Cheesy tortellini with bites of fresh spinach and yummy basil in a creamy sauce is our definition of an amazing meal!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Pasta for Dinner
When you cook pasta for dinner, there are a lot of different options. Dry pasta, fresh pasta and frozen pasta. No matter which type of pasta you decide to make for dinner, the golden rule is not to overcook it. This is especially important with tortellini! It will turn into a mushy mess if cooked too long. So what kind is best?
Dry Pasta: This is the type that is the most available and easiest to find at the grocery store. It can be stored for up to a year at your house, making it a convenient food to have on hand. It takes longer to cook dry pasta. Dry tortellini isn’t as easy to find as other types of dry pasta, but it does exist!
Fresh Pasta: This is usually found in the refrigerator section of the grocery store. Fresh pasta cooks really quickly – about half the time of dry pasta. You can store fresh pasta in your fridge for a few weeks. It is typically more expensive that dry pasta.
Frozen Pasta: This is fresh pasta has been flash-frozen to lock in the flavor. Frozen pasta takes about the same amount of time as dry pasta to cook.
Tortellini comes in dry, fresh and frozen at the store. Some of you may be over-achievers and want to make homemade tortellini for dinner. You should plan on spending a delightful afternoon making pasta – a very long delightful afternoon. For the rest of you, go ahead and buy it at the store and you will still have a delicious tortellini dinner.
This recipe calls for cheese tortellini. There are a lot of different types of tortellini stuffed with different things like sausage, veggies, herbs, and all sorts of seasonings. The typical cheeses used in tortellini are romano, ricotta, and parmesan. We love cheese tortellini because it feels a lot more substantial than just plain old pasta. Cheese is a good source of protein and so even though this recipe is meatless, there is still a good amount of protein from the cheese tortellini.
Health Benefits of Spinach
Spinach is a leafy green vegetable and is loaded with nutrients and antioxidants. The thing we love about spinach, is that of all the leafy green veggies, it is probably the most mild tasting. That is great news for kids because it makes it a lot easier to get them to try it and eat it again. Spinach is incredibly versatile. You can eat it fresh in a salad, blended in a smoothie, or cooked with cheese tortellini pasta!
We like to cut our spinach into very small pieces for a recipe like this because:
- It makes it easier for kids to chew.
- More likely for kids to eat a small piece of spinach with a cheese tortellini in each bite.
- Has a better texture.
Spinach is a good source of fiber, iron, B vitamins and Vitamin C. So many good things packed into those little leaves!
Creamy Tortellini with Spinach
- Cook tortellini as directed on package. Drain and rinse; set aside.
- In a large deep skillet, or a dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Mince garlic and add to hot oil; saute for 30 seconds. While whisking, add in flour and onion powder.
- Continue to whisk, cooking for 1 minute, then add milk. Cook until sauce becomes bubbly and thickened, stirring frequently.
- Add roughly chopped spinach, fresh chopped basil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Cook until spinach has wilted.
- Stir in grated Parmesan and tortellini. Cook 4-5 minutes to heat through.
I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.Learn More about Natalie