Monday, January 10, 2011

Baked Tortellini with Bacon

I love pasta.  There.  I said it.  But, to be honest, I really don't make it often.  It's kind of like rice -- I am just too lazy.  I really am.  I'm too lazy to boil the water, leaving the pasta to bubble away for 9-11 minutes.  I'm too lazy to clean another pot after I've cooked an entire meal and just want to lazy around with the family.  I'm lazy.
But this dish is worth making.  First off, it requires the use of a fresh tortellini, which hardly takes any time at all to cook up.  Secondly, you end up cooking the pasta in the same pot that you made the sauce in, so it doesn't create any new mess or pots and pans to clean.  (Okay, so I clearly hate doing dishes, have I made that clear?).
And by the way -- this is an easy and delicious meal, perfect for a weeknight meal!

You basically make a white sauce, toss in the tortellini and let it bubble away, then broil for a few minutes to make a cheesy, crusty topping.  Voila!  It's really delicious!  I know it's no gourmet meal, but my husband and I really did enjoy it, and I will probably be making it again.  The servings are on the small side, but it is a pretty rich dish, so you really don't need to eat a huge amount of it.  The creamy cheese sauce with the soft, gently cooked pasta and cheesy topping is perfectly accented by the smoky bacon bits dispersed throughout.  You should definitely give this dish a shot.  It is definitely worth the minimal effort you put into it.  Enjoy the deliciousness!

Baked Tortellini with Bacon
4 slices bacon, but into 1/2-inch pieces (I used applewood smoked, it's what I had on hand)
1 onion, medium-diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon flour
2 cups milk
2 packages (8.8 ounces each) cheese tortellini
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat broiler, with rack in top position.  In a medium saucepan, cook bacon over medium heat until brown and crisped, about 10 minutes.  Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain.  Add onion and garlic to pan, seasoning with salt and pepper (go easy on the salt -- the bacon adds plenty to the recipe on it's own).  Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, about 8 minutes.  Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds.
Slowly add milk while whisking.  Add tortellini and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.  Reduce to a simmer, and cook, stirring often, until mixture is thickened, about 4 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in bacon and 1/4 cup Parmesan.  Transfer to a 2-quart baking dish lightly sprayed with cooking spray.  Top with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan and broil for 5 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.
Adapted from Martha Stewart

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