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Pesto Tortellini with Asparagus and Peas

This easy pesto tortellini with peas and asparagus is a quick and delicious dinner. It’s loaded with vibrant, fresh spring veggies, then tossed in a pesto cream sauce. And it only takes 1 pot. Yum!

A bowl of tortellini with asparagus, peas, and a pesto cream sauce.

Our entire family loves tortellini. Even picky eaters and kids love it. I love whipping up tortellini with whatever vegetables are in season. In the summer, we love making tortellini Caprese salad. In the fall and winter, we make hearty tortellini soup. And when spring comes around, we make tortellini with peas and asparagus and toss it in a homemade pesto cream sauce.

We always have an abundance of asparagus around in the spring. I grow it in my garden. I can’t pass up a pretty bundle of it at a farmers market or a sale at the grocery store. I’m obsessed with it and have gotten my husband and daughter on board. We usually make grilled asparagus with balsamic glaze or throw it in a sauté pan. But, when we want a vibrant yet comforting dinner, we make this pesto tortellini.

Things to Know About Making Pesto Tortellini

  • Read the directions carefully before you start. This one-pot tortellini is quick and easy but has a couple of steps that may not be intuitive! Once the tortellini is boiling, this simple dish comes together fast! Round up and prep your ingredients before you begin cooking. This will ensure that this meal comes together smoothly and quickly. 
  • You’re going to blanch the veggies while the tortellini is cooking. You also need to reserve cooking water from the tortellini before you strain. Lastly, don’t rinse the pasta.
  • You’ll notice I did not specify the amount of salt and pepper for this recipe. The final amount of salt in the pesto tortellini will depend on how much cooking water you use to finish the sauce. You’ll need to taste it to determine how much (if any) salt the final dish needs. 
  • Keep reading for tips on preparing easy one-pot pesto tortellini and step-by-step photos. Check out the printable recipe card for exact quantities and instructions.


Dried tortellini, heavy cream, butter, garlic, pesto, parmesan cheese, peas, and asparagus on a countertop.
  • Fresh asparagus spears are tender and buttery. They’re one of the first crops of spring, making this dish the perfect way to welcome the new season. Remove the woody stems so the asparagus is crisp and tender rather than chewy and stringy.
  • Shelled sweet peas are sweet and add a pop of fresh texture. Either use fresh or thawed frozen ones. 
  • You can use any dried tortellini with your favorite filling. Cheese and spinach, three cheese, or mushroom tortellini all work great.
  • Garlic sauteed in butter forms a smooth, rich, buttery base for the pesto cream sauce. A little extra kick of garlic is always welcome, especially if you’re using pesto from a jar.
  • Use homemade pesto or store-bought in a jar. It’s a perfect way to use frozen pesto from last year’s basil harvest. My 5 minute pesto recipe is the best and it includes freezing instructions!
  • Heavy cream transforms pesto into a luxurious and creamy sauce.
  • Parmesan cheese adds another element of rich, savory umami flavor. Plus, a nice cheesy texture. You’ll want to freshly grate parmesan from the block so that it melts into the dish.


  • Try a different pasta: I love this dish with tortellini, but you can make it with any shape of pasta you like. Try it with linguine!
  • Top it with protein: For a higher-protein meal, try topping it with grilled chicken.
  • Add a garnish: Fresh basil makes a perfect garnish when available. Try sprinkling it with fresh parsley if basil is unavailable. Or, for a tangy flavor bomb, try a tiny drizzle of balsamic glaze.

How to Make Spring Pesto Tortellini

Bend and snap the asparagus stalks. Use both hands to bend a stalk of asparagus until it snaps. It will snap where the tough and woody part ends. Discard the woody parts.

Fill a large pot with salted water and bring it to a rolling boil over high heat. Add the tortellini and set a timer to cook it al dente. Follow the package directions for the correct cooking time.

When the timer has exactly 1 minute left, add the asparagus and peas to the boiling tortellini. Continue to boil for the remaining minute.

Then, ladle out about a cup of the pasta cooking water and set it aside. Strain the tortellini and peas into a colander. Drain but do not rinse!

Then, return the empty pot back to the stove. Melt the butter over medium heat. Then, add the garlic and sauté until fragrant. About 20 seconds. Then stir in the pesto.

Add the cream and bring it to a simmer while stirring. Then, turn the heat off and add the drained tortellini, asparagus, and peas.

Stir to combine, then stir in the parmesan cheese.

Add some of the reserved pasta water, 1 splash at a time. Stir it until a creamy, smooth sauce forms.

