Tortellini and Spinach Casserole

Guest blog from Dave!

This is a hearty, filling comfortable pasta dish, easy to prepare but definitely delicious. It is a substantial meal, cheesy and good, but with the added benefit of the nutrient-rich vegetables.

Taken, and adapted, from Taste of Home.

I made two versions of this casserole, one with spinach and mushroom and one with spinach, zucchini, and yellow squash for a friend who doesn't like mushrooms much. I didn't try the one that we gave away, so hopefully it was good, it was pretty much exactly the same apart from the vegetable swap. Here, the instructions are for a divided two casseroles, feel welcome to combine the divided steps, using an equivalent total quantity of vegetable, for just one end dish.

-19 oz frozen cheese tortellini
-1/2 lb mushrooms
-1 small zucchini AND 1 small yellow squash
-1 t garlic powder, divided
-1/4 t onion powder, divided
-1/4 t pepper, divided
-1/4 C butter, and more for saute
-12 oz evaporated milk
-8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
-1 package spinach, divided
-shredded mozzarella cheese

Begin by sauteing the mushrooms in one pan and the squashes in another pan, with a small amount of butter. Add half to each of garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, and salt to taste.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil to cook the tortellini according to package directions.

Once the vegetables are close to being cooked through, add equal spinach to each to wilt and remove some of the moisture.

Another meanwhile, add evaporated milk and butter to a saucepan and bring to a boil. At this point, I got distracted by having lots of things going on, so my butter sort of browned a little bit. I was in a rush, so I finished the recipe with a browned butter cheese sauce. I think it imparted a nice toasted butter flavor into the dish, or maybe it had no effect whatsoever. Mix in the cheddar cheese to melt and thicken.

Once the tortellini and all components are finished their preparation stages, combine the tortellini, vegetables, and cheese sauce.

Use a 9x13 if not dividing, otherwise, I had an 8x8 and managed to find a 9x12 in the food store, and those were fine for my purposes.

Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese to finish. Bake at 350 degrees, 15 minutes covered, and 10-15 minutes uncovered.

This was a good meal and fairly easy, I only made it more difficult for myself by catering to differing palates, so I had quite a few pans floating around. The source recipe says to make the cheese sauce in the saute pan, but that requires setting the vegetables aside, and I don't consider this using one less dish. In all, a delicious and filling dinner, would make again.


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