Cheese Tortellini Carbonara blends cheesy tortellini and creamy parmesan sauce, then flavors everything with bacon and garlic. It’s a richer knockoff of the classic Pasta Carbonara!
Extra bacon. Extra Cheese. Because.
It was a family vacation that inspired me to make Cheese Tortellini Carbonara. We had rented a timeshare in beautiful Captiva, FL and brought along three kids and a boyfriend. Pretty near a dream vacation except for one problem–how to make food that would please everyone.
Creamy pasta is always a crowd pleaser—and even my picky daughter would eat mac ‘n cheese three times a day.
I just needed an adult version. With major flavor. Yes, food bloggers tend to raise kids with… expectations.
This dish cooks up fast with just a few ingredients, so it’s a near perfect vacation entree. And in the end, the creamy rich pasta was the hit of the week.
What is Pasta Carbonara
Per Wikipedia, “Carbonara is a pasta dish made with eggs, hard cheese, cured pork, and black pepper…The cheese is usually Pecorino Romano, parmesan, or a combination of the two… Normally guanciale or pancetta are used for the meat component, but lardons of smoked bacon are a common substitute outside Italy.”
It’s creamy like the always popular Pasta Alfredo, with the addition of bacon. How good is that!
Why You’ll Love This!
Easy. Just missing out on the 5-ingredient recipe qualification, this comes together easily—even in a timeshare kitchen!
Tasty. This is rich and creamy, flavored with bacon, cheese and garlic. Need I say more?
Crowd-pleaser. This dish is kind of like classy comfort food and was loved by all.
What You’ll Need
- Cheese tortellini. This is the pasta component of the dish with some extra cheesy goodness.
- Bacon. This adds flavor and richness.
- Garlic. This adds flavor.
- Eggs. The eggs thicken the sauce and add creaminess.
- Parmesan cheese. This adds creaminess and flavor.
- Salt, black pepper. Salt and pepper enhance flavor.
- Flat-leaf parsley. Parsley helps balance the flavors and adds a punch of color.
- No special tools required!
Step by Step Directions
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain but reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
Cook bacon, then remove from pan and reserve. Drain all but 3 Tablespoons bacon fat.
Add garlic to pan and sautee for a minute or two, then add cooked pasta and mix together off the heat.
Beat together eggs and cheese.
Mix into the pasta pan, then set back on the stove, and cook until sauce is thickened. Add reserved pasta water as needed.
Stir reserved bacon back in and season with black pepper and salt to taste.
Top with chopped parsley. Serve with additional grated cheese if desired.
How to Serve
Just add a salad and you’ll have a complete tasty meal. Though consider including some garlic bread if everyone’s been out hiking or kayaking and built up an appetite!
To stick with the Italian theme, consider my Spicy Italian Salad. Or if you also happen to be serving this in a tropical paradise, how about a Moon and Starfruit Salad with Passionfruit Dressing!
This dish is often made with different types of pasta. It’s probably most often made with fettucine for Fettucine Carbonara. Other common versions are linguini carbonara or rigatoni carbonara.
To use a different type of pasta, just cook it according to package direction and use it instead of the tortellini.
If you’re looking for a little more protein you can add some cooked meat or seafood. Chicken or shrimp carbonara anyone?
Leftovers should keep, sealed and refrigerated, for 3-4 days. Reheat until warm in the microwave. I don’t tend to freeze cooked pasta since it can lose its “al dente” texture.
Tips & FAQs
As a cost saver, you may be able to find “bacon ends” for a discount. Just be sure they are thinly sliced like bacon. I recently ended up with chunky bacon ends which were fine chopped, but not as good for this.
And for more great Pasta Recipes:
- Chicken and Bacon Ragu by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Chicken Club Pasta by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Dandan Noodles by That Recipe
- Instant Pot Creamy Garlic Chicken Pasta by Daily Dish Recipes
- One-Pot Chicken Feta Alfredo by Cheese Curd In Paradise
- Pasta Skillet by Family Around the Table
- Taco Stuffed Shells by A Day in the Life on the Farm
Cheese Tortellini Carbonara!
- 20 ounces cheese tortellini 2 10-ounce packages
- 8 ounces bacon cut slices in half
- 6 garlic cloves chopped finely
- 3 eggs
- 5 ounces grated parmesan cheese
- Salt Black pepper
- 2 Tablespoons flat-leaf parsley chopped
- Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Pour tortellini into the pot and cook according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup water for sauce and discard the rest. If the sauce isn’t ready when done (mine was), drizzle the pasta with a little oil to prevent sticking and set aside.
- While pasta water is heating, cut bacon strips in half and cook until crisp in a large frying pan. Remove bacon and set aside. Discard all but 3 Tablespoons of bacon fat (see note).
- Add garlic to the saute pan and cook for a minute or two, until starting to turn light gold. Remove from heat, then add cooked pasta and mix together well.
- Beat together eggs and cheese. Mix into the pasta pan, then set back on the stove, and cook until sauce is thickened. Add reserved pasta water as needed.
- Stir reserved bacon back in and season with black pepper and salt to taste.
- Top with chopped parsley. Serve with additional grated cheese if desired
Updated from original, dated Feb 16, 2020.
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