Tortellini Spinach & Bacon Bake

INGREDIENTS:

Cheese tortellini (I use the 20 oz. Buitoni brand)

6-8 bacon slices

1 T unsalted butter

2-3 fresh garlic cloves, chopped

2 T flour

2 cups whole milk

S&P

1 1/2 tsp. dry basil

A pinch (a small pinch!) of red pepper flakes

Zest of 1/2 a lemon

1 T fresh lemon juice

1/2 bag of fresh spinach

3/4 cups grated Parmesan

3/4 cups shredded mozzarella

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Boil water and cook the fresh pasta, 3-4 minutes. Drain and pour back into the pot.

In a large skillet, heat 1 T butter and add the bacon. Cook to your liking, chop, and set aside.

Keep 2 T of the bacon drippings in the pan and discard the rest.

Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Over medium heat, add the flour and make a roux. Add the milk, 1/2 a cup at a time. Stir.

Up the heat to medium-high and add the S&P, basil, lemon zest, lemon juice, red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer and let it thicken.

Pour the sauce over the pasta and add 1/2 cup of Parm and 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheeses. Add the spinach (I like the leaves whole) and 1/2 of the bacon bits. Stir gently.

Pour the pasta into a baking dish. Top with remaining 1/4 cup of Parm and 1/4 cup of the mozzarella cheeses. Finish it off with the rest of the bacon.

Cover with foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 5-10 minutes or until all of the cheese has melted.

Original recipe here.