Be warned! One dunk of these crispy, crunchy tortellini bites into creamy tomato sauce and you won’t be able to stop!
These babies are crunchy, cheesy and highly additive. Allow me to introduce you to crispy tortellini bites…your new best friend. This is everything you want in a Super Bowl snack…a little salty, a little cheesy, a little saucy, and a whole lot of flavor. I’ve paired it with a creamy tomato sauce for a little sweetness and a squeeze of lemon for a little zing.
While best eaten as soon as they’re made, you can make them an hour or two ahead and reheat them in a warm oven. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll have to test one or two each time you fry a batch just to make sure they’re okay. And I promise they’ll be okay.
Tips for success
- Cook the sauce over very low heat, especially after adding the cream. You don’t want to scorch the bottom or boil.
- The cream adds a silkiness to the sauce, but if you want to skip making your own, a high quality jarred sauce will work just fine.
- The tortellini are best eaten right away, but you can hold them on a lined sheet tray in a warm 200 degree (but not hot) oven until ready to serve.
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 28 oz can tomato puree
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning, dried
- 1 Tbsp parsley, minced
- 1 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp red chili flakes
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- Canola oil, for frying
- 1 lb fresh tortellini, cooked according to package instructions
- 2 eggs, beaten with 2 Tbsp water
- 2 cups panko bread crumbs
- 3/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 tsp garlic salt
- Salt and pepper
- *Grated parmesan cheese, minced parsley and lemon wedges
Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
Add the onion and saute for 2 mins. Add the garlic and saute until until garlic and onions are soft and just golden.
Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1-2 mins.
Add the tomato puree, heavy cream, parmesan, Italian seasoning, parsley, sugar, chili flakes and salt.
Stir well and simmer over low heat, uncovered for 30 mins.
While the sauce cooks, get ready to fry the tortellini.
Whisk the eggs with water in a bowl, set aside. Mix the panko bread crumbs with the parmesan, lemon zest and garlic salt.
Take a handful of the tortellini and toss it in the beaten eggs. Use a slotted spoon to remove and toss them into the breadcrumbs until well coated. Place the breaded tortellini on a plate and repeat with the remaining tortellini.
Place a large nonstick frying pan over high heat and add enough oil to cover the bottom. Heat until hot, but not smoking.
Add tortellini in a single layer but don't crowd the pan. Fry until golden brown, flip and fry the other side until golden brown, about 3 mins total. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Repeat with remaining tortellini.
Sprinkle the tortellini bites with parmesan, parsley, salt and pepper and serve with tomato sauce and lemon wedges.
- Room temperature butter is key for blending the spiced butter. But be sure to pop it in the refrigerator to set before making your hot buttered rum.
- The butter can be wrapped and stored in the refrigerator for several days, or several weeks in the freezer.
- You can use regular rum in this as well, but the spiced rum really adds something special.
Update Notes: This post was originally published in February 2017 but was republished with tips in January 2019.