This Baked Cheese Tortellini is a very easy but delicious dinner! The cheese tortellini is baked in a rich tomato sauce with spinach and sundried tomatoes. Covered with creamy mozzarella then baked until gooey and scrumptious!
We love a good pasta bake for a weeknight dinner. They're cosy, warming and really great comfort food. I make a lot of them and they're also very popular with my readers. My Broccoli Pasta Bake is one of the most popular recipes on my site since I started!
This tortellini bake is something I have been trying to perfect for a while now and I have finally cracked it! We have eaten a lot of tortellini to get this right, trust me! So, let me show you how to turn a simple pack of cheese tortellini into a truly scrumptious dinner with minimum fuss required!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- That Tomato Sauce! - It's deliciously rich and full of flavour, better than any store-bought pasta sauce!
- It's so deliciously cheesy! - With cheese-filled tortellini, creamy mozzarella and pecorino. This has all the cheese!
- Just a few store cupboard ingredients elevate that pack of store-bought tortellini to a delicious restaurant-quality meal!
- Cheese Tortellini - I use a 4 cheese tortellini/tortelloni for this recipe. You can also use spinach and ricotta tortellini if you prefer.
- Passata - I use the bottled passata which you can find it near the canned tomatoes in the store. If you are in the US or Canada and can't find passata then tomato puree is your best bet.
- Spinach - Fresh baby spinach is best for this recipe but you can also use frozen spinach if you need to.
- Sun-dried tomatoes + paste - I add sun-dried tomatoes to the sauce to add more flavour along with sun-dried tomato paste. Both these items are very handy store-cupboard ingredients. They're great for adding extra flavour to tomato sauces. You will find sun-dried tomatoes in the deli section of your supermarket.
- Cheese - I use fresh mozzarella and pecorino for this recipe. If you're in the US then parmesan is fine.
- Onion, Celery, Carrot - You will need one medium brown onion, one medium carrot and one stalk of celery. Make sure and chop them all finely.
- Garlic + Herbs - I like to use about 3 cloves of garlic in this, you can use more or less garlic depending on your taste. I also add dried oregano and use fresh basil as a garnish.
- Oil and vinegar - I use olive oil for frying and add balsamic vinegar to the sauce to help balance the passata.
Substitutions and Variations
- Switch it up - If you're not a fan of tortellini then try this with gnocchi instead! Check out my gnocchi bolognese bake to learn how to use gnocchi instead of tortellini.
- More Veggies. It's very easy to add more veggies to this dish. Sliced black or kalamata olives would work great in this as would chopped mushrooms, and kale instead of spinach or courgettes.
- Make it Vegan - Use vegan tortellini and a good vegan cheese that melts well.
- Save Time - If you're in a hurry, you can save some time and use your favourite tomato pasta or marinara sauce.
How To Make Baked Cheese Tortellini
1. Start by making the sauce - cook the onions, carrot and celery in oil until soft. This will take about 20 minutes. Then add the garlic and dried oregano and cook for a minute.
2. Cook the spinach until wilted then roughly chop it. Add the passata, tomato paste, sundried tomatoes, and balsamic vinegar. to the sauce. Stir in the chopped spinach and season with salt and black pepper. Simmer for a few minutes.
3. Add the tortellini to the sauce and stir carefully taking care not to break any of the tortellini.
4. Finally, add the cheese then bake in the oven for 20 - 25 minutes. Leave it to cool before slightly before serving. Garnish with chopped basil.
Freezing and Reheating
- To freeze this dish - skip the baking part. Divide into four portions and place in freezer-friendly dishes. Wrap each dish tightly with cling film or plastic wrap. Press down gently to remove the air. Then cover with aluminium/tin foil, label, and freeze for up to 3 months. You can cook this from frozen and it will take around an hour to cook. Be careful to make sure it is cooked through before serving. You can also cook this in a casserole dish if you wish to freeze the whole dish.
- To reheat leftovers - simply reheat each portion in a microwave until piping hot.
No, the tortellini will cook in the sauce once in the oven.
Yes, you can, you may need to adjust the timings slightly though.
Yes, you can. Thaw the spinach in hot water first, and leave it to cool before squeezing the water out of it.
Similar Recipes to Try
If you love a good pasta bake or casserole then you might like my Spinach and Artichoke Pasta Bake or my Fajita Pasta Bake. If you'd something quicker then my Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta is deliciously creamy and so easy to make.
Baked Cheese Tortellini
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 1 medium carrot peeled then finely chopped
- 1 stalk of celery finely chopped
- 2 - 3 cloves of garlic finely minced or put through a garlic press
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 500 ml / just over 2 cups of passata
- 5 sun-dried tomatoes drained and thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 heaped tablespoon sun-dried tomato paste
- 150 g / 5 cups of fresh baby spinach
- 1 x 300 g / 1 x 12 oz pack of cheese tortellini
- 125 g / 1 x 6 oz ball of fresh mozzarella
- 50 g / ½ a cup of pecorino cheese finely grated, in US you can use Parmesan or any vegetarian hard Italian cheese
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Fresh basil for garnish optional
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F)fan oven / 200°C(390°F) conventional oven.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large oven-proof saute pan.Add the chopped onion, celery and carrot with a small pinch of salt. Cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes until soft. Stir often.
- Meanwhile, in another frying pan add a splash of olive oil to the pan then cook the spinach until wilted. Remove from the pan and leave to cool slightly. Squeeze some of the liquid out of the spinach then roughly chop it.
- Once the onion mixture has softened add 1 tablespoon of dried oregano, and 2 to 3 cloves of finely minced garlic and cook for a minute.Then pour the passata into the pan, add 1 tablespoon of sun-dried tomato paste and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar. Stir in the chopped spinach and the sliced sun-dried tomatoes.Season with the remaining salt and pepper and simmer for a few minutes.
- Add the cheese tortellini to the sauce then gently stir them being careful not to break any.Sprinkle the grated pecorino over the sauce, then tear up the mozzarella into bitesize pieces and spread it over the sauce. Bake in the oven for 20 - 25 minutes turning the pan halfway through cooking. Be careful the pan will be piping hot!Once the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is golden then remove it from the oven.Leave to cool slightly before serving, add some chopped basil as a garnish and serve with some good crusty bread to mop up the sauce.
- Tortellini - you can use any tortellini you like for this. We love four cheese tortellini or spinach and ricotta tortellini.
- Sauce - if you need to make this in less time you can use a jar of your favourite tomato-based pasta sauces.
- Nutritional Information - is calculated using an online nutrition tool and is approximate. It is based on one serving of four and does not include bread.
- Weights and measurements - For US readers, I use Cuisipro measuring cups and spoons, and a Pyrex measuring jug for liquids. These are the industry standard. Cup/spoon volumes can differ from brand to brand, for accuracy, I recommend weighing all ingredients, using a digital scale, if possible for best results.