Pan-Fry Tortellini Like Dumplings To Give Them A Crispy Texture

Tortellini (not to be confused with tortelloni) isn't just for boiling and tossing in sauce. Breathe new life into this seeming one-trick pony by pan-frying your tortellini in a skillet on the stove. It creates a crave-able potsticker-esque exterior with crispy outer edges and soft insides. Depending on your preference, a griddle also works to achieve extra crispiness.

To do it, simply saute a single layer of tortellini in a neutral oil like sunflower or olive oil. Depending on your recipe (and the flavor or the filling) your tortellini could also benefit from a quick sear in a more flavorful cooking oil like savory toasted sesame oil, sweet-savory peanut oil, butter, or even bacon grease.

Once you've hit 'em with a mouth-watering golden brown sear in the oil, cover your tortellini with a little bit of water and slam a lid on the skillet to steam and finish cooking all the way through. This move will also steam any vegetables in your skillet. Alternatively, you could also boil your tortellini until al dente as normal, then transfer it to a hot skillet with oil for a finishing saute to crisp.

This tip works with store-bought packaged tortellini, but it's also a great way to rescue homemade tortellini that might've passed its prime. It also makes an ideal meal for foodies on a budget. At a Walmart in New York, a 19-ounce bag of frozen cheese tortellini costs just $4.27.

A dumpling by any name (and any prep) gets the job done

You can keep a bag of tortellini stashed in your freezer and whip it out whenever you want a filling, nourishing, quick-prep dinner. For an easy one-pot meal, you could even toss some fresh veggies in the skillet right along with the tortellini as they cook. Halved cherry tomatoes, button mushrooms, sliced zucchini, yellow squash, kale, artichoke hearts, or cubed sweet potato would all make a flavorful fit. Just make sure to cut whatever vegetables you use small enough that a quick steam will be adequate to cook them. For even easier prep, a bag of frozen broccoli florets, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, or mixed peas and carrots would all work super well here.

Fried tortellini would make hearty, texturally interesting topping for pureed soups; try sprinkling a few into a bowl of tomato basil soup, butternut squash soup, or even potato chowder. You could also try using that crispy tortellini as a hearty topping for savory grain salads. Or, use them in a fresh spinach salad with bulb fennel, yellow bell pepper, red onion, torn basil leaves, and creamy garlic dressing.

For a quick skillet meal, toss your fried tortellini with sun-dried tomato cream sauce and some Italian meatballs or roasted acorn squash. Add them to a Chinese-inspired stir-fry with edamame, shredded carrots, and red bell peppers. Or, assemble an ultra-luxurious vegetarian comfort food with crispy pan-fried tortellini over a heaping bowl of fettuccine alfredo, or mushroom stroganoff.