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Cheese Tortellini With a Creamy Tomato and Spinach Sauce

Tortellini With Creamy Tomato Sauce-1-15Recently, we spent a lot of time with our families, because one weekend my baby sister got married and the next weekend Sergi’s baby sister got married. It was wonderful to have a chance to reunite with family members, spend time together and celebrate some awesome events. Happy moments are always multiplied many times over if they are shared with loved ones.

Of course, it doesn’t always work out to have vacation while you have visitors, even though that would be so much better, so I had to get my creative juices flowing to come up with tasty dishes that would be enjoyed by a crowd, not too hard to make and taste delicious too. Besides, when there is family around, there are more important things to do than spend hours in the kitchen, like watching “Frozen” with my nieces, going to the park to grill, swimming at the beach, shopping and just lots of hours spent catching up.

This dish was a huge success. It seems that everyone loves cheesy pasta dishes in my family and with a creamy tomato sauce and spinach, it was completely devoured with lots of praise. Everyone agreed that I just had to recreate it and post it on the blog:).

The creamy, cheesy tortellini is a great option for easy dinners, and the sauce tastes so fresh and vibrant. If you are lucky enough to have an abundance of fresh tomatoes, use those instead of canned tomatoes, but since I don’t, I had to accept and embrace my limitations and the results were superb. The fresh spinach and herbs always elevate any dish that they are used in and a splash of cream makes any sauce so much better. This is also an awesome meal to make on busy family weeknights, and now that school is in full swing, I’m sure many of you can appreciate a simple recipe. 

Ingredients:

12 oz. tortellini (you can use any kind, I used cheese)

1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4-1/2 cup vodka, optional

14.5 oz canned diced tomatoes, with the juice (you can use half of another can, if you like to have more sauce)

2 – 2 1/2 cups baby spinach, packed

1/3 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated

fresh herbs: parsley, basil, oregano, thyme, etc.

salt, pepper

Instructions:

Tortellini With Creamy Tomato Sauce-1Bring a large pot of water to a boil. This is another recipe that takes as much time as it takes a pot of water to boil, as long as your prep your ingredients ahead of time. Awesome!

While you are waiting for the water to boil, heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper and cook for about 5 minutes, until the onions are tender and slightly golden. Tortellini With Creamy Tomato Sauce-1-2Add the garlic to the center of the pan, and cook for another 30 seconds or so. If you want the sauce to have a bit of heat, add some red pepper flakes at this point too. Tortellini With Creamy Tomato Sauce-1-3Deglaze the skillet with the vodka, scraping to get all the brown bits off the bottom of the skillet.

If you would prefer not to use the vodka, simply omit it from the recipe. You do not need to substitute anything for it.

Since I know some of you will ask, here’s why I use vodka in sauces: The vodka will bring out the tomato flavor even more and give the sauce some zing and lots of great flavor. It really makes the sauce smooth and increases the natural sugars in the tomatoes. It adds lots of flavor to the sauce, but will not taste “boozy”, as long as you don’t use too much of it and let it reduce, allowing most of the alcohol to evaporate. The alcohol level should not be more than 1-2% once the sauce is cooked.Tortellini With Creamy Tomato Sauce-1-4Cook on high heat until the vodka has reduced and there is barely any of the liquid left in the skillet. Tortellini With Creamy Tomato Sauce-1-5Add the tomatoes to the skillet, season with salt and pepper, reduce the heat to low and cook for about 5-7 minutes. Tortellini With Creamy Tomato Sauce-1-6

Tortellini With Creamy Tomato Sauce-1-7Add the spinach to the skillet, increase the heat to medium high and cook for 1-2 minutes, just until the spinach starts to wilt. Tortellini With Creamy Tomato Sauce-1-8

Tortellini With Creamy Tomato Sauce-1-9Pour in the heavy cream and add most of the Parmesan cheese, reserving a small portion to garnish the plates with.

Tortellini With Creamy Tomato Sauce-1-10

Stir to combine and turn off the heat.
Tortellini With Creamy Tomato Sauce-1-11Meanwhile, when the water boils, add the tortellini and cook for 2 minutes only. Tortellini With Creamy Tomato Sauce-1-12Drain the tortellini from the water and add the pasta to the sauce.

Tortellini With Creamy Tomato Sauce-1-13Serve the tortellini and sauce with fresh herbs and more Parmesan cheese.Tortellini With Creamy Tomato Sauce-1-14

Tortellini With Creamy Tomato Sauce-1-15

Cheese Tortellini With a Creamy Tomato and Spinach Sauce
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 12 oz. tortellini (you can use any kind, I used cheese)
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼-1/2 cup vodka, optional
  • 14.5 oz canned diced tomatoes, with the juice (you can use half of another can, if you like to have more sauce)
  • 2 - 2½ cups baby spinach, packed
  • ⅓ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • fresh herbs, parsley, basil, oregano, thyme, etc.
  • salt, pepper
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. While you are waiting for the water to boil, heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper and cook for about 5 minutes, until the onions are tender and slightly golden.
  3. Add the garlic to the center of the pan, and cook for another 30 seconds or so. If you want the sauce to have a bit of heat, add some red pepper flakes at this point too.
  4. Deglaze the skillet with the vodka, scraping to get all the brown bits off the bottom of the skillet. If you would prefer not to use the vodka, simply omit it from the recipe. You do not need to substitute anything for it. Cook on high heat until the vodka has reduced and there is barely any of the liquid left in the skillet.
  5. Add the tomatoes to the skillet, season with salt and pepper, reduce the heat to low and cook for about 5-7 minutes.
  6. Add the spinach to the skillet, increase the heat to medium high and cook for 1-2 minutes, just until the spinach starts to wilt.
  7. Pour in the heavy cream and add most of the Parmesan cheese, reserving a small portion to garnish the plates with. Stir to combine and turn off the heat.
  8. Meanwhile, when the water boils, add the tortellini and cook for 2 minutes only. Drain the tortellini from the water and add the pasta to the sauce.
  9. Serve the tortellini and sauce with fresh herbs and more Parmesan cheese.

 

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