Baked Tortellini Casserole
Before the grilling season kicks off, I wanted to make my family a nice comfort food meal. Baked Tortellini is an easy, cheesy baked casserole made with fresh or frozen tortellini and a quick homemade red meat sauce.
2 tablespoons of olive oil or butter
1 pound of ground beef
1 Small onion diced (optional)
3 garlic cloves minced
28 oz can of crushed tomatoes or whole peeled tomatoes crushed by hand
8 oz can of tomato sauce
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
24 oz package of fresh or frozen cheese tortellini
3 cups of grated mozzarella cheese (Italian blend is great, as well)
For this baked tortellini casserole, I used one large skillet and one casserole pan (you'll need a boiling pot for frozen tortellini or thaw before hand). I made a quick basic meat sauce with onions, garlic, ground beef, and canned tomatoes. This will turn out delish with your favorite pre-made sauce as well. Instead of simmering and reducing the sauce, I combined the cheese and uncooked(thawed) tortellini, and let the entire mixture bake in the oven. Just be sure to keep it tightly covered with foil so it stays moist. The foil keeps the moisture in and cooks the tortellini as it bakes. I always place my casserole dish on a sheet pan in case it bubbles over.
Look for fresh refrigerated tortellini in the deli section of the supermarket. You can also buy the frozen tortellini and boil it until it floats. You can use your favorite jarred sauce in this recipe. Just substitute the jarred sauce for the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and Italian seasoning. Adjust salt and pepper as needed. This reheats very well, so it's perfect for making ahead. You can reduce or add extra cheese to taste depending on what you have on hand. If you want it extra cheesy, add a block of cream cheese. It makes it so good!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, sautee onions in olive oil or butter until soft. Add garlic and cook for addtional minute.
Add ground beef and brown.
Once beef is cooked through, stir in crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce. Season with salt, pepper and italian seasoning. You can omit this step of you have jarred sauce. Add cream cheese to meat if you want it extra cheesy.
Thaw or boil frozen tortellini or prepare fresh tortellini for next step.
Layer ingredients into casserole dish and sprinkle remaining cheese over the top. I like to start with a layer of sauce, tortellini and then cheese. Repeat until casserole dish is 3/4 full.
Cover tightly with foil and baked at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until hot and bubbly
Remove foil for 5 mins to melt the cheese full.
Sprinkle with parsley if desired.
This dish is really easy to put together, and it is packed with flavor. I made this in the afternoon when I had some down time and reheated it in the evening for dinner. It was so good! This would definitely make a great freezer meal, or a meal to deliver to a friend or loved one.