Monday, November 3, 2014

Hidden Veggie Tortellini Bake




Ahhh comfort food! How I love thee so! Not to mention this version is hiding veggies and your kids will never know. Mine sure didn't. My son is the worst eater EVER! He will not eat his veggies at all. Most of the time I am sneaking them into dishes like this. He hasn't a clue. To me the vegetables in the meat sauce only make the sauce taste better adding tons of extra flavor. This recipe is my tried and true bologense sauce. I have been making it for quite a few years now.




This dish is perfect for the holidays, family get together's, to take and tow, or even just a weeknight meal. You could make the sauce way beforehand and freeze it like I do or just 
whip it up on a Sunday. You can also make it a day ahead and simply keep it in the fridge. Whichever you choose it will be a sure crown pleaser.
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Ingredients

For  the sauce:

1 large onion, chopped

2 large carrots, chopped

3 ribs celery, chopped

1 cup mushrooms, chopped

1 cup fresh spinach leaves, chopped 

4 cloves garlic

Extra-virgin olive oil, for the pan

Kosher salt

1 pound ground chuck

1 pound of ground pork

2- 28oz cans of crushed tomatoes

2 cups red wine or beef stock

Water

For the pasta:

2- 20 oz packages refrigerated or frozen tortellini

16oz mozzarella cheese, grated

1 cup parmesan cheese, grated


Directions

In a food processor, puree onion, carrots, celery, mushrooms, spinach and garlic into a coarse paste. In a large pan over medium heat, coat pan with oil. Add the pureed veggies and season generously with salt. Bring the pan to a medium-high heat and cook until all the water has evaporated and they become nice and brown, stirring frequently, about 15 to 20 minutes. You want them brown. Brown ='s big flavor.

Add the ground beef and pork and season again generously with salt. BROWN THE MEAT! Don't boil it! Don't rush this step. Cook another 15 to 20 minutes.

Add the crushed tomatoes and cook until brown about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the red wine. Cook until the wine has reduced by half, another 4 to 5 minutes.

Fill half of the tomato can with water and add to pot. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally. As the water evaporates you will gradually need to add more, about 2 to 3 cups at a time. Don't be shy about adding water during the cooking process, you can always cook it out. This is a game of reduce and add more water. This is where big rich flavors develop. If you try to add all the water in the beginning you will have boiled meat sauce rather than a rich, thick meaty sauce. Stir and taste it frequently. Season with salt, if needed (you probably will). Simmer for 3 1/2 to 4 hours.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Spread one-third of the sauce mixture evenly onto the bottom of a 13x9 or similar sized baking dish. Arrange half of the tortellini over the sauce. Sprinkle one-third of both the mozzarella and parmesan over the tortellini. Repeat layers. You should end with the last third of sauce on top, followed by the last third of cheeses.

Spray a sheet of aluminum foil with oil, and lay the oil-side down loosely over casserole. Bake 40 minutes for frozen tortellini; 30 minutes for refrigerated ones. Uncover and bake another 10 minutes, or until cheese turns bubbly and golden.
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6 comments :

  1. love it love it not only for the kids but for hubby who is picky eater hater of veggies
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  2. I love carrots in spaghetti sauce...I always find myself thinking about picky eaters if I do that to the sauce;) I also had fun reading the name of the pasta three times over when I saw the title of your post...My brain read tortellini. My eyes scanned x2 tortelli, toretilli! What is a toretilli noodle? (Pleaaaase quash curiosity! Thank you for linking up at #FoodieFridays!)

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  3. I love hidden veggie meals too! My Husband is a carnivore and I was able to sneak in some veggie packed meals to get him to love veggies more! This might be the next dish I try! :) It looks delish!!

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  4. Tortellini is my absolute favorite!! We're having tortellini soup tomorrow night. This looks like a must-try! Thanks for sharing it with us at Foodie Fridays!

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