Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Spinach and Artichoke Tortellini Bake

Eric and I consider ourselves connoisseurs of spinach and artichoke dip.  I know, I know ... We're fancy.

In all seriousness, though, we order this as an appetizer at nearly every restaurant we visit.  We obviously don't order it if it's not on the menu, and there are those occasions when we want to try something different (or skip an appetizer altogether) ... But generally speaking, this is the first thing we order when we go out.

Our favorite spinach and artichoke dip (yes, we actually both agree on a favorite) comes from an Irish pub in town called The Brazen Head.  It's thick and creamy and cheesy and served in a bread bowl.  The boxtys are delicious and they have some great beers available on tap, but sometimes I honestly just want to go there so I can get some dip.

Since we're huge fans of spinach and artichoke dip, I got really excited when I came across this recipe in the archives of one of my favorite food blogs.  I'm pretty sure I've skipped over this recipe in the past because, for whatever reason, I thought it was going to be extremely complicated.  It's really not.  Not at all.

This is one of the best meals I've made in a while!

Although it doesn't taste exactly like our favorite spinach and artichoke dip, it is extremely creamy and cheesy.  Oh, and delicious ... I can't forget to include that in my description!  If you're a huge fan of spinach and artichoke dip, you need to try this.  Trust me ... I'm a connoisseur!

Spinach and Artichoke Tortellini Bake

Adapted ever so slightly from a recipe on Taste and Tell.

Ingredient List:
  • 2 lbs refrigerated or frozen cheese tortellini
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 3 cloves garlic (or, if you're lazy like me, the equivalent of jarred, pre-minced garlic)
  • 2 cups milk (I used 1% milk, since that's what we usually have on hand)
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh spinach, chopped (you could also use a 10 oz. package of frozen chopped spinach, but I had a bunch of fresh spinach available since we bought a huge bag at Costco)
  • 1 13.75 oz. can quartered artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp Mrs. Dash Italian Medley
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp white wine
  • 1 1/3 cups Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded


1.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

2.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

3.  Melt the butter in a large skillet.  Add the garlic and cook for about 30-60 seconds, or until fragrant.

4.  Whisk in the flour, and cook for approximately 2 minutes.

5.  Slowly whisk in the milk, taking care to rid the mixture of any lumps.  Allow to cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the sauce thickens.

6.  Meanwhile, add the tortellini to the boiling water.  Cook according to package directions until al dente and drain.

7.  Once the sauce has thickened a bit, stir in the white wine.  Add the crushed red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, Mrs. Dash Italian Medley, sea salt, and black pepper, stirring to combine.

8.  Stir in the fresh spinach, allowing it to cook and wilt into the sauce.  Add the quartered artichoke hearts and 1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese, stirring until everything is well combined and the cheese has melted.

9.  Spray a 9x13 inch pan with cooking spray, and add the drained tortellini to the pan.  Pour the sauce over the tortellini and stir until the pasta is evenly coated.  Sprinkle the mozzarella and remaining Parmesan cheese over the entire dish.

10.  Bake the pasta for 10 minutes, or until the cheese has completely melted.

11.  Switch the oven to broil (I used the low broil setting) and allow the dish to cook for an additional 2 minutes, or until the cheese begins to brown a bit.

Doesn't this picture make you want to try this immediately?  It should!

As you can see from the picture above, I served this with a simple green salad.  I also highly recommend having a glass (or more!) of white wine with this meal.  I had my favorite (Reisling), and it really complimented the flavors of the dish.


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