Easy Cheesy Tortellini Al Forno
An easy Olive Garden copycat to make at home this Cheesy Tortellini Al Forno recipe is like carb-y baked heaven. Stuffed Tortellini pasta is baked in a bubbly, garlic cream sauce with peas and topped with salty bacon for one comfort dish you’ll want to eat all year long.
There once was a time when I didn’t like tortellini pasta. I know, so weird but the fact was I had never even tried it and then when I finally did I was kicking myself for all those childhood years wasted shunning like the most amazing pasta on the planet. I mean….carbs stuffed with cheese….or equally amazing other things. So dumb.
Now….give me all the tortellini recipes….all the tortellini salads….all the Tortellini al Forno. If you’ve ever been to Olive Garden you’ll know what I’m talking about….their Five Cheese Tortellini al Forno is something of a dream. It’s rich garlic cream sauce is extra cheesy and the cheese stuffed tortellini is soft, pillowy and light.
Tortellini al Forno is, basically, the most amazing thing you’ll ever take a bite of. I promise you that. Unless you’re lactose intolerant. Then, I’m sorry.
What is Tortellini al Forno?
Easy Cheesy Tortellini al Forno is just a baked pasta dish. Al Forno, in Italian, refers to a food that’s been baked in an oven…al forno style. It’s very popular at the American Olive Garden restaurant chain but is also a great way to make a one pot pasta dinner at home.
While you could just toss cooked tortellini in the garlic cream sauce and dig in….a baked tortellini casserole is truly an amazing recipe to have in your back pocket. The molten cheesy sauce is something short of miraculous and the whole family will absolutely love it.
How to you make the recipe for Tortellini al Forno?
For my easy Tortellini al Forno, this simple recipe starts with an easy bechamel sauce. Bechamel is just like a roux for gumbo using butter and flour, it’s a thickening agent for most stews and cheese sauces like in my favorite Five Cheese Mac and Cheese recipe.
But for the start of this bechamel, I use the fat from rendering bacon which will later be used as the topping for Tortellini al Forno.
- Start by cooking the bacon in a large skillet until crisp.
- Remove the bacon from the pan and reserve for later
- Add the onions and saute until softened. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Sprinkle the flour over the onion mixture and stir to combine. Cook the mixture for 1-2 minutes or until beginning to turn a golden brown.
- Slowly add the milk to the pan, stirring constantly. Bring the mixture to a simmer.
- Add the peas and cook for 1 minute.
- Remove from the heat and add the cheese stirring until melted.
- Fold in the tortellini.
- Transfer the mixture to a baking dish and top with remaining cheese.
- Bake until golden and bubbling.
- Top with bacon and serve immediately.
What type of tortellini do you use for this Tortellini al Forno recipe?
To make this Tortellini al Forno recipe you should use fresh tortellini which you can find in your grocery store refrigerated pasta section. It’s soft and pliable which allows for you to add the tortellini to the cheese sauce uncooked. It will soak up all the garlic flavors of the sauce and become soft, tender and so amazingly yummy.
If you want to replace the tortellini with tortelloni, which is larger, instead….it will work in just the same way as the fresh tortellini.
If you’re having trouble locating fresh tortellini, you can use the dry tortellini in it’s place but you will need to cook it to under al dente….or for half the recommended cooking time on the package directions.
What to Serve with Cheesy Tortellini al Forno
My favorite things to serve with this Tortellini al Forno pasta are also these reader favorites:
Want even more easy Tortellini recipes? These are always hits with the family:
- Creamy Tuscan Tortellini Soup
- Easy Caprese Tortellini Salad
- Italian Tortellini Salad with Grilled Chicken
- Skillet Tortellini with Sausage
If you want to try a few more easy baked pasta recipe, these are always sooo amazing:
- Best Ever Lobster Mac and Cheese
- FAMOUS Baked Ziti recipes
- Easy Spaghetti Pie
- Spinach Artichoke Chicken Stuffed Shells
- Baked Chicken Florentine Pasta
- Baked Gnocchi Bolognese Skillet
Easy Cheesy Tortellini Al Forno Recipe
Olive Garden's Tortellini al Forno recipe made easy, this simple baked tortellini dinner is always a hit with the whole family.
- 1 pound refrigerated cheese filled tortellini pasta
- 4 strips bacon
- 1 cup diced onion
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups whole milk
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1 tablespoons mustard powder
- 1 cup frozen peas thawed
- 2 cups grated extra-sharp white cheddar
- 1 cup grated mild provolone
- 1 cup grated mozzarella
- 1 cup grated asiago
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Coat a 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
- In a large pot over medium-low heat, cook the bacon until crisp. Transfer the bacon to a plate and set aside.
- Add the onions to the pot and cook until softened, approximately 3-4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 additional minute.
- Sprinkle the flour over the onions, stirring to combine. (It will look a little like a paste.) Continue cooking, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until golden brown, about 4 minutes.
- Slowly add the milk and cream, whisking constantly to incorporate.
- Stir in the nutmeg. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the sauce to a low boil, whisking constantly.
- Reduce to a simmer, whisking occasionally, and cook until the sauce sauce is thick and coats the back of a spoon, about 4-5 minutes.
- Stir in the salt, pepper, mustard powder and peas.
- Add the cheeses (except the parmesan), 1 cup at a time, whisking until each addition is completely melted before adding more. Remove from heat.
- Stir tortellini into the sauce and toss to coat.
- Transfer tortellini mixture to the prepared baking dish and place on a rimmed baking sheet covered with foil. Sprinkle parmesan evenly over pasta.
- Bake until golden and bubbling, approximately 20-25 minutes.
- Crumble the bacon and top the pasta with the bacon.
- Allow to cool 5 minutes before serving.
Tortellini al Forno can be assembled, covered and refrigerated for up to 48 hours before baking.
You can also FREEZE your Tortellini al Forno covered tightly for up to 2 months. To cook your frozen tortellini al forno, unwrap and cover lightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 1 hour or until cooked through, bubbling and golden brown. Uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes to brown the top even more.