Monday, March 16, 2009

Baked Tortellini….for a Crowd?

When I have the family over for an event (and I mean the in-laws, not MY family), it isn’t always easy to come up with a meal to serve them. Although my husband is the worst, they are still a fairly picky punch of eaters, so instead of making something I would consider fun or tasty, I cater to their tastes.
This Saturday was Little Man’s fourth birthday and we had the party at our house. Since the apple never falls far from the tree, he is a little picky eater, himself. SO, what is always a winner with picky eaters? Pasta. Dripping with sauce and cheese, of course, and garlic bread. Naturally, since we had people over, Little Man had to make me look like “mother of the year” by refusing to eat anything but garlic bread and the frosting from his cake, but what the hell. I’m use to it!

Something else that is always difficult for me is determining how much food to make for the occasion. I mean, I need enough for everyone, plus second helpings if they like it, plus a plate to take to Grandpa later, plus leftovers for the hubs to take to work for lunch on Monday. In this case, I made 2 9x13 pans of pasta and two full loaves of garlic bread. Everyone loved the pasta, except for my husband, who complained that the sauce tasted “different”, meaning it wasn’t exactly the same as the one time in his life where he actually liked pasta sauce, and complained that the cream I put in it made it “tangy”. WTF? Can you say “looking for excuses to complain?” Yeah, I knew you could.
So, needless to say, he won’t be eating any of the leftovers. In the end, I still have a full pan leftover, although I haven’t made a plate for Grandpa yet. I’ll do that later today. Suffice it to say, my co-workers won’t need to buy lunch today. For this post, I’m going to give you half the recipe, enough for one pan of pasta.

Baked Tortellini
1 bag of meat filled tortellini
1 bag of cheese filled tortellini
1 LARGE jar of your favorite pasta sauce (in this case, Ragu Parmesan Romano, because its what the family will eat), not sure how many ounces that is, but it’s the big plastic jar with the indents to make it easier to hold onto. Not the giant, Duggar-family size jar, but bigger than the regular one. Runs about $3.67 at Walmart)
½ cup heavy cream
2 cups shredded mozzarella

Boil water in a large stock pot and cook the tortellini just until they float to the surface. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, warm the pasta sauce gently, and stir in the cream, making a nice “pink” sauce. When the pasta is done cooking, drain it and add it into the sauce. Pour the mixture into a 9x13 pan. Top with the shredded mozzarella. Cover the pan with foil and bake 20 minutes or until nice and bubbly. (Or, in this case, until the family arrives.)
**NOTE: If you have ever made anything baked with cheese on top and growled at your oven when you peel the foil back and most of the cheese comes off with it, you will love this. Reynolds Release Foil. I am usually skeptical about new products like this, but a while back I bought a 3-pack of foil, and didn’t notice until I got home that one of the rolls was the new “Release” foil. It has a "dull" side that is supposedly "non-stick". I decided to give it a try on this dish. Lo and behold! The cheese did not stick to the foil. Not even a little bit. And yes, it was touching the foil. I am impressed enough that I’ll use it again.

I served this with a huge pile of garlic bread and a nice tossed salad, but try explaining why you’re taking pictures of your food to a family that doesn’t understand blogging….so, I snapped a couple of quick shots of the pasta and that’s about it. Enjoy!


Pam said...

Sounds yummy! Thanks for your entry!

Bev said...

Love your reference to "Duggar-family size"...that's a phrase that will surely be used now by many who watch that (I'm searching for an adjective here that describes my own fascination with them, to no avail...teehee) show. Thanks for the tip on the foil; it's always frustrating to have much of the cheese stuck to it.

n.o.e said...

My word that looks good - that melted cheese is the STUFF!! I'm not picky - I'd love a pan of that pasta, so I'll be right over.

Joanne said...

I know what you mean about trying to cook for picky family is full of them and its tough! This looks like a tried-and-true crowd pleaser though.