Storing and Reheating

  • This pesto tortellini is best served fresh, but you can reheat leftovers. Store the leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • Reheat in a microwave-safe dish: Heat for 30-second intervals until hot. If it is too dry, add a splash of cream or water to thin the sauce.
  • Reheat in a nonstick skillet: Stirring over medium heat until hot. If it is too dry, add a splash of cream or water to thin the sauce.
A bowl of tortellini with asparagus, peas, and a pesto cream sauce.

Tips for Success

  • This pesto tortellini is quick and easy, but read the directions before you start.
  • Use the bend and snap method to remove the woody ends from the tortellini.
  • Remember to salt the water.
  • Set a timer to cook the tortellini al dente. Add the veggies to the boiling tortellini exactly 1 minute before it finishes cooking.
  • Reserve some of the pasta water before you strain the tortellini and veggies.
  • Don’t rinse the tortellini!
  • Make the sauce quickly so that the tortellini and veggies are hot when you add them back to the pot.

How to Serve Pesto Tortellini

  • When to make it: I love making this dish in the spring with asparagus in season. There is a short window where sweet peas and asparagus coexist and mingle in my spring garden. This is a perfect way to enjoy the ephemeral delights of springtime. You can make it as an easy weeknight dinner or side dish any time.
  • What to serve with pesto tortellini: Try serving it with a simple arugula salad or garlic bread. Top it with grilled chicken for extra protein.
  • Wine pairing for pesto tortellini: It pairs well with a crisp white wine such as Pinot Grigio. 
A perfect bite of spring tortellini.

More Yummy Pasta Recipes

Did you make this yummy pesto tortellini? Use the comments below to let me know how you liked it.


Pesto Tortellini with Asparagus and Peas

A bowl of tortellini with asparagus, peas, and a pesto cream sauce.

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5 from 1 review

This easy one-pot pesto tortellini with peas and asparagus is filled with vibrant, fresh spring vegetables and tossed in a pesto cream sauce.

  • Author: Mandi
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Boil
  • Cuisine: Italian


Units Scale
  • 1 pound asparagus spears
  • 1 cup shelled sweet peas, thawed if from frozen
  • 1 12ounce package dried tortellini
  • Salted water for boiling the pasta and veggies
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup prepared pesto
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • Reserved pasta cooking water
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Gently wash the asparagus. Then, snap the woody ends off the asparagus stalks. Discard them or save them for soup. Then, cut the tender ends into 1-inch pieces. 
  2. Thaw the frozen peas by rinsing them under running water or shell the fresh peas. Set the peas and asparagus aside.
  3. Fill a large pot with salted water and bring it to a rolling boil. Add the dried tortellini to the boiling water and set a timer to cook it to al dente. Use the package directions to determine the cooking time. 
  4. 1 minute before the tortellini finishes cooking, add the asparagus and peas. Continue to boil for the remaining minute. 
  5. Ladle out 1 cup of the pasta water and set it aside. Then, strain the tortellini and veggies into a colander. Do not rinse the pasta.
  6. Return the empty pot to the stove and melt the butter over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, sauté the minced garlic until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Stir in the pesto. Then add the cream and bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat.
  7. Add the drained tortellini and vegetables to the skillet with the grated parmesan cheese and toss until combined. Add the reserved pasta water, one splash at a time, until it forms a smooth, thick, and creamy sauce. Salt and pepper to taste. 

Serve immediately.


Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Use homemade pesto or your favorite store-bought pesto.

You may not need all of the reserved pasta cooking water.


  • Serving Size: 1/6th of recipe
  • Calories: 390
  • Sugar: 5.4 g
  • Sodium: 597.4 mg
  • Fat: 23.2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 39.2 g
  • Fiber: 7 g
  • Protein: 12.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 67.6 mg

Did you make this recipe?

Tag @mandiofthemountains on Instagram – I can’t wait to see what you’ve made!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I double the recipe?

Yes! Use the 2x button on the recipe card. Just use a big enough pot to cook all the tortellini.

What side dishes go with pesto tortellini?

Try serving tortellini with soup, salad, or bread. Try it with garlic bread, focaccia, bruschetta, or bread sticks. For salad pairings, go with a simple green salad, arugula salad, chopped Italian salad, or caprese salad. Soups to pair with tortellini include Italian sausage, potato and kale soup, chicken gnocchi soup, or minestrone soup.

How do you enhance store-bought tortellini?

Enhance store-bought tortellini by dressing them with homemade pasta sauce, turning them into a soup, or using them to make pasta salad.

What goes good on tortellini?

Tortellini pairs well with pesto, cream sauces, and marinara. It can also be served in broth or made into a soup.

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One Comment

  1. This tortellini was so delicious. We did not have any leftovers. We used 3 cheese tortellini and frozen peas. Will definitely make this again!

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