Sometimes I crave a savory casserole, but want something easy and fast. Enter easy tortellini casserole for a family-friendly and super simple dinner. Make it with fresh or frozen tortellini (or ravioli) and mix in your favorite greens, mild Italian sausage and marinara sauce.
If you’re vegetarian, ditch the sausage and substitute chopped porcini and cremini mushrooms. Sauté them first with garlic, butter and a pinch of red pepper flakes. If you’re gluten-free, use frozen gluten-free tortellini. If you’re dairy-free, make this with Cappello’s gluten-free and grain-free gnocchi and omit the cheese topping.
Easy tortellini casserole can be prepared ahead of time and frozen for an emergency dinner down the road. Make the casserole on the weekend and bake it off a couple nights later during a busy week. Either way, it’s super fast, super satisfying and super delicious.
Easy Tortellini Casserole
Yield 6 servings
When you're craving lasagna but have only 15 minutes to spare for dinner prep, this is the answer. Keep your freezer stocked with frozen tortellini and a jar of Rao's marinara in your pantry and you can make a variation of this recipe whenever you're in the mood.
- 1 1/2 pounds cheese tortellini (frozen or *fresh)
- 1/2 pound mild Italian sausage (I prefer to buy bulk Italian sausage from the butcher.)
- 2 cups packed fresh spinach, Swiss card or kale (center ribs removed) or 1/2 cup frozen spinach
- 1 25-ounce jar Rao's Marinara
- 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes and their juices
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- Red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- Fresh basil, cut in a chiffonade, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Fill a large pot with water and a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Once the water boils, add the tortellini and cook about 1 1/2 minutes. The pasta will continue to cook in the oven, so you want it to be al dente. *If you are using fresh cheese tortellini there is so need to boil it or cook it in advance.
- In a medium sauté pan over medium heat, cook the Italian sausage and break it up into small pieces. Once it's lost its raw red color, add the greens and cook it until they wilt.
- Add the marinara sauce and the chopped tomatoes and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning and add 1/4 teaspoon of salt, fresh ground pepper or red pepper flakes if needed.
- Spread 1/2 cup sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 casserole pan. Add the drained tortellini and top with the remaining sauce. Stir the casserole a bit to get sauce distributed throughout the casserole. (You can also layer half the tortellini and half the sauce, but I find it easier and more efficient to just add it all at one time.) Make sure sauce is covering the top layer of tortellini; if not, push the tortellini down into the casserole otherwise the edges of the pasta will be crispy.
- Top with the mozzarella and the parmesan and bake at 400 degrees in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes.
- Sprinkle with a chiffonade of fresh basil and serve with extra Parmesan on the side.