Monday, July 24, 2017

Joey's Cheesy Tortellini and Veggie Bake

  One of my favorite things about summer is the huge bounty of fresh vegetables that comes with the season. Since I live in the Garden State, I have access to some of the best fruits and veggies you'll ever taste, so I'm all about adding them to my cooking. Sometimes I'll even just steam a variety of fresh veggies and there's dinner! But then sometimes I chop them up and add them to a delicious casserole like this one!
 I was kind of in a pasta mood, but wanted something a little different. So I decided to toss some tortellini in a creamy cheese sauce, add a few veggies, and here we are! It was SO fresh and delicious I couldn't stop eating it! I'm not even kidding. It's creamy and cheesy, but it's not as heavy as you might think because I used broth instead of cream. And the fresh herbs give it a brightness that works perfectly. And yes, I know there's a lot of chopping involved, but it really doesn't take very long.  And once you get everything chopped, that's half the battle! The final product is definitely worth it!
 So keep this dish in mind the next time you go to your produce stand or farmer's market. Look and see what is the freshest. Choose whatever veggies look the best. Use as many as you like! It will all work and I promise you'll love it!

1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1 medium zucchini, roughly chopped
1 medium yellow squash, roughly chopped
1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
8 oz grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbs flour
1 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
8 oz cream cheese, cubed
1 lb tortellini
handful of fresh basil and/or parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 350ºF.
Place a large skillet over medium heat. Add a few glugs of oil, and saute onions, zucchini, squash, and peppers. Season with salt and pepper. You don't need to brown them, you just want to soften them and let some of the moisture evaporate from them. Remove veggies from pan to a large bowl. In the same pan, add a few more glugs of oil. Saute mushrooms, tomatoes, and garlic until they soften up a bit. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with flour, and continue to stir and saute for another minute or two. Add broth and cream cheese. Stir until cream cheese melts and combines smoothly with the broth. Adjust seasoning if needed. Add sauce to veggie bowl along with basil and tortellini. (no need to boil the tortellini, it will cook in the sauce). Toss all to coat with sauce. Pour into a 9x13 casserole dish. Top first with mozzarella and then Parmesan cheese. Bake uncovered for about 30-40 minutes, or until bubbly.

Be sure to season everything as you go! Adding a little salt at the end is just not gonna cut it.
Not a fan of summer squash? Use whatever veggies you like! Broccoli, carrots, peas, it will all work!

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