This cheesy baked tortellini is made with a rich but simple tomato sauce with the slightest hint of cream, fragrant Italian herbs all baked under a blanket of cheese until bubbling and golden. It's an easy 30-minute pasta bake that will have you in dinner heaven. Think all the flavours of lasagna, but easy and 30 minutes! And all ingredients from Aldi!
This is comfort food at it's best. Pillows of cheesy stuffed pasta, covered in a rich and slightly creamy tomato sauce all baked under shredded mozzarella cheese. Your whole family will love this, and there probably won't be any leftovers.
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- tortellini- any variety. Use 3 cheese to keep it vegetarian
- 1 carton passata- smooth sieved tomato pasta is better in this recipe rather than chopped tomatoes
- 1 onion & garlic- flavour base for the sauce. You can't possibly make a tomato sauce without them
- thyme, dried oregano, dried basil- herb base for the sauce
- cinnamon- you may think it's crazy, but a teaspoon of cinnamon in tomato sauce elevates from good to ah-mazing! Go with it!
- cream- cuts the acidity of the tomatoes and brings a richness to the sauce
- parmesan (Grana Padano) & mozzarella- No explanation needed
- kale- use kale instead of spinach in the recipe because it has so much more body and texture and holds up well in a pasta bake. Spinach tends to lose all of its texture in a hearty sauce and pasta bake.
Baked tortellini step by step
- Start with a tablespoon or 2 of olive oil in an oven-safe skillet or frying pan. Heat it up over medium heat while you chop the onion. Once the onion is soft and fragrant add in the minced garlic and the herbs. Let this continue to cook until the onions start to colour ever so slightly and little brown spots start to appear on the bottom of the pan. We're talking barely golden, here.
- Once the onions are just golden and the garlic is fragrant pour in the passata. Bring everything up to a gentle simmer. Taste the sauce for seasoning. *A note on seasoning- I very rarely put salt measurements into these recipes because it is so personal and subjective. When it comes to seasoning, taste, season and taste again.
- Once you have the sauce just the way you want it, pour in the cream and whisk well. Add in the pinch of cinnamon and the kale. Let the kale wilt and then add in the cooked pasta. Give it all a good toss, so that the tortellini is coated in the sauce.
Baking the tortellini
- This really is like almost every pasta bake you've ever made. Place everything in an oven-safe baking dish if it hasn't been already and cover with the package of shredded mozzarella and a few good gratings of the parmesan cheese. Finish it all with a few grinds of fresh pepper and place under the grill (broiler in North America) for about 15 minutes, or until the cheese is golden and bubbling.
If you want to get some extra protein in this tortellini pasta bake, to make it go further then some beef mince or already cooked and shredded chicken would be perfect. However, without the addition of extra proteins, this pasta bake still goes a really long way. I thought about using 2 packs of the tortellini to serve 4, but once you've added in the kale, the sauce and all that cheese, 1 pack will serve 4 very well. Especially if you serve it with a salad and some crusty bread.
You may not have leftovers, but that's not because there isn't enough, it's because it's so so good!
- chicken, cooked and shredded
- beef mince
- sun-dried tomatoes
- bacon lardons
Storing, freezing & reheating
Okay. If you did have leftovers, here's what you would do!
Let the baked tortellini cool completely before packing it into freezer containers. The pasta bake can be kept in the fridge for up to 1 month, or store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
To reheat, the microwave really is your best friend here. The cheese will soften and melt perfectly and the pasta won't dry out. If you don't have a microwave, then the oven is the way to go here. But make sure you cover the dish with foil. Reheat in an oven at about 160ºC until hot all the way through. Using a microwave, heat in 30-second bursts until everything is hot.
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