I’m short on time this morning so I’m going to whip through this one and just say the recipe from Our Best Bites is easy to prepare, cooks up quick and was a unanimous crowd pleaser. The pasta is found in the dry pasta aisle and despite the fact that I love bacon, I despise cooking it (and the mess it makes!) so I used pre-cooked bacon. If you don’t like pre-cooked, simply cook up your favorite kind of bacon, remove it from the pan, once cooked, reserving 2 tablespoons of the grease in your pan for the garlic etc. omitting the olive oil.
- 12 oz. bag Barilla Cheese & Spinach Tortellini
- 8 strips pre-cooked bacon, chopped
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 Tablespoons flour
- 2 cups milk
- 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dry basil
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 medium lemon
- 2 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped
- 3/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese, divided
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add tortellini and cook according to package instructions.
- Heat two tablespoons olive oil in small skillet. Add garlic and cook until fragrant and tender, about 1 minute. Add flour 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 then bring sauce to a simmer.
- While sauce is heating, zest the lemon, then cut it in half and remove juice. Add 2 teaspoons zest and 1 tablespoon lemon juice to the sauce. Continue to stir until thickened, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Drain tortellini and place back in stock pot. Reserve about 2 strips of the cooked bacon and add the rest to the pasta mixture. Add spinach, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Add sauce and gently stir to combine.
- Place pasta mixture in an 8×8 baking dish and top with remaining cheeses and 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.