If you love crispy and cheesy baked pasta, you’re going to love this baked tortellini recipe!
It’s a rich and flavorful casserole of tortellini with stringy mozzarella cheese and a delicious tomato sauce.
The recipe is very tasty, a different way to cook tortellini. In Italy, we usually cook tortellini in meat broth. Tortellini in brodo is a must for Christmas family meals and in general for the cold season.
However, the versions of tortellini with Bolognese sauce or with cream and peas (or mushrooms) are among the most popular and appreciated.
The recipe for tortellini bake is easy to make and also very convenient, a bit like Gnocchi alla Sorrentina! In fact, you can make this cheesy baked tortellini casserole ahead of time and bake it just half an hour before serving!
This is also a great way to use leftover tortellini in broth: already cooked in a flavorful broth, seasoned, and put in the oven to gratin. Yum!
Tortellini bake is perfect for Sunday or holiday dinners with friends and family. So here you are all the steps and tips to make the best baked tortellini casserole of your life!
- Prep Time: 15 Min
- Cook Time: 35 Min
- Servings: 4-6
PLEASE NOTE: For the amount of tortellini shown below, I used a 25 cm (9-10 inch) square baking dish.
- 400 g (14 oz) of tortellini. Try these Tortellini di Valeggio or make them at home with our recipe for Homemade Tortellini.
- 300 g (1 1/4 cups) of tomato passata. We recommend Italian Passata by La Bella San Marzano. Or make homemade tomato passata with our recipe.
- 3 tablespoons of cooking cream
- 120 g (4 oz) of mozzarella
- 60 g (3/4 cup) of grated Parmigiano Reggiano. Try this Italian Parmigiano Reggiano DOP 36 Months
- 5-6 leaves of fresh basil
- salt and pepper to taste
Baked Tortellini Recipe: Directions
Step 1) – First cook the tortellini in plenty of lightly salted water. Drain with a slotted spoon, place in a bowl and season with a tablespoon of oil to prevent them from sticking together. Toss and set aside.
COOKING TIME FOR TORTELLINI: The cooking time for tortellini depends on the thickness of the dough. In general, however, the cooking time for fresh homemade tortellini is very short, about 3-5 minutes. If you are using packaged tortellini, follow the directions on the package.
Step 2) – Dice the mozzarella. If the mozzarella is too watery, drain as much of the liquid as possible. I chose pizza mozzarella, which does not release liquid.
Get a baking dish that can comfortably hold the tortellini in a single layer so that they do not overlap (too much). Pour 3 tablespoons of cream in the bottom of the dish. Then add the tortellini and stir.
MOZZARELLA SUBSTITUTE: If you don’t have mozzarella, any cheese will do as long as it melts well with heat and is stringy. I recommend scamorza or provola, not very aged (to stay in the Italian tradition 😉 ).
Step 3) – Add the tomato sauce, season with salt and add a grind of black pepper. Stir then add the diced mozzarella.
Step 4) – Finish with a sprinkling of grated Parmigiano and a few fresh basil leaves.
Step 5) – Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C (356°F) for 20 minutes, until the cheese is completely melted and a light crust has formed on top.
Remove the dish from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Your Baked Tortellini are done. Buon appetito!
You can store baked tortellini for a couple of days in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap.
You will then need to reheat them in the oven or pan for a few minutes so that the cheese melts again.
Make-ahead Baked Tortellini
You can also make baked tortellini 1 or 2 days ahead. Follow the recipe above. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and store in the coldest part of the refrigerator until ready to bake.
Cook according to the recipe instructions (step 5).
If the ingredients are fresh, you can freeze. Prepare the tortellini casserole as for the recipe. Then seal it tightly with foil. Keep in the freezer till 1 month.
When it’s time to bake, leave the pan at room temperature for an hour or so. Then bake in a preheated oven.
Obviously the baking time will be higher because the dish is still frozen, 3/4 hour to an hour.
Baked Tortelli: Variations and Tips
It’s possible to make many variations of baked Tortellini. You can create flavor combinations between the tortellini filling and the sauce used to season them. The possibilities are endless and all very tasty.
I topped the traditional meat-filled tortellini with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. The idea is not to make the dish too heavy, since the tortellini filling is meat-based.
However, a meat sauce is also often used for this preparation. Usually Bolognese sauce.
You can choose the filling and seasoning you prefer. The important thing is that there is harmony between the two components and that the flavors go well together.
Baked Tortellini with Bechamel Sauce
For an even creamier and heartier dish, add a few tablespoons of bechamel sauce to the dressing or on top of the tortellini before baking.
Baked Tortellini with White Sauce
If you do not like tomato sauce, you can use a sauce that does not contain tomato. For example, white Bolognese sauce.
Or simply add ground meat or sausage to a pan with oil and a clove of garlic.
Then add vegetables, such as mushrooms or steamed peas. Sprinkle the tortellini with the sauce and top with béchamel sauce, mozzarella and some grated Parmigiano.
Or skip the meat and just use the béchamel and cheese. The result will be spectacular!
Baked Tortellini with Ricotta and Spinach
If you prefer ricotta and spinach tortellini instead of the classic meat tortellini, you can use them for this recipe.
In this case, a sauce made with sage, butter, béchamel and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese will do the trick. You will get a truly exceptional baked tortellini.