Cozy Cheese Tortellini... baked!
I've been majorly sick lately. Swine flu? Likely. (Kidding mom, it's just a really bad cold). When I'm sick I always crave pasta. Since John wanted to know how to make a baked pasta dish with some meat in it...(btw, what's with all the guys and meat? Holy carnivores batman)... this seemed like the perfect opportunity!
Bonus: I made this dish for around 4 servings. Aka I get to eat this 4 times this week. What's the awesome part you ask? I only used... ONE sausage and ONE small pack of tortellini. Pinching pennies? Try this out.
Here's the cast of characters.... missing a couple that I threw in randomly later.
- 1 small package of cheese tortellini (or really, any pasta you have on hand will do!)
- 1 sweet italian sausage
- about 1 cup of marinara sauce
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese (would be splendid with marscapone too)
- 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup shaved/grated/whatever parmigiana cheese. You can even use the cardboard Kraft stuff in the green container, see if I care.
Stuff I added because I can:
- 1/2 onion
- 1/4 green pepper
- 10 basil leaves
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- salt and pepper
- small splash of cream
If you add these extras... your life will be the better for it, trust me.
Ok! Let's get crackin'
First things first, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Put a pot of water on the stove on high to boil. Add some salt.
Heat up a large skillet on medium low with a splash of oil in it.
Alrighty! Take your sausage and cut a slit down the center of it, like so.
Looks so gross. Tastes so delicious.
Remove the clear casing from around the sausage, and plunk the sausage into your skillet to brown. Break it up a bit. I leave them in decent sized chunks 'cause I like to pick them out and eat them first. :)
Then, finely dice an onion. No idea how to do it? Let me show you!
First, cut off a piece of the onion, going from tip to root. Cut that piece from top to bottom, in several vertical strips. Leave a bit at the top so it doesnt fall apart on you... like so!
Then, tip your knife and halve it, leaving a bit at the top again... like this...
Then turn your knife up again, and chop down, perpindicular to the vertical cuts you made in the first chop. Check it out, you're dicing, man!
Throw it into the pan and give it a stir.
Next, I chopped up a bit of pepper into match sticks, and then turned my knife just like I did with the onion, and I showed that pepper who's boss.
In my power trip moment, I forgot to take a picture of the final dice.... but I did throw the peppers into the pan!
Onions, peppers, and sausage. It was a natural choice to add the veggies.
Then, I added 1 cup of marinara sauce to the skillet!
At this point, the water in my pot was starting to get bubbly, so I tossed in the tortellini. You'll want to under cook your pasta a bit since we'll be baking it later, that way it doesn't turn all mushy and it'll absorb some of the sauce. That's called love, kids. Moral of the story: Instead of the full 7 - 10 minutes, I only let it boil for around 5.
Back to the sauce. This dish is all about the sauce. And the tortellini. And the cheese. But mostly the sauce.
Speaking of cheese, dump in your spoonful of ricotta to the hot sauce.
Mix it in and let it melt down a tad.
Oh hello there, beautiful. At this point I added some oregano, salt and pepper, and a slash of cream because I was feeling rebellious.
Ok! Now dump your drained tortellini into the scrumptious sinful sauce, and give it a good mix.
More dumping. Dump into an 8 x 8 pan, and spread it around so it's even.
Now, my favorite part. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of mozzarella over the top...
Then some parmesean... I had a big hunk of it so I just took my vegetable peeler and put a layer on the top.
Now... toss it into the oven for 15 - 20 minutes, until it gets all bubbly and browned on top. It's kind of fail proof.
While it's baking you can...
-Whip up a caesar salad!
- Chiffonade some basil for the top!
-Realize you really need a manicure! Look at that poor thumb nail.
- Keep up the chiffonade anyway!
- Admire your cute new basil plant!
- Try not to kill your new basil plant!
Look how productive I was. While all that was happening... this was happening in the oven.
SERIOUS DELCIOUSNESS ALERT.
This is one of my new favorites, I'll just throw it out there. It hit the spot times four billion.
Enjoy it with your favorite wine. Or if you're me...
Your favorite glass of milk. Ha! I figured the drinking gods would forgive me for one night off. I really had a rough day. This may have cured me though. Sigh. I can't wait for lunch tomorrow so I can eat it again.