Sauce: For a healthier, lower-fat version, use low-fat milk instead of heavy cream. You can also consider using Neufchatel cheese or light cream cheese instead of butter for a lower fat but still creamy texture.
Additions
  • Of course, you can use your favorite pasta, but fettuccine is the original choice.
  • Chicken Tortellini Alfredo is a wonderful recipe that can be created by just adding leftover chicken that is chopped up in small dice and added to the pasta. If you wish, you can warm it up by sauteing it in butter to warm it up for a couple of minutes.
  • Sautee mild Italian sausage and add it to your sauce, making another option for your tortellini recipes.
  •  If you feel adventurous, consider adding vegetables to your sauce. Broccoli florets or peas can take this dish to the next level and provide a much-needed nutritional boost.
  • You can make a garlicky Alfredo sauce with fresh tortellini or even cheese-filled tortellini by adding minced garlic cloves.

Nutrition

Calories: 622kcal | Carbohydrates: 85g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 64mg | Sodium: 219mg | Potassium: 286mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 710IU | Calcium: 191mg | Iron: 1.6mg

Giangi’s Kitchen provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as a registered dietician does not calculate them.

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Originally published on October 5, 2012. Updated on September 23, 2023.