Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tortellini Spinach Bake in Creamy Lemon Sauce (by Our Best Bites)

Made this recipe last night - found it on www.ourbestbites.com - LOVED it!!

I changed a couple of things just because I didn't have exactly what they called for, but I doubt they made a difference in the taste. Delicious!!

I think you could use the sauce from this recipe over any pasta, not just tortellini. It would be great over angel hair (vermicelli) or rotini as a side dish.

I'm also wondering if I could substitute broccoli for the spinach... I'll have to try that later & let you know.


Tortellini Spinach Bake in Creamy Lemon Sauce
Recipe by Our Best Bites
Serves 4-6

12 oz bag Barilla Cheese & Spinach Tortellini (in the dry pasta aisle)
4 oz bacon or pancetta (about 4 strips of bacon)**
3 cloves garlic, pressed in a garlic press or finely minced
2 Tbsp flour
2 cups milk
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp dry basil
1/4 tsp red pepper (1/2 tsp or more if you like spicy)
1 medium lemon, zest & juice
2 cups loosely packed fresh spinach, roughly chopped
3/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese, divided
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

  • Preheat oven to 350*F. Cook tortellini in large stock pot according to package directions.

  • Meanwhile, cook bacon in a medium-sized skillet at medium-high heat. Cook until crisp. Remove bacon from pan & set on paper towels to drain. Crumble when cooled. Reserve 2 Tbsps bacon drippings in pan & discard the rest.

  • Add garlic to pan & cook until fragrant & tender, about 1 minute. Add flour to pan & stir with whisk for about 1 minute. Slowly add milk & continue to stir with whisk until smooth. Add salt, pepper, basil & red pepper flakes. Bring sauce to a simmer.

  • Zest lemon, then cut in half & juice. Add 2 tsps zest and 1 Tbsp lemon juice to sauce. Continue to stir until thickened, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.

  • Drain tortellini when finished cooking & place back in stock pot. Reserve 1 Tbsp of cooked bacon & add the rest to the pasta. Add spinach, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese & 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Add sauce. Gently stir to combine.

  • Place pasta mixture in an 8x8" or 9x9" baking dish. Top with remaining 1/4 cup mozzarella & 1/4 cup Parmesan cheeses. Sprinkle with remaining crumbled bacon.

  • Cover pan with foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil & bake for another 5-10 minutes, until cheese on top is melted & pasta is bubbly througout.

  • Remove from oven & cool for 10 minutes before serving.

** For a vegetarian meal, omit the bacon. Replace the 2 Tbsps reserved bacon drippings with olive oil.


I used refrigerated, pre-prepared tortellini from Costco.

I used dried Italian seasonings instead of dried basil.

I left out the red pepper flakes completely.

I also completely forgot to let it sit for 10 minute after baking. It was delicious anyway!


Aubrey said...

I had that one bookmarked to try one day, but now I'm tempted to try it really soon! I bet broccoli would be good, too. I may have to try it both ways :)

Janis said...

Hey Girlie-
Did you double this recipe? I'm going to make it tonight, and just wondered if this recipe fits in your large pan you show or if you doubled it.

Kathryn said...

I did 1 1/2 of the recipe. It serves 4-6, but an 8x8 or 9x9 pan wouldn't feed my family of 6. Should've clarified that.. :)

Kathryn said...

Try it, Aubrey!! It's SOOO yummy!!

Janis said...

I made this last night, and posted on Facebook what I would change. I felt like something was too strong. If I make it again, I would not put in the lemon zest, but I would do the juice, AND I would cut back on the herbs by half. That is just my two-cents. :)

CMS Websites said...

Yum !! That's good look and really fantastic this post for recipes .i just try make this recipe at my home . thanks for nice posting


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