Cheesy Pesto Tortellini Bake

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The best thing about summer is the abundance of fresh herbs available to cook and bake with. My husband and I recently finished redoing our front of the house and added a porch, so now all I can think about is what I'm going to plant, and with a small space off the railing, what herbs I'd like to start growing. Hands down: basil is one of them. Basil is my favorite herb to use as it is incredibly versatile and enhances just about any dish! I love it on fresh homemade pizza, in sauces such as my summer sauce, but what I love most is making homemade pesto. Pesto has such strong flavors of garlic, basil, and cheese but honestly, it's one of the best tasting things on the planet. Of course, I had to use pesto in making a pasta dish, and tortellini felt the perfect vessel for this sauce. Alas, the birth of this cheesy pesto tortellini bake, and boyyyyyy is it good.

Pesto can be made a multitude of ways: with pine nuts or without nuts, with different kinds of nuts, with spinach, with arugula, with kale. The versions are endless, but I find myself a purist with lots of recipes, and pesto is certainly one of them. I like to use pesto in sandwiches, on pizza, and of course, pasta. This cheesy pesto tortellini bake is hands down top 5 recipes I make and is on repeat at my home, especially throughout the summer when we can get an abundance of basil. This cheesy tortellini bake with pesto is the ultimate pesto lover's dream, and when paired with carbs you literally cannot go wrong. This particular bake calls for frozen tortellini, which cooks rather quickly, then baked in the oven tossed with basil and a generous helping of mozzarella cheese. Not only is this recipe easy and done in just 30 minutes, it's kid friendly, and a perfect rotation for weeknight meals as we approach September.

Pesto Swaps and Options:

  • Use jarred pesto or make your own! Either way, this dish will come out amazing, even if you don't make it yourself. (recipe below for homemade, btw.)
  • Add dollops of ricotta for extra creaminess.
  • Want a vegan-friendly option? Use nutritional yeast instead of the parmesan cheese for the pesto, and use dairy-free cheese like Daiya for the bake.

Cheesy Pesto Tortellini Bake

When pesto is part of a recipe, you know it's gotta be good. This delectable cheesy pesto tortellini bake will make your tastebuds dance, sing, rejoice, and crave some more. I mean, what's not to love: pasta, cheese, and pesto! This is a winning dish for sure.

Author:
Morgan

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg frozen tortellini
  • Homemade Pesto sauce
  • 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions

  1. Start by bringing a pot of water to a boil and cook the frozen tortellini as the package says, or at least one minute less to prevent overcooking while it bakes.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375º and grab an oven-safe dish.
  3. Once the tortellini is done cooking, drain the pasta and set aside.
  4. If you are using pre-made pesto: Take two scoops of the jarred pesto and layer into the bottom of an oven-safe baking dish.
  5. If you are making the pesto: take 2 cups basil leaves, 1/3 cup parmesan, 3 minced garlic cloves, and 1/4 cup olive oil and add to a food processor. Blend until completely smooth. You may need to add more parmesan and/or oil depending upon the consistency.
  6. Assembly: Pour the drained tortellini into a baking dish. Spread around the pesto and coat the pasta. Layer the mozzarella cheese to cover the pasta. Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the oven to broil for an additional 3 minutes or until the cheese begins to brown.

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