Spinach Torellini Bake

So I read about this yummy Tortellini Bake on Our Best Bites.  I do enjoy their blogs.  I'm not sure if its because the food is normal, its simple, or because its Kate and Sara blogging.  Either way, cheese, pasta, bacon, spinach:  sold.  I had been planning to make this since reading the recipe.  My original intent was to veggie it up with some asparagus I had in the fridge, but it was used in another manner.  I wound up pretty much following the recipe as it published, although i didn't really measure much - just the roux ingredients.  I still like the idea of throwing more veggies in there.  Serious win.  Definitely a re-do.  I could see prepping this the night before and just popping it in the oven when getting home from work for a quick and easy weeknight meal.  Looking forward to leftovers for lunch.

4-6 pieces of bacon,
1 bag spinach and cheese tortellini (12 oz)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbl flour
1 tbl olive oil
2 cups fat free milk
roughly chopped spinach -- about two handfuls
about 1.5 cups cheese -- mozzarella and parmesan mixed.
1 lemon
basil, pepper, salt to taste

1. I started off frying the bacon at a nice heat to make some tasty crumblies.  Meanwhile the pasta was cooking and the oven preheating.


2. After removing the bacon from the pan i wiped up most of the bacon grease and cooked the garlic for a minute or two in the leftover drippings in the bacon pan.  I used the leftover bacon grease and flour to make a roux.  (I actually took out too much grease, hence the added olive oil).  After adding milk, lemon juice, basil, salt, and pepper the sauce simmered until thickened slightly.

3. Meanwhile, with the oven preheating to 350F, I mixed the cooked pasta, chopped spinach, crumbly bacon, and cheese up in my pasta stockpot.  Finish by tossing and coating with the sauce and transferring to a baking dish.  I reserved a little cheese and bacon and threw them on the top before baking for about 25 minutes.  it was awesome, as shown below.


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