Our Best Bites.
This wasn't hard, nor expensive, but it did take more time than a typical weeknight meal and used 3 dishes to cook. However, it made a lot so it pays off in leftovers for us. This kid friendly dish would also be great to take to someone with a new baby or illness/injury.
Tortellini Spinach Bake in Creamy Lemon Sauce
12 oz cheese and spinach dry tortellini
4 strips bacon
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 Tbs flour
2 C milk
¾ tsp kosher salt
⅛ tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp dry basil
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
1 medium lemon
2 C loosely packed fresh spinach, roughly chopped
¾ C grated mozzarella cheese, divided
¾ C grated Parmesan cheese, divided
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill a large stock pot with water and bring to a boil. Add tortellini and cook according to package instructions.
Place bacon in a medium sized skillet on the stove-top at medium-high heat. Cook until crisp. Remove bacon from pan with slotted spoon and set on paper towels to drain. Reserve two tablespoons bacon drippings in pan and discard the rest. Add garlic to pan and cook until fragrant and tender, about 1 minute. Add flour to pan and stir with a whisk for about 1 minute. Slowly add milk and continue to stir with whisk until smooth. Add salt, pepper, basil, and red pepper flakes and bring sauce to a simmer.
While sauce is heating, zest the lemon then cut lemon in half and juice it. Add 2 teaspoons zest and 1 tablespoon lemon juice to sauce.
Continue to stir until thickened, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
Drain tortellini and place back in stock pot. Put all but 1 tablespoon of the cooked bacon in the stock pot with the pasta. Add spinach, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Add sauce and gently stir to combine. Place pasta mixture in a 9x13 baking dish and top with remaining 1/4 cup mozzarella, 1/4 cup parmesan, and 1 tablespoon crumbled bacon.
Cover pan with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes, until cheese on top is melted and pasta is bubbly throughout. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes before serving.