Tortellini with Peas and Lemon Sauce

A while back I was at Trader Joes and I stumbled upon some awesome dried cheese tortellini (as if I need more pasta in my pantry… my friends should be expecting several pasta parties in the near future). I’ve had these in my pantry for a while, thinking about what the perfect sauce to eat them with would be. Though I love red sauce (aka marinara sauce, but more on that later) as much as anyone else, I didn’t have the desire to drown these tortellini in sauce. Since I’m also currently having an obsession with winter citrus thanks to being spoiled over break by all the amazing fruit available in Louisiana, I decided that lemon sauce was the way to go. While looking online for recipes to inspire me I noticed that almost every pasta sauce involving lemon also is a cream sauce that is quite heavy. Personally I think it’s ridiculous to weigh lemon, one of the lightest flavors, down with cream.. so here’s my rendition of a light delicious sauce for some awesome tortellini.

PS. it’s delicious warm for dinner and even better cold for lunch the next day!

Tortellini with Peas and Lemon Sauce

Time: 20 minutes   Serves:2


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp mint flakes, 1/4 tsp salt and 1 tsp sugar 
  • 1/3 cup frozen peas
  • ½ package cheese tortellini
  • cheese to garnish


  • If you don’t have tortellini you can use any other kind of pasta that you like

Before you do anything else, add water and salt to your medium pot, bring to a boil. You will be using this to cook the pasta.

For the sauce: mince your garlic and put your small fry pan to medium low heat. Add garlic. Let your garlic cook until it is just starting to turn brown (about 1-2 minutes) but do not let is brown fully or it will become bitter.

Squeeze your lemon and add the juice to the garlic.

Add salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, mint and sugar. I used about ½ tsp sugar but you should add a bit at a time, keep mixing and tasting until is no longer too sour to stand. I like it a bit sour but not enough to make your lips pucker.

Now cook the pasta. Once water is boiling, add tortellini and cook according to directions on the package.

When tortellini are about two minutes from being done, add your peas. Once peas are heated and pasta is cooked, drain and add back to the pot. Add the sauce, toss, and serve with a bit of cheese on top!

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