Creamy Baked Tortellini Recipe

Indulge in the rich, creamy goodness of this baked tortellini. This dish combines cheese-filled tortellini with a decadent cheese sauce, chunks of ham, and vibrant green peas. Baked to a golden perfection, this is the ultimate comfort food that can be enjoyed any day of the week.

Creamy Baked Tortellini Recipe

This recipe calls for tortellini, a type of pasta filled with cheese. While it's a common ingredient in Italian cuisine, it may not be readily available in all supermarkets. However, they can usually be found in the refrigerated or frozen pasta section. The recipe also includes ham and green peas, which are commonly available but can also be substituted according to preference. The cheeses used in the recipe include sharp cheddar and parmesan, both of which add to the creamy and indulgent nature of the dish.

Necessary Ingredients for Creamy Baked Tortellini

Cheese tortellini: A type of pasta filled with cheese, these are the star of the dish and provide a hearty and satisfying base.

Ham: Adds a hint of smokiness and a contrasting texture to the dish. Use as per your preference.

Butter: Used to sauté the garlic and basil, it adds a rich and creamy texture.

Garlic cloves: Provides a strong and aromatic flavor. Adjust quantity to taste.

Dried basil: Adds an herby flavor that complements the other ingredients.

All-purpose flour: Helps thicken the sauce.

Salt and Pepper: For seasoning. Adjust as per taste.

Whole milk: The main component of the creamy sauce.

Sharp cheddar cheese: Gives the sauce a tangy and creamy flavor.

Parmesan cheese: Provides a nutty and savory flavor to the dish.

Green peas: Adds a pop of color and freshness.

One reader, Kirsteni Lebron says:

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This creamy baked tortellini recipe is a game-changer! The combination of cheese tortellini, ham, and a rich, creamy sauce is simply divine. The flavors meld together perfectly, and the green peas add a delightful pop of color and freshness. It's a definite crowd-pleaser and a new family favorite!

Kirsteni Lebron

Cooking Techniques for Perfecting Baked Tortellini

How to cook tortellini: Cook the tortellini according to the package directions until al dente. This usually takes about 7-9 minutes in boiling water. Be sure not to overcook them as they will continue to cook in the oven.

How to make the creamy sauce: Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and dried basil, and cook for 3-4 minutes until fragrant. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly until the mixture is smooth. Bring it to a boil and then remove from heat. Stir in the cheddar and parmesan cheese until melted and smooth.

How to bake the tortellini: Combine the cooked tortellini, creamy sauce, ham, and green peas in a 9x13-inch baking dish. Top with the remaining cheddar cheese and bake uncovered at 350°F for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

How To Make Creamy Baked Tortellini

A creamy baked tortellini casserole dish fit for any season! This amazing dish is oozing with cheese, perfectly cooked pasta, and bursting with flavor!

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 20 minutes
Total: 35 minutes

Serves:

Ingredients

  • 20ozcheese tortellinirefrigerated
  • 2cupshamchopped
  • 2tbspbutter
  • 2garlic clovesminced
  • ½tspdried basil
  • 1tbspall-purpose flour
  • salt & pepperto taste
  • 1⅔cupswhole milk
  • cupssharp cheddar cheeseshredded, divided
  • ½cupparmesan cheesegrated
  • 1cupgreen peasfrozen, defrosted

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Cook tortellini according to package directions.

  3. Combine butter, garlic and basil in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat 3 to 4 minutes or until fragrant.

  4. Add flour and seasonings. Cook 1 minute. Stir in milk a little at a time until smooth. Bring to a boil while stirring over medium heat.

  5. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup of cheddar cheese and parmesan cheese until smooth and melted.

