Cheesy baked tortellini with tomatoes and mozzarella recipe with basil and green olives; this is one of the most delicious tortellini bakes you could possibly make.
This baked tortellini dish is one of our favorite pasta bake recipes. Together with the Baked Tortellini with Vegetables, they are the two baked tortellini recipes I have been making on repeat for exactly ten years now.
But I do cook other delicious pasta bakes like this chicken and bacon pasta bake, this cheesy tuna noodle casserole, or this chicken or turkey noodle casserole (using leftover turkey or chicken). All pasta bakes that my children adore!
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- You can use either dried or fresh tortellini to make these baked tortellini.
- I use dried tortellini when I happen to have them in the pantry and they are delicious, but most of the times I prefer to buy the fresh tortellini filled with ricotta cheese. They are to be found in the refrigerator section of your supermarket.
- I prefer ricotta-filled tortellini for this easy tortellini bake because they are mild, and my children like them.
- However, spinach or meat-filled tortellini are just as good.
- When using dried tortellini, you will need a 250 g/ 8.8 oz packet. Dried tortellini require a longer cooking time, usually between 12 and 15 minutes, so make sure you check the packet's instructions.
- When using fresh tortellini, you will need a 450 -500 g/ 1 lb packet. This kind of tortellini has a much shorter cooking time, about 2-3 minutes, but check the packet's instructions.
- Make sure you use tasty, ripe tomatoes. You will have to remove the seeds of the tomatoes before chopping them to make sure that the tortellini bake won't be too watery.
- Some people would recommend removing the skin of the tomatoes as well, but I rarely do that, and never when cooking this particular cheesy baked tortellini recipe. I find peeling tomatoes a waste of time mostly.
- You could use either green or black olives. I prefer really bitter, wrinkly olives most of the time, but for these baked tortellini, I usually buy a jar of green olives, pitted ones, for a change.
- I think pitted green olives are more suitable for this cheesy baked tortellini recipe because they have a milder taste, which suits better the rest of the ingredients. But you can experiment with the olives and see which sort you prefer in this case.
How to make baked tortellini?
- Start by cooking the tortellini. As mentioned above, if you use dried tortellini, you will have to cook them for a longer time. Fresh tortellini will only need a few minutes of cooking time, so do check the packet's instructions in both cases. Drain the cooked tortellini very well.
- While the water and the tortellini are cooking, chop the rest of the vegetables. Saute the onions and the garlic in a little olive oil, add some tomato paste and the chopped tomatoes.
- Cook for about 15 minutes on low heat, then add the olives and the chopped basil. Adjust the taste of the sauce with salt, pepper, and chili flakes, and mix it with the cooked tortellini.
- You can either add mozzarella slices on top of the tortellini casserole, or you can chop the cheese and mix the cubes into the casserole. I prefer that, actually, this way, you will have cheese everywhere in the tortellini bake and not only on top.
- If you feel you must have some melted cheese on top as well, you might add some extra mozzarella, grated Parmesan, Cheddar or Gouda on top, but I never do that, the cheese inside the tortellini casserole is enough for us.
How to reheat the bake?
The cheesy baked tortellini recipe is best served immediately, but leftovers can be reheated in the oven. If you reheat the casserole either give the leftovers to a smaller, clean casserole dish or spread the leftovers all over the bottom of the casserole dish that's already in use.
Otherwise, the part of the casserole dish that is not covered with tortellini but is still dirty from the tortellini you previously ate will tend to get crusted from the leftover sauce and tortellini bits, and it will get difficult to clean the dish once you have eaten.
What to serve with them?
The easiest side dish for this easy-baked tortellini is a green salad with vinaigrette or with yogurt dressing. Otherwise, how about a cucumber salad with dill, shopska salad without the feta cheese, or broccoli and pea salad?
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Baked Tortellini with Tomatoes and Mozzarella
- 250 g/ 8.8 oz dried tortellini or 450 g/ 1 lb fresh tortellini
- 4 to matoes
- 1 onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste See note 1
- 100 ml/ 3.4 fl.oz/ scant ½ cup vegetable broth See note 2
- 75 g/ 2.6 oz/ scant ½ cup chopped green olives
- 3 tablespoons chopped basil fresh
- ½ teaspoon chili flakes more or less to taste
- 125 g/ 4.4 oz/ 1 ball mozzarella
- fine sea salt and pepper
- Cook the tortellini according to the packet's instructions. Dried tortellini will need a longer cooking time, depending on the brand between 12 and 15 minutes. Fresh tortellini will only need 2-3 minutes of cooking time. Drain very well.
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius/ 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- While the water for the pasta and the tortellini are cooking, halve and deseed the tomatoes. Chop them into small cubes.
- Chop the onion and the garlic as well.
- Heat the oil in a pan and saute the onion for about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for about 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and stir well.
- Pour in the vegetable broth and add the chopped tomatoes to the pan as well.
Add some salt and pepper and cook the mixture on low heat for about 15 minutes. Add a little more water or vegetable broth if the sauce becomes too dry.
- Take off the heat, add the chopped green olives, basil, and chili flakes. Adjust the taste with salt and pepper.
- Mix the tomato sauce with the cooked tortellini. Add the chopped mozzarella and stir well.
- Place the tortellini mixture into a casserole dish of about 19x23 cm/ 7.5-9 inches.
- Bake for about 15 minutes or until the tortellini casserole is heated through and nicely colored on top.
- Thick concentrated tomato paste and not tomato sauce or puree.
- Made from ¼ cube or ½ teaspoon vegetable broth paste or powder.