Tortellini with Ham, Peas, and Tomato Cream Sauce

You'll be surprised how easy it is to make this creamy tomato sauce that is so popular in Italian restaurants. If you prefer, replace the cheese tortellini with mushroom- or meat-filled pasta of any shape.

Slideshow: Fast Weekday Pastas

  • Servings: 4
KEY: Spring, Italian, Mediterranean, Pasta & Noodles, Fast, Dinner, Lunch

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  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes (from one 28-ounce can)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pound cheese tortellini
  • 1/4 pound ham, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 3/4 cup frozen petite peas, defrosted

How to make this recipe

  1. In a large stainless-steel frying pan, melt the butter over moderately low heat. Add the onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to soften, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes with their juice, the salt, and the pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add the cream and cook for 1 minute longer.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the tortellini until just done, about 4 minutes for fresh, 12 minutes for frozen. Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the sauce. Stir in the ham and peas and cook until warmed through, about 2 minutes.


Substitute 1/4 pound sliced prosciutto, cut into thin strips, for the ham.

Stir in 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips, with the ham and peas.

Suggested Pairing

A light, fruity, and very crisp Italian red will cut the sauce's creaminess and refresh the palate. Valpolicella is a perfect choice. For a treat, bypass the well-known commercial brands and seek out a Valpolicella Classico from a small estate.

Photo © Melanie Acevedo Published December 2013

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