  6. Combine tortellini, sauce, ham, and green peas in a 9×13-inch pan. Top with remaining cheddar cheese and bake uncovered, 15 to 20 minutes.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 532.48kcal
  • Fat: 26.35g
  • Saturated Fat: 13.60g
  • Trans Fat: 0.41g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 8.19g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.70g
  • Carbohydrates: 42.40g
  • Fiber: 2.33g
  • Sugar: 4.42g
  • Protein: 30.97g
  • Cholesterol: 107.50mg
  • Sodium: 1187.47mg
  • Calcium: 454.11mg
  • Potassium: 388.69mg
  • Iron: 2.03mg
  • Vitamin A: 165.83µg
  • Vitamin C: 7.48mg

Pro Tip for Nailing Creamy Baked Tortellini

When making the sauce for your creamy baked tortellini, it's important to add the milk gradually while stirring. This helps to prevent lumps from forming and ensures a smooth, creamy consistency. If the sauce is too thick, you can add a bit more milk. If it's too thin, allow it to simmer a bit longer. Remember, the sauce will thicken up more as it cools and when it bakes with the tortellini.

Time-Saving Tips for Making Creamy Baked Tortellini Recipe

Prep ahead: Cook the tortellini and ham in advance to save time when assembling the dish.

One-pot wonder: Consider using a large oven-safe skillet to cook the tortellini and ham, then add the sauce and bake it all in the same dish to minimize cleanup.

Frozen veggies: Opt for frozen peas instead of fresh for convenience without sacrificing flavor.

Double the batch: Make a larger portion and freeze the extra for a quick and easy meal on a busy day.

Pre-shredded cheese: Use pre-shredded cheese to cut down on prep time without compromising on taste.

Quick roux: Make the roux in advance and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days, then simply reheat and add the milk when ready to use.

Substitute Ingredients For Creamy Baked Tortellini Recipe

  • cheese tortellini - Substitute with spinach and ricotta tortellini: This substitution will add a different flavor profile to the dish while still providing a creamy and satisfying texture.

  • ham - Substitute with smoked turkey or chicken: The smoky flavor of the substitute will add depth to the dish, and it will still provide a similar texture and protein content.

  • butter - Substitute with olive oil: Olive oil can provide a healthier alternative and a slightly different flavor profile to the dish.

  • garlic cloves - Substitute with shallots: Shallots can provide a milder, sweeter flavor compared to garlic, adding a unique twist to the recipe.

  • dried basil - Substitute with dried oregano: Oregano can add a slightly different herbal note to the dish, complementing the other flavors in the recipe.

  • all-purpose flour - Substitute with cornstarch: Cornstarch can be used as a thickening agent in place of flour and will provide a similar consistency to the dish.

  • whole milk - Substitute with unsweetened almond milk: This substitution can make the dish dairy-free and lower in calories, while still providing a creamy texture.

  • sharp cheddar cheese - Substitute with gouda cheese: Gouda cheese can add a rich and creamy flavor to the dish, complementing the other ingredients.

  • parmesan cheese - Substitute with pecorino romano cheese: Pecorino romano cheese can provide a similar salty and nutty flavor to the dish, enhancing its overall taste.

  • green peas - Substitute with edamame: Edamame can add a different texture and a slightly nutty flavor to the dish, while still providing a pop of green color.

Presentation Tips for Serving Baked Tortellini

  1. Elevate the plating: When presenting the creamy baked tortellini, focus on creating a visually stunning plate. Use a large, white, or neutral-colored plate to allow the colors of the dish to pop. Arrange the tortellini in an appealing manner, ensuring each ingredient is showcased beautifully.

  2. Garnish with fresh herbs: Add a touch of freshness and color to the dish by garnishing with fresh basil or chopped parsley. This not only enhances the visual appeal but also adds a layer of freshness to the overall presentation.

  3. Focus on symmetry and balance: Arrange the tortellini, ham, and peas in a balanced and symmetrical manner on the plate. This attention to detail demonstrates precision and care in the presentation, which is essential in fine dining.

  4. Incorporate texture: Consider adding a crunchy element to the dish, such as toasted breadcrumbs or crispy prosciutto, to provide a delightful textural contrast to the creamy tortellini.

  5. Use a drizzle or swirl: Before serving, consider adding a drizzle of truffle oil or a delicate swirl of balsamic reduction around the plate to add a touch of elegance and depth of flavor to the dish.

