It’s March, guys! I’m so excited! The days get longer, college basketball gets amazing, and it’s Women’s
History Herstory Month, which means you should watch this at least once per day. Not kidding, this is my favorite thing on the whooooole Internet.
That’s all I have to say today, guys. Watch that. And if you want a really creamy, comforting, mostly-meatless dinner, make this tortellini.
Did you see what I did there?
CREAMY LEMON-SPINACH TORTELLINI BAKE (recipe from Emily Bites)
1 12-oz package dry spinach and cheese tortellini (found in dry pasta aisle, or end-aisle displays with prepared pesto, etc.)
2 slices bacon
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp flour
2 cups skim milk
salt and pepper to taste
1 and 1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, or more to taste
juice of one lemon (adjust based on your lemon preference — I only used half the juice)
2 tsp lemon zest
2 cups fresh spinach, loose, not packed
2 oz Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
2/3 cup part-skim Mozzarella cheese, grated and divided
1. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly coat 8×8 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
2. Cook tortellini according to package directions; set aside.
3. Meanwhile, heat medium skillet over medium-high heat. Cook bacon 7-9 minutes, or until crisp. Remove bacon from the pan and place on paper towels to dry. Leave one tbsp bacon grease in pan (if you have less than that, add a little butter to make up the difference). Add garlic to bacon grease and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add flour and whisk into grease. Add milk slowly and continue to whisk until combined. Add salt, pepper, basil and red pepper flakes; stir. Bring sauce to a simmer.
4. Once sauce is simmering, add lemon juice and lemon zest. Stir until thickened, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
5. Drain tortellini and return to pot. Crumble bacon and add to pot with tortellini. Add spinach along with most of the Parmesan and Mozzarella (reserve some of each to sprinkle on top). Add sauce and stir everything together to combine. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish and sprinkle remaining Parmesan and Mozzarella over top.
6. Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake 20 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake uncovered for 5-10 more minutes.
This was creamy and delicious — and you could easily make it vegetarian by omitting the bacon and using butter instead of bacon grease. The lemon flavor was subtle in mine, since I just used 1/2 a lemon’s worth of juice, but you can adjust that based on how lemony you like things.