We all love fresh tortellini but do not have hours to make them.

While finishing up some leftover peas and wonton wrappers, as well as combining part of the original recipe that my family passed down, I present you my version of homemade tortellini pasta.

tortellini in broth in a white dish

Light and flavorful, dinner was on the table within 40 minutes.

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If you have little ones at home, this is perfect for them to use their manipulative skills while helping you get dinner on the table even faster.

There is a story behind those delightful little gems. This is the story I heard all my life.

An innkeeper was so in love with Venus that he wanted to catch a glimpse of the goddess of Love in her bedroom. Unfortunately, the only thing that he could see through the keyhole was her belly button.

Inspired by such beauty of Venus’s belly button, he rushed to the kitchen to create a pasta dish as delicate and beautiful as Venus’s belly button.”

Growing up, tortellini were a treat, and we all looked forward to them.

A Christmas favorite in my family for generations

In this Article

What is Tortellini?

Tortellini is a signature dish from the Emilia-Romagna region in Italy, characterized by its unique shape that resembles a navel or a ring.

Often referred to as ‘belly button’ pasta, tortellini is typically filled with a mix of meats or cheeses. It is beloved not just for its delightful shape and filling but also for its versatility. 

It can be served in a broth, with a sauce, or even simply tossed with butter or olive oil. Traditional fillings vary widely but often include ingredients like prosciutto, mortadella, and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

This humble pasta dish, steeped in centuries of Italian culinary tradition, brings comfort and joy to the dining table, embodying the heart and soul of Italian cuisine.

What are Wonton Wrappers?

Wonton wrappers are thin sheets of dough commonly used in Chinese cuisine to make various types of dumplings. They are made from wheat flour, water, and egg, resulting in a versatile and pliable dough that can be filled, folded, and cooked in various ways. 

In this recipe, we are using wonton wrappers as a quick and convenient alternative to homemade pasta dough and a pasta machine for our tortellini.

The wrappers are thinly rolled, easy to work with, and cooked up tender and delicate, making them an excellent choice for this dish.

You will find wonton wrappers in the refrigerated section of most grocery stores, often near the tofu and other Asian ingredients.

Recipe Tips 

Do not bring the broth to a full boil. They will open and not thoroughly cook if they are cooked too fast.

If you have chicken leftovers, you can add them to it. It was always served with chicken broth.

Traditionally, the dough is cut into 1-1/2-inch by 1 1/2 inch squares. Because the wonton dough is not giving, you must cut them a bit larger.

Equipment Needed

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Food processor – to incorporate all the ingredients so they will form a nice paste

Large pot – to warm up the broth and cook the tortellini

Laddle scoop– scoop the tortellini and place them in the soup bowl

Soup bowls

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Cooking tips and step-by-step instructions on how to make those delicious tortellini

Add peas, ricotta, parmesan cheese, mortadella, ham, egg, salt, pepper, and nutmeg in a large food processor. Blend well until nicely mixed, almost to paste-like consistency. Taste and adjust the seasoning. 

On a clean work surface, trim the wonton wrapper down into equal pieces that are 2 inches square. Save the remaining pieces of dough for later use.

Get a small dish of water at room temperature.

Place the trimmed wonton on the clean surface and add 1/2 teaspoon of the filling in the middle. 

filling of the tortellini inside of the wonton wrapper

With your finger, dab a little water all along the sides. Fold diagonally over the dough, ensuring the filling is in the middle and sealed. Slightly roll the long part over. (1/8 turn)  

Dab some water with a pastry brush on the outer lower corners, wrap it around your finger, and seal the two lower extremities. It will look like a ring with a small filling in the middle. Place on a piece of parchment paper.

Repeat until all the filling is done.

Meanwhile, bring the chicken broth to a gentle boil in a larger wide moth pot.

Add the tortellini. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the tortellini reaches the surface. Remove with a slotted spoon.

Serve hot in shallow bowls, and grate fresh parmesan cheese over it. 

fully made tortellini

What other sauces work well with tortellini

While the classic simplicity of grated Parmesan cheese and a delicate broth allows the flavors of the tortellini to shine, numerous other sauces pair beautifully with this dish. 

Tomato Sauce: A rich, slow-cooked tomato sauce adds a hearty, robust flavor that stands up well to the meat and cheese filling. Add a touch of cream for a velvety tomato-cream sauce or a sprinkle of fresh basil for a fresh touch.

Alfredo Sauce: Creamy Alfredo sauce, with its luxurious blend of butter, cream, and Parmesan, can transform your tortellini into a decadently indulgent dish. 

Pesto: Bright and aromatic, pesto made from fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan, and olive oil lends a summery note to tortellini. 

Brown Butter and Sage: Melt butter until it turns golden brown, then add fresh sage leaves for a simple yet sophisticated sauce that enhances the savory notes of the tortellini filling. 

Garlic and Olive Oil: Sometimes, simplicity is key. A drizzle of good-quality olive oil, freshly minced garlic, and a pinch of chili flakes can add a punch of flavor without overpowering the tortellini.

Remember, the best sauce for your tortellini will largely depend on the flavors within your filling and your personal preference. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your favorite sauce!

Substitutes and additions

Substitutions and additions can provide variety to this delicious tortellini dish, allowing you to adapt it to your dietary needs or taste preferences.

