Delicious pasta, tender shrimp, creamy alfredo sauce...what's not to love?! Shrimp Alfredo Tortellini is an easy-to-make recipe that tastes a lot more complicated than it really is!
If you want to get the most out of your time, then this easy dinner recipe is for you! It uses pre-made tortellini, but with homemade alfredo, which produces a delicious dish with very little effort and time.
Like many of us, when COVID hit, I started cooking a lot more, and eating in restaurants much less frequently. Easy-to-prepare meals were important while everything else was in such chaos. I appreciate meal shortcuts like using some premade ingredients to save time.
Frozen shrimp and refrigerated tortellini make up the bulk of the meal. But alfredo sauce is something that can't be served from a jar and still taste authentic. So do yourself a favor and make your own creamy homemade alfredo sauce with these instructions. I promise it's worth the effort!
- Shrimp - I like jumbo shrimp for this dish, but any size will do as long as it's not tiny. To save money, peel and devein the shrimp yourself. Or, to save time, buy them already peeled and deveined.
- Refrigerated cheese-filled tortellini - any brand will do, but I specifically like the ones filled with cheese. If you want, you can get the ones filled with spinach and cheese. Avoid the ones that have sausage or chicken, though, as (in my opinion) it detracts from the shrimp.
- Real butter - don't cheat and use margarine, it doesn't work as well in the sauce
- Heavy cream - full-fat heavy whipping cream is better than half-and-half, which makes a runnier sauce
- Minced garlic - fresh garlic cloves taste best, but a jar or minced garlic will do in a pinch. Garlic powder would also work.
- Parmesan cheese - I like to grate my own cheese, but you can purchase a bag of shredded cheese if you prefer.
- Salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning blend
See recipe card for quantities.
There are three separate things to cook: the pasta, the shrimp, and the sauce. While it does take more equipment, each component is easy to make. So don't let the process overwhelm you; it's really pretty simple.
Step 1: Cook the tortellini as directed on the package
Step 2: Sauté the shrimp and garlic in real butter over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes per side
Step 3: Begin the sauce by combining butter and cream. Whisk in garlic, salt, and pepper. Then add the Parmesan cheese and stir until it's melted.
Step 4: On a plate or in a bowl, place a serving of cooked tortellini. Place the sautéed shrimp on top, then finally ladle the sauce over everything. Garnish with fresh basil,
Hint: I usually reuse the same pan for steps 2 and 3, simply wiping it out with a paper towel in between the steps. This makes clean-up a bit easier. Plus, it all ends up in the same dish eventually.
If shrimp isn't your think, you can use chicken instead. Cook up a couple of chicken breasts - either before starting the pasta, or even a few days before - then dice and use instead of the shrimp.
For more greens, you could toss a handful of fresh spinach in with the shrimp, about halfway through cooking.
If you like mild heat, you can add red pepper flakes on top of the prepared dish.
The dish isn't great for people with gluten or dairy sensitivities. I suspect there is gluten-free tortellini available, and this website has a recipe for dairy-free alfredo sauce. I can't vouch for whether it tastes like traditional alfredo sauce, but it has great reviews.
You don't need much for this recipe: One large pasta or stock pot for making the pasta, and one (or two) skillets to cook the shrimp and the sauce. A colander is useful for draining the pasta after cooking, and a whisk is best for getting a creamy consistency in the alfredo sauce.
You can store the shrimp for 1-2 days in the refrigerator, and the pasta for 3-5 days. Keep both inside an airtight container.
Alfredo sauce doesn't reheat well, especially in the microwave. If you have leftovers, I suggest storing the sauce in a separate container. When you're ready to serve the meal the second time, reheat it in a sauce pot on the stove. Heat it slowly, continually stirring with a whisk to help keep it from separating. You may need to add a bit of milk or cream if the sauce is too thick while reheating.
Place the cold alfredo sauce in a sauce pot, and reheat slowly while stirring with a whisk. If the sauce is too thick, add some milk or cream to thin it out.
As long as it's cooked! If you end up with more leftover tortellini than shrimp or sauce, try it cold as an afternoon snack!
A side salad and garlic bread are the perfect accompaniment!
Shrimp Alfredo Tortellini
- 1 large pot
- 1 or 2 skillets
- 1 colander
- 1 pound shrimp peeled and deveined
- 1 package refrigerated cheese-filled tortellini large
- ¾ cup butter divided
- 1½ cups heavy cream
- 4 cloves garlic minced and divided
- 2 cups Parmesan cheese grated
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning blend
- Prepare cheese tortellini according to package directions. Drain in a colander once finished cooking.
- While pasta cooks, heat ¼ cup butter in a large skillet. When it has melted, add the shrimp and half of the minced garlic. Sauté 3-4 minutes per side. Once both sides are pink, remove the shrimp to a platter.
- In the same or a new skillet (your choice), add the remaining ½ cup butter and 1½ cups cream. Heat until warm and butter has melted. Whisk in remaining garlic, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper and cook for 1 minute more.
- Stir in shredded Parmesan cheese. Continue stirring until the cheese has completely melted.
- Once all ingredients are ready, place tortellini on a plate or in a bowl. Spoon Alfredo sauce over the pasta, and then top with shrimp. Add extra Italian seasoning if you'd like!
🦺 Food safety
The easiest way to tell if shrimp is fully cooked, is to make sure it's no longer translucent. It should be pink and firm but not hard, with a shiny surface. If it turns white and has no sheen to it, it's overcooked.