Creamy Tortellini with Crispies
This Creamy Tortellini dish is my latest edition to my ever-expanding list of fast weeknight pasta recipes that can be made in almost an afterthought. But, what really takes this recipe to another level is what I like to call the “crispies.”
If you didn’t know (and you wouldn’t unless you ate at my house regularly), “crispies” are basically bacon and breadcrumbs that have been browned in bacon grease. They are pretty much good on everything but especially good on creamy pastas and mac and cheese dishes.
Having an little dish of “crispies” in the fridge isn’t the worst idea in the world is my point!
- Chop bacon and add it to a large skillet (big enough to fit the tortellini later as well) over low heat. Cook for 6-7 minutes until the fat slowly renders out of the bacon and it gets very crispy. Remove bacon from skillet.
- Pour off about 2 tablespoons of bacon fat from the skillet and transfer to a smaller skillet over low heat. Add breadcrumbs and stir to combine. Cook over low heat, stirring regularly until breadcrumbs are nicely browned. Remove and mix with reserved bacon bits and let cool.
- Meanwhile, cook tortellini according to package and drain. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water which you may need to thin the sauce later.
- Return larger skillet to low heat and add cream, peas, and parmesan. Stir to combine and add in the drained tortellini.
- Toss tortellini in the sauce and let it thicken on the heat for a minute or two. If it’s very thick and gummy, add 1/4 cup reserved pasta water to thin it out.
- Otherwise, once sauce coats the pasta, remove from heat and season with salt and pepper. Serve creamy tortellini immediately garnished heavily with “crispies”.
For this recipe, I would not recommend making your own tortellini. That sort of defeats the “fast” element, but I’m sure it would work deliciously if you did!
The truth though is that you can use any store-bought tortellini. I think a cheese filled one works particularly good. Just cook them as instructed. They should cook pretty quickly.
I’m getting a bit ahead of myself though. Let’s talk crispies!
Crispies start with bacon. Chop up a few strips and add them to a large skillet over LOW heat. Cook them slowly so the fat renders out and they crisp up. This is what you’re looking for.
Remove the bacon and pour off about 2 tablespoons of the grease. The rest of the grease will work into the sauce although there should be much left.
To the large skillet add the cream, Parmesan, and peas. This is our sauce base.
Add the drained tortellini to this mixture and stir it together over low heat. It should thicken nicely. If it gets too thick (gummy) you can pour in a little reserved pasta water which will loosen the sauce some.
To finish the crispies, add the reserved bacon grease to a small skillet along with breadcrumbs. Stir them together and cook them over low heat until they are browned. Stir them regularly as they can burn quickly.
Then toss the breadcrumbs with the crispy bacon and you’re in business!
Plate up the creamy tortellini and top each bowl with a healthy few spoonfuls of crispies. YUM.