Thursday, March 29, 2012

Spinach Tortellini Casserole

The tortellini kick continues...

This time in casserole form.

I use the variety of tortellini found in the refrigerated section near the deli at many grocery stores.  

I employed the tri-colored little gems in this recipe because I thought it looked pretty.

It would be oh-so-easy to double this recipe (to serve 8 people).  

Bechamel sauce is a fancy name for a simple white sauce.  Kind of like Alfredo sauce.  It's very easy to make.  Just be sure to use a whisk.

Add sauteed mushrooms and spinach.

And some Bechamel sauce.

Place it in a baking dish,

and top with buttered breadcrumbs.

Bake for about 30 minutes, and enjoy!

Spinach Tortellini Casserole
Serves 4 
1 (10 ounce) package cheese-filled tortellini
1/4 cup butter
2 teaspoons onion powder
1.25 cups sliced mushrooms (I used Baby Bella mushrooms)
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 large handfuls fresh spinach

Breadcrumb Topping
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 cup Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs), or another variety of unseasoned breadcrumbs

Bechamel Sauce
2.5 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
3/4 teaspoon salt

Cook tortellini according to package directions.  Remove them from the water (with a slotted spoon) as soon as they float to the surface.  You'll be baking them later; if they cook too long now they really begin to fall apart.

In a medium skillet, melt 1/4 cup of butter.  Mix in the onion powder and the mushrooms.  Saute (over medium-high heat) until mushrooms begin to brown, about 5 minutes.  Add in the fresh spinach and saute until it's wilted.  Season to taste with the pepper.  Remove skillet from heat and set aside. 

To prepare the Bechamel sauce, melt the butter in a large saucepan.  When it's completely melted and bubbling, sprinkle in the flour.  Whisk slowly to fully mix the two ingredients together until smooth.  Cook over medium heat until the mixture becomes very light brown in color.  (You have to stir almost constantly to avoid having it burn.)  This will take 6-7 minutes.   While the butter/flour mixture is cooking, heat the milk in a separate saucepan until it's scalded (when it's steamy but just this side of boiling).  Add hot milk to the flour mixture slowly, whisking constantly.  Cook for about 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened, whisking constantly.   Add salt, stir well, and remove from heat.  

In a large bowl, gently mix together the tortellini, spinach/mushroom mixture, and the Bechamel sauce.  Transfer mixture to a 8x8 baking dish that has been greased with baking spray or butter.

Combine the melted butter and the panko.  Sprinkle over the top of the casserole.  

Cover dish with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake for 5 minutes more, until the breadcrumbs are browned. 

Bechamel Sauce recipe adapted from here.


Caneel said...

This looks delicious! I miss tortellini - love that stuff! I will make it myself one day. Maybe. Or perhaps I'll just stick with making GF ravioli, which seems a little less time consuming, and make this recipe with that. :)

Joe Guzman said...

Greaat blog post