I know I’ve done a ton of pasta related stuff lately. For those that don’t follow the blog regularly, I’ve been posting spinach and three cheese manicotti and lasagna roll ups. But they’re so good for these upcoming cold days and everyone loves a good Alfredo. So today I’ve tweaked my chicken Alfredo pasta bake to make it more vegetarian friendly and for those who love tortellini. The great thing about this variation is you can skip the cooking time for the pasta because you don’t have to cook the tortellini beforehand.
It has spinach and mushrooms. Tons of baby bella mushrooms! And of course, lots and lots of cheese. Packed with Alfredo sauce mixed with ricotta cheese and topped with a mozzarella cheesy molten lava top, this one should feed 8-10 people. It’s super, super rich, so have a side ready to balance it out! Best of all? All you need are store-bought ingredients from the grocery store. No fancy pasta makers or 20 minute sauce making. Let’s start!
This was the first time I’ve played around with frozen tortellini and the package said 4 minutes was all it took to cook. So applying the same no-boil concept I used with my spinach and artichoke ravioli bake, I decided it had plenty of time to cook in the oven and did not need pre-boiling. You’ll want a bag of frozen ravioli, which I found pretty easily in the frozen section. Thaw it just a little in the fridge so they don’t stick together.
Cook the frozen spinach in the microwave and while you’re doing that, start chopping the mushrooms. It’ll look like a lot of mushrooms but don’t worry. They’ll cook down and shrink in size along the way, leaving plenty of room for the pasta. We’ll be sauteing the mushrooms on the stove beforehand because they tend to release some liquid once cooked and we don’t want that diluting the casserole. It’s the same reason we’ll use a mesh strainer or something similar to squeeze out as much liquid from the cooked spinach as possible. Long story short: excess liquid = bad!
It’s easy from here on out. Mix the slightly thawed tortellini with the Alfredo sauce (you can use store-bought or make your own) and add the cooked mushrooms and spinach and some sour cream. Season it too. You probably won’t need much salt because the Alfredo sauce will take care of that.
Then make the ricotta mix with good quality ricotta cheese (it makes a HUGE difference!), garlic, beaten egg, Parmesan and parsley. I forgot to toss in some garlic when I made this and only just realized this now while typing this out. Oops! You’ll want some garlic though, so don’t be like me. Then we mix the ricotta mixture with the tortellini mixture. It’ll make squishy, cheesy noises and you’ll start feeling guilty but that’s okay. Once in awhile, right? Not every day!
Pour the pasta mixture into a 9×13 casserole dish and top with mozzarella cheese. You don’t need to cover this while baking so just bake it for 30 minutes or so and get the cheese on top to brown by finishing off with a quick broil on the top rack.
Once that’s done, it’s ready to serve! Happy eating!
- 19 oz. frozen cheese tortellini
- 10 oz. frozen chopped spinach
- 16 oz. baby bella mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- 1½ cups Alfredo sauce
- 8 oz. sour cream
- 15 oz. ricotta cheese
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 1 egg, beaten
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
- 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1½ cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
- Cook the spinach according to package directions and drain any excess liquid
- Meanwhile, saute mushrooms in some oil over medium high heat until mushrooms cook down, about 5 minutes. Drain any excess liquid
- Mix the frozen tortellini with Alfredo sauce, cooked mushrooms and spinach, sour cream and salt and pepper to taste
- Combine ricotta, garlic, egg, Parmesan and parsley and mix thoroughly
- Add the ricotta mixture to the tortellini mix and stir to combine
- Place pasta in a 9x13 casserole dish and top with mozzarella cheese
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until bubbly
- Broil at 450 degrees F for 2-3 minutes or until cheese starts to brown
- Dish and serve hot