Make Ahead

Cheesy Tortelleni Ricotta Spinach Bake with Herby Breadcrumbs

August 31, 2016
3 Ratings
Photo by Leith Devine
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

This is an easy weeknight recipe that my entire family enjoys. I use ground beef in the tomato sauce, but it can be replaced with ground turkey or omitted completely for a vegetarian meal. I've included a recipe for quick tomato sauce, but use your favorite jarred brand for even quicker meal prep. —Leith Devine

What You'll Need
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 28 ounces can of good tomatoes, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste from a tube
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 32 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 8 ounces bag spinach, prewashed
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup asiago or parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian herbs
  • salt and pepper to taste.
  • 1 family sized package fresh cheese tortellini
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon dried italian herbs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  1. Brown ground beef until cooked, breaking up into small pieces. Remove from pan.
  2. Saute the chopped onion in olive oil until softened. Add garlic and cook briefly. Add the can of chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaf, crushed red pepper, sugar and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until tomatoes are reduced and sauce thickens.
  3. Add the cooked ground beef to the tomato sauce. Add 3 tablespoons of the ricotta cheese and stir until combined. Add the fresh spinach and cook until wilted.
  4. Mix the remainder of the ricotta cheese with the egg, asiago cheese, dried Italian herbs, and salt and pepper.
  5. In a deep casserole pan, put down some of the sauce on the bottom. Add a layer of tortellini, then add dollops of the ricotta mixture. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese.
  6. Keep layering sauce, tortellini and cheese until casserole is full. Sauce should be the last layer.
  7. Combine panko breadcrumbs, dried Italian herbs, salt and pepper. Add butter and mix until combined.
  8. Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top of the casserole. Bake at 350 degrees until sauce is bubbly and breadcrumbs are browned.
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