This wonderful recipe was inspired by my blogger-friend Jan over at Mommermon, who received her inspiration from no.2 pencil. Giving credit where credit is due; I have included links to both sites below.
Isn’t that the beauty of recipes and the whole internet/blogging thing? One inspires another, then another – each taking liberty, a little tweaking and giving rise to yet another spin of the same recipe. Case in point, my own take on the baked tortellini from mommermom. The recipes are very similar in ingredients. The biggest differences were that mine used a sauce without any meat and a blend of Italian cheeses rather than Mozzarella Cheese. Kraft makes a nice Five-Cheese Blend. It’s one of those packaged cheeses that is usually found in my deli cheese drawer in the fridge. Great on salads or sprinkled over just about anything Italian that screams “cheese me please”.
My guys loved this easy casserole dinner, going back for seconds. I thought we would have left-overs for another night. That didn’t happen – they gobbled it up. And in my book, that’s the best complement of all.
Cheesy Baked Tortellini Casserole
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 zucchini, chopped
1/2 sweet white onion, chopped
2 tablespoons roasted garlic, minced
1 Jar Spaghetti Sauce (I used a spicy red sauce for added zip)
1 package (20 oz) fresh or frozen cheese tortellini
2 cups Italian Cheese Blend
Preheat over to 375 degrees for frozen tortellini or 350 for fresh.
In a sauce pan large enough to hold your sauce and vegetables, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. While oil warms, chop onion and zucchini. A food processor fitted with a blade will make quick work of the chopping. Set vegetables aside until ready to use.
When oil is warmed, saute onions and garlic until soft, about 3 minutes. Add chopped zucchini and continue to saute another 2 minutes or until zucchini is soft.
Add spaghetti sauce, bring to just the boiling point. Lower heat to simmer, cover and continue to simmer for about 10 minutes for the flavors to marry.
Spread tortellini in a 9″ x 13″ casserole dish. Pour sauce over tortellini and gently toss to blend. Mix in about 1/2 cup of the Italian cheese blend.
Cover tightly with foil, pressing along edge of casserole dish to “seal” completely. (This is a MUST for pasta to cook).
Bake casserole for 30 minutes or until pasta is cooked and everything is nice and bubbly.
Remove foil. Sprinkle remainder of cheese over top of casserole and bake an additional 5 minutes or until cheese has melted.
Serve with a simple tomato based salad for a complete, delicious supper.