Cheesy Baked Tortellini
It seems unfathomable that Christmas was less than two months ago at this point; life has been jam packed since the calendar turned to January! Over the holidays, we had dinner with some members of my husband’s family and cheese tortellini in a pink sauce was on the menu. My husband and brother-in-law had talked about this pink sauce for years, and I was thrilled to finally have the opportunity to try it. Amazing doesn’t even begin to describe it! I asked my father-in-law’s cousin how she made it, and she said it was a simple combination of her marinara sauce and a béchamel. I tucked that information away for a rainy day, and less than a few weeks later I decided to recreate her meal, except I baked it as a casserole and added even more cheese because… why not?!
I used packages of refrigerated tortellini for this dish, but you could easily use fresh or even frozen (I would par-boil the frozen ones before baking). Feel free to play around with the different variations of tortellini as well – I love cheese, but you could use meat or spinach as well, whatever you prefer. I have such a soft spot for baked pasta dishes; they’re absolutely one of my ultimate comfort foods. I can’t think of a better way to wait out these last few frigid days of winter before spring arrives than to bake up a dish like this!
I served this along with some homemade garlic bread, which may have just been the most amazing garlic bread I’ve ever had. Stay tuned for that recipe tomorrow!
Cheesy Baked Tortellini
A wonderfully cheesy baked tortellini dish made with a mixture of béchamel and red sauce.
For the Béchamel Sauce:
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2½ cups milk
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 cup shredded provolone cheese
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 3 pounds refrigerated cheese tortellini
- 3 cups your favorite spaghetti sauce
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Make the Béchamel Sauce: In a medium saucepan placed over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until the flour turns light brown and emits a nutty aroma. Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly. Once all of the milk has been incorporated, whisk in the nutmeg, and allow the mixture to come to a simmer. Once simmering, cook for 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Remove from the heat, and add the shredded provolone a handful at a time, stirring until it melts. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper, then set aside and let cool to warm room temperature.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the béchamel sauce and the spaghetti sauce.
- In a very large bowl, combine the tortellini and three-quarters of the sauce mixture. Turn into a 9×13-inch casserole dish and spread into an even layer.
- Drizzle the remaining sauce over the top of the tortellini. Sprinkle the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses evenly over the top.
- Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil, increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees F and bake for an additional 10 minutes or so, until the cheese is browned and bubbling on top. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.