This classic Tortellini with Ham and Peas recipe is a favorite Italian dish that I enjoyed in Venice, Italy, served with Parmesan cheese..

Tortellini with Ham and Peas

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Friends, I’ve just returned from a trip to Italy, a dream trip of a lifetime, really. It was sponsored by Luxury Gold By Insight Vacations, and I’ll be sharing much more with you in the weeks to come!

Insight Vacations, Italy

This past week, we traveled from Rome to Venice, with a little bit of Tuscany in between, staying in villas and premier hotels along the way. We traveled by coach (first class, with Wi-Fi), with our amazing guide, Daniele. There were so many surprises, so much history coming to life that I’ve always read about, my heart is still full from the rich experience, and delicious foods. It was a lot to take in!

Let me just say, I love Italian food and the Italians’ simple approach to cooking and life, overall. 

Tortellini with Ham and Peas

One meal, so very simple, and yet so popular here in the US, is Tortellini with Ham and Peas, a recipe that I’ve made many times over the years for my family, partly because it’s so easy (and I’m a pea lover!). But on the other hand, who doesn’t love cheese tortellini? Especially if it’s as tender and sweet as what we enjoyed in Venice.

Insight Vacations, Italy

I did not grow up in an Italian family, and in fact, the very opposite–German and Dutch. Food was more on the bland side, and I remember simple Italian dishes my mom would make from the Betty Crocker Cookbook, like lasagna and spaghetti. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I was introduced to DeLallo pasta, which is what I keep stocked in my pantry. I especially love DeLallo’s tortellini, but you can always use fresh for this recipe, too!

Authentic experiences

One of the beautiful things about Insight trips is that you experience special touches along the way, like spending the day at a winery in a cooking class, where you make your own pasta! This was proably my favorite day, something that I’ve always wanted to do in Italy. Cook with Italian women. And my dream came true in Tuscany!

In Rome, we visited the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel, bypassing the public to take in Michelangelo’s ceiling without the crowds pushing up against us. There was the special night in Rome, where we sat in a small restaurant, serenaded by charming opera singers gliding and dancing around us, while we indulged in a small serving of creamy tiramisu. Or the last night, when we were water-taxied to the colorful island of Burano, where a fisherman shared his story and sang for us, and the chef took the fish and created an authentic fish dinner for our group – served family style. These are a few wonderful examples from the Luxury Gold, Ultimate Italy trip we were on!  (Below, a few of the 22 of my Insight friends, plus CEO John Boulding.)

Luxiry Gold by Insight Vacations

The food in Italy

Here are a few recipes we enjoyed in Florence – Carbonara and Broccoli Pesto Gnocchi. Both mouthwatering-good! And I must say, the food is always so pretty in color, and in how it’s styled on the plate and served.

Insight Vacations, Italy

Insight Vacations, Italy

Tortellini with Ham and Peas

One of our last meals was in Venice, sitting on the canal and enjoying the bread (and by the way, they do not put salt in their bread) and wine, a fresh green salad (I noticed that most green salads had shaved fennel, which made me very happy), and I ordered Tortellini with Ham and Peas. I took in the sounds of the gondolas in the water, the singing in the boats, the chatter of the ladies (and new friendships), the breeze in the air, the view and colors of the buildings–this amazing little city Venice has a quarter of a million people, with no cars or roadways, just canals and boats.

Insight Vacations, Italy

Food comes alive when the ambience is rich, the company you are with is enjoyable, you’re sipping on some of the best wine, and the flavors meld together in your mouth with a freshness you’ll never forget.

I’m pretty sure we passed on dessert that night, having already had a daily gelato. :)


If you were following me on Instagram, you probably saw that I also splurged on a daily gelato. My favorite flavor was Biscotto, with full fat cream, the second day in Rome at Mondi Caffe, where our concierge sent us on a twisted jaunt through the side streets to find this charming place. Coming in second would have been the simple Amarena Cherries Gelato that I experienced at Gelato Fantacy in Venice. But who can say no to Caramel Cream, or Butterscotch, or Pear Ginger, or Tiramisu …?

You cannot visit Italy without a daily gelato, right?

Insight Vacations, Italy #DailyGelato

Luxury Gold by Insight Vacations

There are more photos and details from my trip to come, broken down by region – with more helpful info about Insight Vacations. The coach, our hotels, the countryside, our amazing guide – Daniele. I’m telling you, Insight Vacations is a first class experience, Friends. Anyone who loves to cruise (I’ve been on 2) would get hooked on a trip like this … stay tuned!

Insight Vacations, Italy

My heart is full with the magic of Italy–the weather, the people, and tour group, the details, the food and wine, the hotels, the ambience –the entire experience!

Che bella volta in Italia!

Tortellini with Ham and Peas

More tortellini recipes:

Tortellini Skewers {RE}

Veggie Tortellini Soup {The Pioneer Woman}

Tortelllini with Balsamic Brown Butter {Gimme Some Oven}

Tortellini with Ham and Peas
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Get the Recipe:

Tortellini with Ham and Peas

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 4
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  • 1 pound fresh or frozen cheese tortellini, I buy DeLallo
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 3 Tbsp. butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese + extra for topping
  • 1/4 – 1/3  pound ham, chopped


  • Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, and cook the tortellini according to package directions, but less a minute or two. Do not overcook the pasta. Add peas to pot for last 30 seconds, gently stirring.
  • Drain tortellini and peas and return to pot. Stir in butter, cream, salt, pepper, Parmesan and ham. Turn stove back on to medium heat and cook until ingredients are heated through, stirring gently for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.
Did you make this recipe?Tag @reluctantentertainer on Instagram and hashtag it #reluctantentertainer!

Tortellini with Ham and Peas

My trip to Italy was paid for and sponsored by Luxury Gold by Insight Vacations, but as always, all opinions are my own.