There are many good reasons why this easy tortellini carbonara recipe is perfect right now.
- Hints of fall (hello, PSL) means comfort foods (i.e. stews, soups, creamy pasta dishes).
- I dropped my oldest daughter off at college and I need comfort foods (refer to point #1).
- My youngest daughter started as a senior in high school and is working on college applications. She needs comfort foods (again, refer to point #1) .
- My freezer is overflowing and I found a huge bag of frozen tortellini in there.
- I may be subconsciously starting a collection of easy recipes for college students.
Honestly, the best reason really is that this recipe is the easiest carbonara you’ll ever make. It requires only 6 ingredients, 1 pan, and 20 minutes.
Technically speaking, a true carbonara would have some crispy pancetta, guanciale, or bacon tossed in but, remember, this is EASY tortellini carbonara. Getting another pan dirty or spending an extra 10 minutes to fry the pancetta didn’t fit the bill for easy or fast. Honestly, I didn’t miss the pancetta when I left it out. Besides, a good carbonara is really about the silky sauce that just lightly coats the pasta and vegetables.
How to make the perfect carbonara sauce? The secret is whisking an egg with some cream until it’s well blended and then tossing the mixture with the still hot, just drained pasta. The residual heat from the pasta will cook the egg and the cream helps ensure you don’t end up with scrambled egg bits in your sauce. Using freshly grated parmesan cheese and the freshest egg possible are also key.
- 1 pound cheese tortellini
- 8 ounces thin asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
- 2 cups frozen peas
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus more for serving
- Bring a large pan of lightly salted water to a boil, add the tortellini, and cook according to the package instructions. When the tortellini is almost al dente, add the asparagus. Cook the asparagus and pasta for another 2-3 minutes, then add the frozen peas. Cook for 1 minute more, until the peas are warmed through and pasta is done cooking. Drain the tortellini and vegetables, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking liquid. Return the pasta mixture to the pan or transfer to a large bowl. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk the egg with the cream until well blended.
- While the pasta is still hot, pour the egg and cream mixture over the pasta. Gently toss the mixture together with a rubber spatuala while sprinkling in the Parmesan cheese. If necessary, add a little of the reserved cooking water to thin the sauce. Season with salt and pepper and serve as soon as possible with extra Parmesan on the side.
Recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver.
Keywords: easy dinner, weeknight pasta, pasta carbonara,