Cheesy baked tortellini – tender tortellini tossed with homemade cheese sauce and baked to cheesy gooey perfection. A hearty and delicious dinner!
To tell you the truth, this recipe happened pretty much by accident. A few years ago, my sister in law had just given birth to my adorable baby nephew, and I volunteered to bring the new little family dinner. That night, I came home from work in a rush, trying frantically to think of something, anything, to bring to them, and found pretty slim pickings in my fridge and freezer. I managed to rummage up a package of frozen tortellini and some leftover cooked chicken, whipped up a quick cheese sauce, and threw it in the oven. I didn’t have time to even sneak a spoonful of the finished product to see if it was edible.
When I dropped it off at my brother and sister in law’s house, I was praying silently that it was palatable. A few hours later, I got a text from my brother begging for the recipe. My sister in law had liked it so much that she wanted him to make it for her again the next night! 🙂 I gave them the recipe (and an extra batch of this cheesy goodness to go in their freezer), and since then, it has been my go-to meal for bringing to new moms!
It’s simple and quick to put together, and the cheese sauce is to die for! I love that you get extra cheese from the tortellini, too. There’s no such thing as too much cheese, right? It’s hearty and filling, and pretty much guaranteed to please even the pickiest of eaters. This cheesy baked tortellini is comfort food at its best!
Another thing I love about this recipe is that it’s easy to freeze. I like to triple the recipe and freeze it in disposable baking pans. I make it all just the same, but save the bread crumbs in a separate baggie in the freezer so they don’t get soggy. When I’m ready to bake, I sprinkle the bread crumbs on top and stick it in the oven, covered, for about sixty minutes, then uncover it and bake it another 20-30 minutes. I’ve made this recipe countless times, and have always had rave reviews!
Cheesy Baked Tortellini
for the pasta:
- 1 package (19 ounces) frozen tortellini, cooked according to package directions
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 cups milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 cups chopped cooked chicken
- 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
for the topping:
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup regular bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350. Spray a 9 x 9 (or similar size) baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
- In a large skillet, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour, and cook 2-3 minutes, until golden brown and bubbling. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Let the sauce thicken slightly, then slowly whisk in the milk, a little at a time. Bring the mixture nearly to a simmer, and let thicken. Stir in the salt and pepper.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the sharp cheddar cheese and dijon mustard, until melted. Return to the heat and stir in the cooked chicken and cooked tortellini, until heated through. Pour into the prepared baking dish.
- In a small bowl, combine the melted butter, both kinds of bread crumbs, and the parmesan cheese. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the tortellini. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until the bread crumbs are golden brown and the sauce is bubbling.
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