Tortellini with Rosemary-Tomato Sauce

This is a quick, easy meal that’s perfect for an evening when you just don’t feel like eating meat. The sauce is different from a traditional red pasta sauce. It’s light, fragrant and flavored with just enough butter and cream to give it a rich consistency without being heavy. Use a good brand of either dried or refrigerated tortellini to keep the dish light. Serve with a salad of field greens tossed with a lemon vinaigrette for a complete meal.

Tortellini with Rosemary-Tomato Sauce

Tortellini with Rosemary-Tomato Sauce

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Cheese tortellini with a sauce of tomatoes, fresh rosemary, sweet onions and a bit of cream makes a light but satisfying meatless meal.


  • 12- ounces cheese tortellini, see notes
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped (see notes)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil for the tortellini.
  • Heat the butter and olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking until fragrant, 1 minute longer.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the water. Cover and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly caramelized, about 5 minutes longer. If necessary, add a little more water to keep the onions from browning.
  • Raise the heat to medium, add the tomatoes and 1 tablespoon of the rosemary. Allow to heat through, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Taste and add more rosemary if desired. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Stir in the half-and-half and keep warm.
  • Cook the tortellini according to the package directions. Drain and divide among 4 shallow bowls. Top with the sauce and add a bit of freshly ground black pepper and a short sprig of fresh rosemary for garnish if desired.

Tips for Making This Recipe

About the tortellini: We find that a mild-flavored, 3-cheese variety makes the best choice for this dish. Tortellini made with a single, sharp cheese tend to compete with the flavor of the rosemary in the sauce.
About the rosemary: Fresh rosemary can vary in flavor intensity, so start with a tablespoon, let the sauce cook for a minute or two, then add more if desired. We used the full 2 tablespoons, but our rosemary leaves were very tender and not overly strong. If necessary, you can substitute 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried rosemary for the fresh.
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