Tortellini Mushroom Spinach Casserole
This vegetarian dish was a hit! Full flavored, creamy, cheesy delicious-ness! Great to make ahead and easy to double for large groups. I keep a big bag of cheese stuffed tortellini in the freezer for 'go-to' dishes just like this. You can make this with just one kind of mushroom, but I love the complexity of the different textures and flavors of varieties like the Shitake and Cremini. Excellent with Texas Caesar Salad and crusty hot bread. Follow with Tiramisu Toffee Cake!
20 ounces frozen cheese tortellini
1/3 pound fresh cremini mushrooms, sliced
1/3 pound fresh shitaki mushrooms, sliced
1/3 pound fresh white button mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
Juice of one large lemon
grated lemon rind from one lemon
1/2 cup butter, divided
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
8 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded
1-1/2 pounds fresh baby spinach
8 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup Panko (Japanese) bread crumbs
1 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1/2 tsp Herbs de Provence
Cook tortellini according to package directions.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute the mushrooms, garlic, onion, cayenne pepper, black pepper in 1/4 cup butter until mushrooms are tender. Add spinach to pan, along with lemon juice, lemon rind and nutmeg. Combine with mushrooms in pan until spinach is wilted. Remove from pan and keep warm.
In the same skillet, combine milk and remaining butter. Bring to a gentle boil; stir in Gruyere cheese. Cook and stir until smooth. Drain tortellini; place in a large bowl. Stir in the mushroom/spinach mixture. Add cheese sauce and toss to coat.
Transfer to a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish; sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. In separate bowl, combine Panko bread crumbs, Parmesan and Herbs de Provence. Sprinkle mixture over mozzarella. Spray or drizzle top lightly with olive oil. Cover and bake at 350° for 15 minutes.
Uncover; bake 5-10 minutes longer or until heated through and cheese is melted and lightly browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.
Yield: 12 servings.
Note: If making ahead, cover and refrigerate. About 1-1/2 hours before baking, remove from refrigerator. Increase baking time to 35 minutes + browning time.