Brown Butter Tortellini with Spinach & Ham

This simple pasta toss uses the method of draining the tortellini right over fresh spinach leaves to quickly wilt the spinach with the pasta cooking water.


  • 1 pkg (20 oz or 700 g) refrigerated cheese-filled tortellini
  • 1 pkg (6 oz/175 g) fresh baby spinach leaves (about 8 cups/2 L)
  • 1 8-oz (250-g) piece cooked ham steak
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup (50 mL) butter (do not substitute margarine)
  • Coarsely ground black pepper (optional)


  1. To cook tortellini, bring salted water to a boil in (4-qt./3.8-L) Casserole; add tortellini and cook according to package directions.

  2. As tortellini cook, place spinach into large Stainless Mesh Colander. Dice ham with Santoku Knife. Finely dice bell pepper. Drain tortellini over spinach in Colander.

  3. Add butter to (12-in./30-cm) Skillet; heat over medium heat 5-7 minutes or until butter is a deep brown color, occasionally swirling Skillet. Immediately add bell pepper. Reduce heat to low; add ham, tortellini and spinach. Gently toss to coat with Bamboo Spatulas.

  4. To serve, spoon tortellini mixture onto serving plates. Sprinkle with black pepper, if desired.


  • 6  servings

Nutrients per serving:

Calories 380, Total Fat 13 g, Saturated Fat 7 g, Cholesterol 65 mg, Carbohydrate 48 g, Protein 19 g, Sodium 1050 mg, Fiber 5 g

U.S. Diabetic exchanges per serving:

3 starch, 2 medium-fat meat (3 carb)

Cook's Tips:

Getting the butter to brown evenly is easy if you melt the butter over moderate heat and swirl the pan occasionally. Adding finely diced red bell pepper to the butter as soon as it reaches a deep brown color cools the butter and prevents burning, preserving the delicate, nutty flavor.

A ham steak is a great way to savor all the flavor of a traditional bone-in ham without buying a whole ham. Ham steaks come from the center of the ham and are 94% lean, the leanest part of the ham.

Ravioli can be substituted for the tortellini, if desired.

Diced cooked chicken can be substituted for the ham, if desired.

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