Cheesy Baked Tortellini with Optional Ground Beef

Ahh, comfort food. How I love you so. Even better when you’re easy. Wait, that sounded a little … lewd. Or maybe I’m the only one who is mentally 12 years of age and went there.

Let’s start again. Hey! Have I got a great recipe for you today! It’s total comfort food (hellooo pasta) and it’s easy (like, super simple to make).

Cheesy Baked Tortellini with Optional Ground Beef | kitchentreaty.com

This is what we’ve got here. Store-bought, cheese-filled tortellini, cooked and tossed in a nice little Italian tomato sauce or marinara. Which just happens to be amped up with a little creamy mascarpone, some thyme, and some parsley. Then we sprinkle a bit of cheese on top, and bake that sucker.

Melty, cheesy, tomatoey, easy comfort food.

And it’s a pretty easy one to customize for the meat-eaters, too. Just bake in two separate dishes. One gets the ground beef treatment, one doesn’t. Both good.

Cheesy Baked Tortellini with Optional Ground Beef | kitchentreaty.com

I like this a lot as an easy weeknight meal. If you’re making a veggie version and a meaty version, the amount of dishes gets a little annoying (a pot for the pasta, a pan for the meat, a bowl for the sauce …) but it still comes together lickety split … and it really is absolutely worth it.

Another option is to throw these together on Sunday night, then just seal ’em up, put ’em in the fridge, and pull them out on Monday or Tuesday night. Throw them in the oven (don’t really throw them, that would be bad) and, voila. Dinner’s on the table in 25 minutes for carnivores and vegetarians alike. Yay for happy multivore homes! (I totally just accidentally typed “hoes” instead of “homes.” And giggled uncontrollably. Because I’m 12.)

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Cheesy Baked Tortellini with Optional Ground Beef

This easy cheesy baked pasta dish comes together quickly and is super easy to customize for meat-eaters and vegetarians alike.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound refrigerated or frozen cheese tortellini
  • 2 cups [url href=”http://www.kitchentreaty.com/italian-tomato-sauce/”]Italian tomato sauce[/url] or marinara sauce
  • 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella (8 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • If adding ground beef to half:
  • 1/2 pound lean ground beef

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease one 8-inch by 8-inch baking dish or, if making a vegetarian version and a meaty version, grease two approximately 4-inch by 8-inch baking dishes.
  2. Cook the tortellini to al dente, according to package directions. Drain.
  3. Add the sauce to a large bowl and stir in the mascarpone cheese, parsley, and thyme.
  4. If NOT adding beef to half, gently toss the cooked tortellini with the sauce and pour into the 8-inch by 8-inch baking dish. Proceed to step 6.
  5. If adding ground beef to half, brown the ground beef and drain. Add about 1 1/2 cups of sauce to the beef and stir. Add just under half of the tortellini to the sauce with the beef and add the rest of the tortellini to the remaining sauce in the bowl. Toss both gently until coated. Pour meaty version into one 4-inch by 8-inch baking dish and the vegetarian version into another.
  6. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top(s).
  7. Bake until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese melts, 25 – 30 minutes. Serve.

Adapted from Food Network

// All images and text © for Kitchen Treaty.

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Karen Raye

Kare is a vegetarian home cook living among carnivores. She loves creating irresistible and flexible recipes that help multi-vore families like hers keep the peace - deliciously.