Recipe of the Day: Day 3 – Creamy Lemon Tortellini Bake

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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Hey, it’s day 3, and to celebrate, why not have a recipe that I’ve actually made? That’s right – I made this Creamy Lemon Tortellini Bake the week before Thanksgiving, and it was excellent! I cooked this for a vegetarian friend, so I (sadly) omitted the bacon, and added mushrooms. I actually couldn’t find the dried tortellini, even after traipsing all around Lake Forest, so I subbed frozen cheese ravioli. The end result was delicious, and the sauce could easily be made on its own with another pasta dish. The lemon is subtle, but noticeable. Overall, I really liked this one, and I already have all the ingredients on hand to make it again.

The blog where this recipe is from is Emily Bites, and she has tons of recipes that are all Weight Watchers-friendly. This recipe has 9 Points Pluses per serving.

Creamy Lemon Tortellini Bake

Creamy Lemon Tortellini Bake from Emily Bites

Creamy Lemon Tortellini Bake:

12 oz package of dry Cheese & Spinach Tortellini (I used Barilla – find in the dry pasta aisle)
2 slices center cut bacon
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 T flour
2 c skim milk
¾ t salt
1/8 t black pepper
1 ½ t dried basil
¼ t crushed red pepper flakes
1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 t lemon zest
2 c fresh spinach, loose, not packed
1 ½ oz Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
2/3 c reduced fat 2% shredded Mozzarella cheese, divided

1.    Pre-heat the oven to 350. Lightly coat an 8×8 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
2.    Cook the tortellini in a large pot according to package directions.
3.    Meanwhile, place bacon in a sauté pan or large skillet and bring over medium-high heat. Cook for 7-9 minutes until crisp. Remove bacon from the pan and place on paper towels to dry. Leave one tablespoon of bacon grease in the pan (if you have less than that like I did you may want to add a little butter to make up the difference. I counted one tablespoon of bacon grease in the recipe builder. If you want to make this vegetarian then just skip the bacon altogether and use butter). Add the garlic to the bacon grease and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add flour to the pan and whisk into grease. Add the milk slowly and continue to whisk until combined. Add the salt, pepper, basil and red pepper flakes and stir. Bring sauce to a simmer.
4.    Once sauce is simmering, add lemon juice and lemon zest to sauce. Stir until thickened, 2-3 minutes and remove from heat.
5.    Drain the tortellini and place back into the pot. Crumble the bacon and set aside. Add the spinach along with most of the Parmesan and the Mozzarella (reserve some of each to sprinkle on top). Add the sauce and stir everything together to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle the remaining Parmesan, Mozzarella and bacon over the top.
6.    Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake uncovered for 5-10 more minutes.

Creamy Lemon Tortellini Bake

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