This Tortellini al Forno recipe is inspired by the popular Olive Garden dish. Plump, tender tortellini smothered in an amazing creamy sauce that’s enhanced by bacon and a variety of cheeses.
We decided to add some veggie power to the original dish, in the form of spinach and mushrooms, plus we’ll share some other great variation ideas.
This is a great easy dinner idea for you to cook up any night of the week!
Tortellini al Forno is another easy pasta dish that definitely belongs in your cookbook. We can’t call it an exact Olive Garden copycat, because it’s even better, just like our popular Zuppa Toscana!
“Al Forno” literally means “to the oven” in Italian. It can refer to any baked dish. We’re not sure that Olive Garden follows the actual meaning of the dish, but we’re baking it just the same. And when that melty mozzarella came out of the oven, we knew we had made the right choice!
Main Ingredients for Tortellini al Forno
- Cheese tortellini – we used refrigerated fresh tortellini, but you can use frozen or dried. Cook according to package directions.
- Half and half
- Chicken stock
- Italian seasoning
- Veggies – mushrooms and spinach
- Cheese – parmesan, asiago and mozzarella
Pretty simple, huh?
How to make Tortellini al Forno
Fry the bacon, then remove to a paper towel lined plate, and remove all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease, reserving in a bowl.
Sauté the mushrooms till soft, then remove to a plate. Add the chopped garlic and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring to make sure it doesn’t start to brown up.
Stir in the flour to make a roux. If needed, you can add a little bacon grease back to the pan to make a smooth paste. Slowly stir in the chicken stock and cream, continuously stirring, along with Italian seasoning. Simmer for a few minutes.
Mix in parmesan and asiago cheese. Once melted, toss in cooked tortellini, mushroom, crumbled bacon and spinach.
Once spinach wilts, top with mozzarella cheese.
Bake in preheated oven until cheese is melted, then serve.
- When cooking the tortellini, follow package instructions. The method will be the same, but cooking time will depend on whether you are using fresh, frozen or dried.
- We used our 14” cast iron, which was large enough to hold all of the tortellini. If you don’t have a large enough oven safe skillet, you can later transfer everything to a baking dish.
- In absence of asiago cheese, you can substitute more parmesan.
What to Serve with Tortellini al Forno
Of course, in Olive Garden you would have an endless supply of bread sticks. We were happy to chow down on our Tortellini al Forno with a nice salad and some crusty bread. Our super easy no knead bread went great with this dish.
It would also go great with some grilled or pan seared Italian sausage. Or, to add more protein to the dish itself, check out the variations.
- Try adding in other veggies. Bell peppers, cherry tomatoes or artichoke hearts would go great in this pasta.
- If you want to add some protein, try Italian sausage, shrimp or diced rotisserie chicken.
- Try it with different types of tortellini, like sausage tortellini. Or how about those multicolored ones for a festive looking dish?
- Play with cheeses. Try sharp white cheddar or feta.
- Add in a spoonful of pesto for a different flavor profile. My 5-minute homemade pesto would work great.
This tasty pasta refrigerates great for 3-4 days in an airtight container. We recommend reheating on stovetop with an extra splash of milk.
We don’t recommend freezing this dish, as the texture of the cream can degrade.
So, are you ready to try this Olive Garden copycat, which has been upgraded with spinach and mushrooms? We’re sure ready to put this in our regular rotation! Save or pin this amazing recipe so you always know where to find it.
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Tortellini al Forno, in our Gypsy Bowl… enjoy!
- 20oz cheese tortellini
- 6 strips bacon
- 8oz mushrooms, sliced
- 3-4 garlic cloves
- 2 Tbsp flour
- 2 cups half and half
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded asiago cheese
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 6oz spinach
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Cook tortellini according to the directions on the package. Cooking time will depend on if you are using fresh, frozen or dried.
- Fry bacon in an oven safe skillet over medium heat. Once crisp, remove the bacon to a paper towel lined plate and remove all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease, reserving it in a bowl.
- Sauté the mushrooms till soft, then remove to a plate. Add the chopped garlic and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring to make sure it doesn’t start to brown up.
- Stir in the flour to make a roux. If needed, you can add a little bacon grease back to the pan to make a smooth paste.
- Slowly stir in the chicken stock and cream, continuously stirring, along with Italian seasoning. Simmer for a few minutes.
- Mix in parmesan and asiago cheese. Once melted, toss in pasta, mushrooms, crumbled bacon and spinach. Once spinach wilts, top with mozzarella cheese and bake in preheated oven until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.
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