Creamy Shrimp Pesto Tortellini Pasta is a deliciously savory one-pot dinner with a creamy, cheesy, pesto-infused sauce, tender spinach-filled tortellini pasta, and juicy shrimp. The perfect easy meal to enjoy during the week or on a laidback weekend. A vegetarian option available.
Pasta will forever be my mood. I can enjoy a good pasta that comes creamy or lightly dressed. Personally, my only request is that it's covered with a delicious sauce that has a ton of flavor and that the pasta shape itself is interesting.
This Creamy Shrimp Pesto Tortellini Pasta is by far one of my recent faves that fits perfectly into the Fall season ahead. It's super easy to make, can be enjoyed with meat or entirely meatless, has a nut-free option so that it remains kid-friendly, and is just too delicious to pass up!
Basically, tortellini are pasta which originated in the Italian region. Traditionally, they come stuffed with a mix of meat, cheese (ricotta or Parmigiano Reggiano), egg, and nutmeg, which is then served in capon broth.
Unlike ravioli which comes square shaped and stuffed, tortellini are ring or navel-shaped (visually similar to a tiny wonton or croissant).
How Long to Cook Tortellini
Like with many other types of pasta, you bring a pot of water to a boil, add the tortellini along with olive oil or salt, and let it boil for 4-9 minutes, depending on the packaging and brand----shorter than most other pastas.
General rule of thumb: 2 to 3 minutes for refrigerated (soft) tortellini, 3 to 5 minutes for frozen tortellini, and 10 to 11 minutes for dried tortellini. Signs of doneness are when the pasta floats to the surface of the water, and has an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
Homemade Tortellini vs. Store-bought
Usually, I like purchasing organic tortellini via Whole Foods, which has a great option by Artisola. However, making your own tortellini much like ravioli is something feasible as well!
Tortellini is generally made with either round pasta wrappers or square pasta wrappers. In either case, you'll just be sure to roll your dough as thin as possible. Overall, like most stuffed pasta, try to not over-stuff the centers, always keep the pasta dough covered to avoid drying, use ample flour, and take your time when assembling----al of which helps to make the perfect tortellini.
Regardless of whether you use homemade or not, this pasta dish is sure to come out amazingly!
How to Make Creamy Shrimp Pesto Tortellini Pasta
This is a very simple recipe, but it does have four components: homemade pesto, shrimp, creamy sauce, and the tortellini itself.
Here’s what you need to make this easy creamy pasta dinner recipe:
Cheese + spinach tortellini. Pick these up in the refrigerated or freezer section of the grocery store.
Jumbo or Colossal shrimp. These are the biggest, meatiest shrimp you can find, and I highly recommend using them! Leaving the tail on adds more seafood flavor to your pasta sauce.
Olive oil. A must in any great pesto and sauce.
Butter. Use unsalted butter to control the flavor of the dish.
Garlic. I recommend fresh, but you could use ½ teaspoon granulated garlic.
Vegetable stock. Use low-sodium store-bought or make your own.
Heavy cream. I recommend organic–always!
White wine. Choose a dry wine that you like the taste of.
Parmesan cheese. You could also use pecorino romano.
5 REASONS WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS PESTO TORTELLINI
It's packed with flavor from the sauce and shrimp, but can also be Meatless and work for any type of eater.
Super easy to make and quick.
Full of earthy, nutty, + delicious flavor! (The best reason!)
Very kid-friendly (has a great nut-free option).
Done in just under 40 minutes---hello weeknight meal goals!
Ingredients for Easy Pesto
The star of this simple pesto pasta dish is the creamy and bright green pesto. Here’s what you need to make it:
Basil. This leafy green has bold earthy flavor. You can also add in kale or spinach for a nice leafy green + herb balance.
Parsley. This leafy green adds extra bold earthy flavor---totally optional.
Walnuts. These are soft enough to blend easily into your pesto to make it fluffy and creamy.
Garlic. I recommend fresh---about 4 cloves will do!
Olive oil. A must in any great pesto.
Lemon juice. This helps preserve the bright green color and adds a bright note of citrus.
Parmesan cheese. This helps to give the sauce a “cheesy” flavor. However, for a dairy-free + vegan option, you can always use nutritional yeast instead.
Red pepper flakes. this is optional, but I like bit of heat.
Traditionally, pesto contains nuts. However, you can substitute the walnuts in this recipe with sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds for a nut-free version.
Great Toppings for Creamy Shrimp Pesto Tortellini Pasta
If you’re thinking about making this Creamy Shrimp Pesto Tortellini Pasta and would love to sometimes switch things up for a heartier meal, feel free to add any of the following great options:
When it comes to most pasta dishes (including this pesto tortellini pasta), I often enjoy them with a side of bread of some sort. Most times, I make my own homemade Garlic Bread, however, you can choose to spruce things up with many other options such as:
A delicious Salad
How to Store Leftover Tortellini Pasta
Any leftovers can be kept in a tightly sealed container and refrigerated for up to 3-4 days. To re-heat, simply microwave for a minute or two or add to a skillet over medium-high heat and stir until heated through.
More Delicious Pasta Dinner Ideas
If you are a fan of this Creamy Shrimp Pesto Tortellini Pasta, then you’ll most certainly enjoy the following pasta centered dinner options:
Add all ingredients into a food processor or blender and process (or blend) until combined and broken down. NOTE: If needed, add a bit of water (1 Tbsp), if too thick. The pesto should be paste-like in consistency.
BOIL THE TORTELLINI:
Begin by cooking tortellini pasta according to the directions of the packaging (about 3-4 minutes) and drain. Set aside.
SAUTEE THE SHRIMP:
In a large 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat, add 2 Tbsps of butter until melted. Add in the shrimp (seasoned w/ salt + pepper) and cook on both sides (about 3-4 minutes), until pink and cook through. Remove from skillet and set shrimp aside on a plate or in a bowl.
TO MAKE THE SAUCE:
In the same skillet, add the olive oil and add minced garlic to sauté frequently about 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add in the pesto followed by: heavy cream, veggie stock and white cooking wine, stirring until combined and the sauce becomes smooth. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let it slightly bubble for 1-2 minutes.
Add in the grated parmesan, whisking until fully melted and sauce thickens, about 2-3 minutes.
Add the drained tortellini to the sauce along with the shrimp, stirring until sauce fully coats + sticks to both. Let it cook another 1-2 minutes and remove from heat. Serve immediately!
Tips & Tricks
STORAGE: Any leftovers can be kept in a tightly sealed container and refrigerated for up to 3-4 days. To re-heat, simply microwave for a minute or two or add to a skillet over medium-high heat and stir until heated through.
GREENS: To add a bit more flavor (and color) to this dish, you can always feel free to add in your favorite greens such as kale, spinach, broccolini, collards, or asparagus.
MEAT OPTION: If you'd like to switch things up and aren't restrictive to non-meat, feel free to add chicken breasts or lobster to this pasta for extra decadence. You can also enjoy this dish entirely meatless.
NUT-FREE: Traditionally, pesto contains nuts. However, you can substitute the walnuts in this recipe with sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds for a nut-free version.