A couple weeks ago we welcomed another nephew into the family and I had the pleasure of watching my older nephew for the weekend. The day my sister-in-law returned home from the hospital I decided to make them an easy dinner they could just throw in the oven when they were ready. I made a pasta dish from memory and when my sister-in-law requested the recipe I realized my memory wasn’t all that great and not only was I off on several ingredients, but I had actually combined a couple different recipes. Fortunately they liked it and I had a good new recipe on my hands. I have since thought about it some more and played around in my kitchen this weekend to come up with this tortellini bake loaded with lots of fresh vegetables. Turned out to be a great warm & comforting meal on a cool damp fall evening.
5 cups tomato sauce (use your favorite jar sauce or homemade recipe)
2 lbs cheese tortellini
1 lb ground turkey
6 oz fresh spinach leaves
3 peppers (1 red, 1 yellow, 1 green) chopped
1 ½ cups sliced zucchini
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup matchstix carrots
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp. olive oil
Fresh grated parmesan cheese
Ground salt & black pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and lightly coat 9X13 pan with a 1/2 tsp olive oil or olive oil spray.
2. In a large pan, heat 1 tsp olive oil, add 2 cloves minced garlic and cook about 2 minutes over med heat. Add in 6 oz. spinach leaves and cook until the leaves are wilted down. Remove from stove top and place the spinach on a plate off to the side.
3. Using same pan, cook ground turkey on high heat until it browns and cooks through (about 6-8 minutes).
4. Put chopped peppers in a microwave safe bowl and add 3 tablespoons water. Steam in microwave on high for about 3-4 minutes to soften peppers. Remove and drain water.
5. Coat baking pan with about 1/2 cup sauce and top with cooked or refrigerated tortellini. Top tortellini with 1 1/2 cup of sauce. Add ground turkey and top with another cup of sauce. Layer vegetables starting with the spinach (leave a little spinach off to the side), zucchini, mushrooms, peppers and carrots. Add a little ground salt & pepper to taste. Cover vegetables with remaining sauce and top with the remaining spinach.
7. Cover pan loosely with foil and bake for 60 minutes, removing foil for the last 20 minutes.
8. Serve warm with a little freshly grated parmesan cheese on top.
Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Total Time: 80 minutes