Tortellini Al Forno

This Tortellini Al Forno features stuffed tortellini tossed in a rich and creamy garlic cheese sauce and topped with crumbled bacon.

That’s right. I want to go there with the hubs, get a Giant Olive Garden Salad to my face, and order some Tortellini Al Forno already. But my cute little squishy face toddler doesn’t like sitting still for very long and I don’t think my fellow Olive Garden-ers would appreciate her newest game of showing the world how loud she can scream, or how she can sing “E-I-E-I-O” over and over again (I never should have introduced her to Old MacDonald.) It’s okay though. I can make this at home and guess what? It tastes even better than the restaurant version. I kid you not.
This Tortellini Al Forno is loaded with stuffed tortellini tossed in a rich and creamy garlic cheese sauce and topped with crumbled bacon.

Ingredients
  • US CUSTOMARY - METRIC
  • 20 oz. refrigerated Tortellini, (I like “Giovanni Rana” brand, and I prefer cheese stuffed!)
  • 6 slices bacon, uncooked
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 pint half and half, (equivalent to 2 cups), you can sub whole milk.
  • Salt/pepper, to taste
  • ½ teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • ¼ cup Parmesan, shredded
  • ¼ Asiago cheese, shredded (can also use more Parmesan instead)
  • ½ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • ¾ cup spinach, finely shredded (optional)

Instructions
  1. Use kitchen shears to cut the bacon into 2-3 inch pieces so that they equally cover the pan and cook evenly.
  2. In a large skillet, (preferably cast iron), cook the bacon slowly on low heat. *Low and slow is best for bacon*.
  3. Once the bacon is nearly cooked and crisp on each side, cook the tortellini in a large pot according to package instructions. Set aside.
  4. Remove the cooked bacon from the pan, set aside to cool, and leave 2 Tablespoons of bacon grease in the pan. Keep the heat on low and add the garlic to the pan, cooking for about one minute.
  5. Increase the heat to medium. Gradually whisk in the flour, stirring constantly, until all flour is incorporated and the grease has thickened.
  6. Gradually add the half and half (keep stirring). Bring the mixture to a boil and add the salt/pepper and Italian seasoning. Reduce the heat back to low and stir for about 2 more minutes.
  7. Add the Parmesan, Asiago, and mozzarella cheeses. Stir until well incorporated and thick. Toss in the spinach and the Tortellini and use a rubber spatula to carefully incorporate it into the sauce.
  8. Once the spinach has wilted (about 1 minute), turn off the heat. Crumble the cooled bacon into smaller pieces and sprinkle over the Tortellini. Serve and enjoy!

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