I'm a sucker for anything with cheese. Cheese pizza, a cheese sandwich, cheesy pasta, it's all good. When I saw a recipe for Baked Tortellini, I was beside myself. Cheese tortellini itself is good. Bake it in a light cheese sauce, and we're golden. In fact, the dinner I had planned was immediately scrapped so that I could make this!
I decided to add some spinach, which was very welcome and an easy way to boost the nutrition of this dish. I added a little cayenne pepper to perk things up a bit, and also added garlic. We can't have pasta without garlic, right? Baked Tortellini with Spinach is cheesy pasta perfection, made healthier, with a little kick.
Baked Tortellini with Spinach
Yields 6 servings
1/4 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups skim milk, heated (I microwave it for about 1 minute)
1/2 cup fontina cheese, shredded
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
16-20 ounces cheese tortellini (I used 2 10-ounce packages)
10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese and set aside.
- Set water to boil in a large pot to cook tortellini.
- In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add flour and whisk constantly, cooking for about 1 to 2 minutes, or until flour lightly browns. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, continuing to whisk constantly.
- Add hot milk and bring to a simmer, stirring until smooth and slightly thickened, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- While the milk mixture is simmering, add tortellini to boiling water and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, or according to package instructions.
- Remove milk mixture from heat and add in fontina cheese and cayenne pepper, stirring to melt the cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
- Drain cooked tortellini. Add tortellini to the cheese sauce (milk mixture) and stir until coated. Add chopped spinach and stir until evenly distributed.
- Spray 2 1/2 quart baking dish with cooking spray and pour mixture into dish, using the back of a spoon or a silicone spatula to spread evenly throughout.
- Sprinkle with breadcrumb mixture. Cover and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden and bubbly. Serve immediately.
Adapted from Eating Well