  6. Emphasize the cheese: Highlight the star ingredient by sprinkling a dusting of finely grated parmesan over the top of the tortellini just before serving. This draws attention to the richness of the dish and adds a luxurious touch.

  7. Consider the negative space: Utilize the empty space on the plate to create a sense of balance and sophistication. Avoid overcrowding the plate, allowing the dish to stand out and the presentation to breathe.

  8. Attention to detail: Pay close attention to the cleanliness of the plate and ensure there are no spills or smudges. A pristine presentation reflects professionalism and care in the culinary craft.

Essential Kitchen Tools for Making Creamy Baked Tortellini

  • Saucepan: A saucepan is a versatile kitchen tool used for cooking sauces, boiling liquids, and simmering ingredients. It typically has a long handle and a lid, making it ideal for preparing the creamy sauce for the tortellini recipe.

  • 9x13-inch pan: This baking pan is a standard size for many casserole and baked pasta recipes. It provides ample space for combining and baking the tortellini, ham, and creamy sauce, ensuring even cooking and easy serving.

Storing and Freezing Instructions for Creamy Baked Tortellini

  • Let the creamy baked tortellini cool completely before storing or freezing. This will prevent condensation from forming and making the dish soggy.

  • To store in the refrigerator, transfer the cooled tortellini to an airtight container or cover the baking dish tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. It will keep well for up to 3-4 days in the fridge.

  • For longer storage, you can freeze the baked tortellini:

    • Portion the cooled dish into individual servings or freeze the entire casserole.
    • Wrap the portions or casserole dish tightly with plastic wrap, followed by a layer of aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn.
    • Label the package with the date and contents for easy identification.
    • Frozen baked tortellini will maintain its best quality for up to 2-3 months.
  • To reheat refrigerated tortellini, place the desired portion in a microwave-safe dish and heat until warmed through, stirring occasionally to ensure even heating.

  • For frozen tortellini, you can either thaw it overnight in the refrigerator or bake it directly from frozen:

    • If thawed, cover the dish with foil and bake at 350°F (175°C) for 20-30 minutes or until heated through.
    • If frozen, cover the dish with foil and bake at 350°F (175°C) for 45-60 minutes, removing the foil during the last 10-15 minutes for a crispy top.

The Best Way to Reheat Creamy Tortellini Leftovers

  • To reheat leftover creamy baked tortellini, preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Transfer the tortellini to an oven-safe dish, cover it with aluminum foil, and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until heated through. This method helps maintain the texture of the tortellini and prevents it from drying out.

  • Alternatively, you can reheat the tortellini in the microwave. Place a single serving in a microwave-safe bowl, cover it with a damp paper towel, and heat it on high for 1-2 minutes or until heated through. Stir the tortellini halfway through the reheating process to ensure even heating. Keep in mind that microwaving may cause the tortellini to become slightly softer than the oven method.

  • For a quick and easy stovetop reheat, place the leftover tortellini in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add a splash of milk or cream to help revive the sauce and prevent the tortellini from sticking to the pan. Stir gently and continuously until the tortellini is heated through and the sauce is smooth and creamy. This method allows you to easily adjust the consistency of the sauce by adding more liquid as needed.

  • If you find that the leftover tortellini has absorbed most of the sauce during storage, you can create a quick and easy sauce to revive the dish. Melt some butter in a saucepan, add minced garlic, and cook until fragrant. Stir in some flour to create a roux, then gradually whisk in milk or cream. Season with salt, pepper, and your favorite herbs, then add the tortellini to the pan and stir until heated through and coated in the fresh, creamy sauce.

Interesting Trivia About Creamy Baked Tortellini

The creamy baked tortellini recipe is a delicious and comforting dish that combines the flavors of cheese tortellini, ham, and a creamy cheese sauce. This dish is a great way to use up leftover ham and is perfect for a cozy family dinner. It's a versatile recipe that can be customized with different types of cheese or added vegetables, making it a go-to meal for busy weeknights. Plus, it can be easily reheated for leftovers the next day, making it a convenient and tasty option for lunch or dinner.

