This easy tortellini pasta bake only requires 30 minutes, 8 ingredients, and one pan! It's a cheesy pasta bake that everyone will love. And the best part is that it's an easy oven meal made from scratch. Not a jar of pre-made pasta sauce in sight!
This easy vegetarian tortellini pasta bake is great for feeding a crowd on a budget. You can stretch one package of pasta into an easy pasta bake for 4 people.
⭐️ Why You'll Love Baked Tortellini
- It only takes 20- 30 minutes from start to finish.
- This pasta bake gets made in one pan meaning very easy clean-up.
- This easy dinner recipe is great for making ahead of time or for meal prep to freeze for a later date.
- Everyone loves a cheesy pasta bake!
🧾 Ingredients needed
You'll love this baked dinner recipe because it has such a short ingredient list that's extremely budget-friendly.
- fresh tortellini- No need to boil this pasta first. It gets added directly to the sauce and baked in the oven.
- passata- is a smooth tomato sauce , these sieved tomatoes are a similar texture and consistency of a jar of marinara sauce but without all the additives.
- grated mozzarella- the melting properties of mozzarella really are unmatched! A mild and creamy cheese that goes perfectly with this pasta bake. You can use a mix of mozzarella and cheddar if you like.
- Italian herbs- a tablespoon or two of dried herbs go a long way to bringing this easy Italian dish to life.
- garlic and shallots- you can use an onion here in place of shallots with no noticable difference. Shallots are what I had on hand.
- parmesan cheese- the parmesan cheese in the sauce really helps bring depth and richness to the whole dish, as well as thicken the sauce.
- fresh thyme-
- ground cinnamon- brings a warmth to the sauce and balances out the acidity of the tomatoes without having to add any sugar. You can add sugar but you may find you don't want to after adding the cinnamon. It's a classic Italian tomato sauce ingredient.
- double cream- you don't need much double cream here to bring that richness to the sauce. And you can skip it if you prefer a more robust tomato sauce.
See recipe card for quantities.
📖 Substitutions & Variations
- tortellini - I'm using a spinach and ricotta stuffed tortellini, but you can easily use any stuffed pasta you like. A beef and red wine tortellini or a ham and chicken variety would be great in this recipe.
- tomato sauce - you can use a jar of pre-made sauce if you already have one. But I would still recommend sautéing the onion and garlic before adding the sauce to the pan.
- meat - you can pan fry some beef, turkey or chicken mince to add to the tomato sauce.
- frozen cheese tortellini- you can use frozen or shelf-stable tortellini in this recipe. Just add an extra 10 minutes to the baking time.
👩🏻🍳 Step By Step
1 & 2
- Add some olive oil to a high-sided skillet or frying pan. Sauté the onions and garlic in the oil until they're soft and translucent.
- Pour in the passata. Stir in the fresh thyme, Italian herbs, and cinnamon. Bring to a gentle simmer. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
3 & 4
- Swirl the cream into the sauce, and whisk to combine. Add in the parmesan and let it melt into the sauce.
- Add the tortellini to the pan and toss to coat it in the sauce.
5 & 6
- Transfer the tortellini and sauce into an oven-safe casserole dish or baking dish if your skillet is not oven safe.
- Scatter the mozzarella generously over the tortellini and sprinkle with some cracked black pepper. Bake in the preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes.
Hint: *25 minutes for fresh pasta and 30-35 minutes for frozen or shelf-stable pasta.
📝 Make Ahead Tips & Tricks
- Follow the instructions all the way up to and including step 5- topping the casserole with cheese. Once you've sprinkled the mozzarella over the tortellini, cover it tightly with foil and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze the dish.
- Be sure to preheat the oven before baking. If cooking from the fridge cooking time should be only an extra 10 minutes.
- If cooking from frozen let the dish stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before baking. *This is especially important if you're using a ceramic casserole dish, so it doesn't shatter due to the extreme temperature change.
🍯 Storage & Leftovers
- Fridge- Cheesy pasta bakes keep really well in the fridge for up to 3 days. Be sure to store in an airtight container with a tight-fitting lid.
- Freezer- Stuffed pasta freezes really well for up to 1 month in an airtight container.
- Reheat the pasta bake- you can use a preheated oven for about 15 minutes. Be sure to cover the dish with foil so that the cheese doesn't get too brown.
- Or reheat in a microwave using 30-second bursts until the pasta is hot all way through.
Absolutely! Here are the top cheeses I recommend. They all have great melting qualities which you really need for this tortellini pasta bake.
cheddar- go for younger and milder styles that have more moisture and melt better than aged styles.
gruyère- a melty cheese that is mild, nutty and slightly sweet.
fontina- fontina and provolone are both sharper flavoured Italian cow's milk cheese.
provolone- see above
taleggio- the strongest of all the cheeses listed here, this one has slight fruit notes with a definite pungency to it.
This recipe is great for wilting in some spinach or kale. You can also add in some roasted aubergine, chargrilled peppers, or courgette.
Easy Extra Cheesy 30-Minute Tortellini Pasta Bake
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 250 g package of fresh or shelf-stable tortellini
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, picked
- 1 tablespoon Italian herbs
- 500 g carton of passata
- 100 ml double cream
- ½ lemon, juice only
- ¼- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 250 g shredded mozzarella
- 50 g parmesan, shredded
- 80-100 g kale or spinach, optional
- Preheat the oven to 160ºC fan or 180ºC regular (350ºF) Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in an oven-safe skillet or frying pan, over medium heat. Once the oil is hot (it will shimmer) add the shallots to the pan and sauté until soft and fragrant. Add in the minced garlic and dried herbs and continue to cook for another 5 minutes until everything is soft and just starting to turn light golden.
- Once the onions and garlic are light golden pour the passata into the pan and bring to a gentle simmer. Taste and adjust the seasoning and pour in the cream and a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of cinnamon.
- Stir the kale or spinach and the drained tortellini into the hot sauce stir well to let the spinach/kale wilt and coat the tortellini in the sauce. Grate half the parmesan over the tortellini and stir into the dish to melt the cheese.
- Sprinkle the mozzarella and remaining parmesan over the pasta and bake in the preheated oven until the cheese is golden and bubbling about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve in bowls with salad and bread.
- Kale will take a little bit longer to wilt than spinach, so leave it on the heat for an extra 3-4 minutes.
- Cinnamon seems like a strange addition, but its warm toastiness of it helps to balance the acidity of the tomato sauce.
- A regular onion can be used in place of shallots.
- You can use cheese or vegetable-stuffed tortellini to keep it vegetarian or you can use ham or beef-stuffed tortellini. Ravioli also works here too.