There was a winter a few years ago where Chris and I had this after work ritual: we’d get home, make dinner, and watch Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee, which we’d record on the DVR everyday. I have no idea how or why we started watching that show, but we did and I totally delighted in the tablescapes and Cocktail Time and Sassy Sausage Grinders. One of the things we’d always yell at the TV when we were watching was, “This is not a recipe! This is assembly!” And it’s true. Buying an angel food cake, dumping apple pie filling in the middle, and sprinkling corn nuts around it is really not a recipe. It’s just buying things, putting them together, and sticking giant candles in them.
This Cheese Tortellini Bake is also just buying things and putting them together. I mean, there’s a little bit of cooking involved, but it’s mostly just assembly. And is that wrong? No, it’s not! Not every meal needs to be a big production and that, my friends, is why Sandra Lee is a genius. So maybe my own semi-homemade dinners have a little less condensed cream of mushroom soup and a lot less alcohol, but the overall concept is there. It’s a solid concept!
I rarely buy refrigerated tortellini and ravioli because the portions are so small, I’m usually still hungry after I’ve finished eating. So when I do buy them, I like to bulk up the meal with veggies, which help me feel full without adding many extra calories. I started this recipe with a good quality refrigerated tortellini (I used RP’s because they’re based out of Madison, where we used to live) and pasta sauce, then added oven-roasted broccoli and a little mozzarella cheese. Yes, it’s that easy! And with the time you save on dinner, you’ll have time to whip up a tablescape and cocktails.
Using store-bought marinara sauce and tortellini makes this Cheese Tortellini Bake a cinch to put together.
- 2 medium crowns broccoli, broken into florets
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
- Olive oil mister (or cooking spray)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 (9-ounce) package cheese tortellini
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 cup good quality marinara sauce
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
- Spray a large baking dish with cooking spray. Place the broccoli and garlic in the dish, spray with oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Roast the broccoli for about 20 minutes or until tender and just beginning to brown, stirring occasionally. Don't turn off the oven.
- While the broccoli is roasting, cook the tortellini according to the package instructions and drain well. (If you don't drain the tortellini well, the bake will be watery, so make sure it's really dry!)
- Add the tortellini to the baking dish with the broccoli and toss with the Italian seasoning and marinara sauce. Top with cheese and bake for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.
To make the Cheese Tortellini Bake in mini-cocottes or ramekins, roast the broccoli on a baking sheet instead of in a baking dish, toss the ingredients together in a bowl, and divide them into the individual mini-cocottes.
This makes 2 big servings, or you can get 4 smaller servings out of it and make them a meal by serving a salad on the side.