Budget-Friendly Creamy Baked Tortellini Recipe

This creamy baked tortellini recipe is quite cost-effective for a household. The ingredients, such as tortellini, ham, and cheese, are reasonably priced and readily available. The dish is hearty and filling, making it suitable for a family meal. The approximate cost for a household of four people would be around $20-$25. Overall, I would rate this recipe an 8 out of 10 for its affordability and delicious taste.

Is This Creamy Pasta Dish Healthy or Not?

This creamy baked tortellini recipe, while undeniably delicious, leans more towards the unhealthy side due to its high content of saturated fats and simple carbohydrates. The dish is rich in cheese and whole milk, which contribute to its creamy texture but also add a significant amount of saturated fat. Additionally, the tortellini pasta is a source of refined carbohydrates, which can cause blood sugar spikes and provide fewer nutrients compared to whole grain alternatives. The ham also adds to the overall fat and sodium content of the dish.

To make this recipe healthier, consider the following suggestions:

  • Swap whole milk for a lower-fat alternative, such as 2% or skim milk, or even a plant-based milk like unsweetened almond milk
  • Reduce the amount of cheese used, or opt for lower-fat cheese varieties
  • Choose whole grain or vegetable-based tortellini to increase the fiber content and nutritional value
  • Replace ham with a leaner protein source, such as grilled chicken or turkey
  • Increase the amount of green peas or add other vegetables like spinach, broccoli, or bell peppers to boost the dish's vitamin and fiber content
  • Use a smaller amount of butter or replace it with a healthier fat, such as olive oil

Our Editor's Opinion on This Tortellini Recipe

The creamy baked tortellini recipe is a delightful combination of flavors and textures. The creamy cheese sauce, savory ham, and tender tortellini create a comforting and satisfying dish. The addition of green peas brings a pop of color and freshness. The dish is well-balanced and perfect for a cozy family dinner or a casual gathering. The recipe is easy to follow and yields a delicious result that will surely impress your guests.

Why trust this Creamy Baked Tortellini Recipe:

This creamy baked tortellini recipe is a delightful combination of cheese tortellini, ham, and sharp cheddar cheese. The rich and creamy sauce, made with whole milk and parmesan cheese, adds a luxurious touch. The addition of green peas brings a pop of color and freshness to the dish. With a perfect blend of flavors and textures, this recipe promises to satisfy your cravings for a comforting and indulgent meal. Trust in the harmonious marriage of ingredients and the enticing aroma that will fill your kitchen as this dish bakes to golden perfection.

Have you tried this Creamy Baked Tortellini Recipe? Let us know how it turned out and share your own variations in the Recipe Sharing forum!
FAQ:
Can I use a different type of pasta for this recipe?
Yes, you can definitely use a different type of pasta if you prefer. Feel free to experiment with your favorite pasta shapes to make this dish your own.
Can I substitute the ham with another type of meat or make it vegetarian?
Absolutely! You can substitute the ham with cooked chicken, turkey, or even crispy bacon for a different flavor. For a vegetarian option, you can add in some sautéed mushrooms or roasted vegetables for a delicious twist.
Can I prepare this dish ahead of time and bake it later?
Yes, you can prepare the tortellini and sauce ahead of time, assemble the dish, cover it, and refrigerate it until you're ready to bake it. Just be sure to adjust the baking time as needed, as the dish may need a little longer in the oven if it's been refrigerated.
Can I freeze the creamy baked tortellini for later?
Yes, you can freeze the creamy baked tortellini. Just make sure to store it in an airtight container or freezer-safe dish. When you're ready to enjoy it, simply thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and reheat it in the oven until it's heated through.
Can I add other vegetables to the dish?
Absolutely! You can customize this dish by adding your favorite vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, or bell peppers. Just make sure to cook or blanch the vegetables before adding them to the dish to ensure they are the perfect texture when the tortellini is baked.

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