  • Wonton wrappers: If you prefer a more traditional approach, you can make your pasta dough for the tortellini. Gluten-free pasta dough can also be used if you adhere to a gluten-free diet.
  • Cheese: Use mascarpone or cottage cheese if you don’t have ricotta. You could use tofu or a dairy-free cheese substitute for a dairy-free alternative.
  • Mortadella and Ham: Vegetarians can replace the meat with finely chopped mushrooms, which provide a similar umami flavor for a great-tasting vegetarian version. For a seafood variation, try using shrimp or crab.
  • Egg: For a vegan version, replace the egg with a flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed mixed with 2.5 tablespoons water).

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Properly storing and reheating this homemade tortellini recipe is crucial to maintaining its taste and texture.

Refrigerator:

If you have leftovers, allow them to cool completely before storing them. Place the cooled tortellini in an airtight container and refrigerate. They should keep well for up to 3-4 days.

Reheating:

To reheat, gently warm them in a pan over medium heat until hot. If your tortellini is served in broth, it’s best to store the pasta and broth separately to avoid the tortellini from getting too soft. 

Freezing:

If making a big batch for long-term storage, tortellini can be frozen.

Arrange the uncooked tortellini on a baking sheet in a single layer and freeze until solid. Once frozen, transfer them to a zip-top bag and store them in the freezer for up to three months.

You can cook them directly from frozen. Just add a couple of extra minutes to the cooking time.

Whether you’re enjoying them fresh or reheating leftovers, homemade tortellini are a delightful treat that brings a touch of Italian tradition to your table.

tortellini soup served on a white dish

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use other types of meat for the tortellini filling?

Yes, you can certainly use other types of meat, such as chicken, turkey, or even ground beef. Just be sure to cook and finely chop the meat before incorporating it into your filling.

What if I don’t have a food processor to blend the filling?

You can also use a blender, but if neither is available, finely chop all the ingredients and mix thoroughly to ensure a uniform filling.

Can I make the tortellini ahead of time?

Absolutely! You can prepare the tortellini in advance and store them, uncooked, in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. For more extended storage, follow the freezing instructions in the ‘Storage and Reheating Instructions’ section.

Can I use tortellini in other dishes?

Certainly! Beyond soup, tortellini can also be used in pasta salads and casseroles or as appetizers with a dipping sauce.

Why is my tortellini falling apart while cooking?

This could be because the edges were not sealed adequately. Be sure to dab water around the edges before sealing, and press firmly to ensure a tight closure. Overfilling can also cause the tortellini to burst, so stick to the recommended amount.

What other types of cheese can I use in the filling?

While this recipe calls for ricotta and parmesan, feel free to experiment with other cheeses, such as mozzarella, fontina, or gorgonzola, for different flavor profiles.

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Tortellini with Cheese, Ham, Peas & Mortadella

5 from 18 votes
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Light and flavorful, dinner was on the table within 40 minutes.

Ingredients 

Tortellini

  • 1 cup cooked in butter peas
  • ¾ cup whole milk ricotta
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 6 slices mortadella
  • 3 slices ham
  • 1 egg
  • teaspoon nutmeg
  • salt and pepper
  • 28 ounces wonton wrappers , (2 packages or 64 wrappers)

Broth

  • 8 cups chicken broth

Instructions

  • In a large food processor add peas, ricotta, parmesan cheese, mortadella, ham, egg, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Blend well until nicely mixed almost to paste like consistency. Taste and adjust the seasoning. 
  • On a clean and dry surface trim the wonton wrapper down to 2-inch square. Save the scraps for a later use.
  • Get a small dish of room temperature water.
  • Place the trimmed wonton on the clean surface and add 1/2 teaspoon of tortellini filling in the middle of it. 
  • With your finger, dab water all along the sides. Fold diagonally over the dough, ensuring the filling is in the middle, and seal. Slightly roll the long part over. (1/8 turn)  
  • Dab some water on the outer lower corners, wrap around your finger, and seal the two lower extremities. Will look like a ring with a small filling in the middle. 
    tortellini done
  • Repeat until all the filling is done.
  • Meanwhile in a larger wide moth pot, bring the chicken broth to a gentle boil. Add the tortellini. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the tortellini are coming to the surface. 
  • Serve hot in shallow bowls, grate fresh parmesan cheese over it. 

Notes

Storage and Reheating Instructions
Properly storing and reheating this homemade tortellini recipe is crucial to maintaining its taste and texture.
Refrigerator:
If you have leftovers, allow them to cool completely before storing them. Place the cooled tortellini in an airtight container and refrigerate. They should keep well for up to 3-4 days.
Reheating:
To reheat, gently warm them in a pan over medium heat until hot. If your tortellini is served in broth, it’s best to store the pasta and broth separately to avoid the tortellini from getting too soft. 
Freezing:
If making a big batch for long-term storage, tortellini can be frozen.
Arrange the uncooked tortellini on a baking sheet in a single layer and freeze until solid. Once frozen, transfer them to a zip-top bag and store them in the freezer for up to three months.
You can cook them directly from frozen. Just add a couple of extra minutes to the cooking time.
Whether you’re enjoying them fresh or reheating leftovers, homemade tortellini are a delightful treat that brings a touch of Italian tradition to your table.

Nutrition

Calories: 931kcal | Carbohydrates: 130g | Protein: 46g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 126mg | Sodium: 3665mg | Potassium: 597mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 405IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 375mg | Iron: 9mg

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

Did you make this?

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This recipe was originally published on December 4, 2018.