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Tortellini with Saffron Cream and Pancetta_MidPage

Tortellini with Saffron Cream and Pancetta

This tortellini with saffron cream and pancetta is one of the most beautiful meals I’ve ever made. The golden, creamy sauce works perfectly with tortellini.
4 from 7 votes
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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 16 ounces fresh tortellini
  • 5 ounces pancetta diced
  • 2 teaspoons oil if needed
  • 2 shallots peeled and minced
  • 6 cloves garlic peeled and minced
  • 10 ounces San Marzano tomatoes halved
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper plus more to taste, if desired
  • ½ cup white wine or stock
  • 3-4 cups chicken stock more if needed
  • 1 pinch saffron threads
  • ½ cup heavy cream plus more to taste
  • 8 ounces fresh green peas or frozen
  • ½ cup freshly minced parsley divided


Fry the Pancetta:

  • In a wide pot, add the diced pancetta and turn the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes until the pancetta is browned and crispy and the fat has rendered. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a paper towel lined plate.

Cook the Aromatics:

  • If the pot seems too dry, add 1-2 teaspoons of the oil. Turn the heat to medium and add the shallot. Cook, stirring regularly, for 4-5 minutes until the shallot begins to soften. Add the garlic and cook for 45 seconds.

Prepare the Broth:

  • Add the tomatoes and season everything with salt, pepper, and the crushed red pepper. Cook for 2 minutes more.
  • Pour in the white wine and scrape up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Taste and season with salt, pepper, and more crushed red pepper to taste. Add the saffron threads and stir to incorporate them. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Boil the Tortellini:

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the tortellini according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.

Finish the Saffron Cream Broth:

  • Add the heavy cream, peas, and half the parsley to the broth and bring to a very low boil. If you’d like a brothy dish, add more chicken stock now. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until the peas are bright green and tender, but not overcooked. Taste and season again to your preferences. Turn off the heat.

To Serve:

  • Divide the cooked tortellini between bowls and ladle the saffron cream broth on top. Garnish with the crispy pancetta and the remaining minced parsley. Enjoy!
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