Monday, January 10, 2022

Baked Tortellini with Pesto Sauce

Baked tortellini in a creamy pesto sauce will wow your family and guests alike! Bake until browned and bubbly, then top with fresh basil.

Cheesy pasta and juicy tomatoes smothered in sauce and baked under a layer of freshly shredded mozzarella and Parmesan - my mouth is watering already!

This baked tortellini dish is creamy, rich, and extra delicious from the added flavor of the pesto. Use your favorite jarred variety or whip up my homemade recipe in just a few minutes.

Looking for more simple baked pasta meals? You’ll love this Feta Bake with Sausage that was a TikTok viral sensation or my baked ziti that’s enough to feed a crowd.

Of course, you can never go wrong with a big pan of mac and cheese! Or, try this One Pot Creamy Chicken Tortellini dish that goes from prep to table in just 30 minutes.

Baked Tortellini with Pesto Sauce spoonful over the casserole dish

Baked Tortellini - Tips and Tricks

  • Don’t overcook the pasta! It should be al dente (slightly underdone) since it will continue to cook in the oven. Also, be sure to salt the water for extra flavor.
  • Use room temperature ingredients. Measure out the milk and let it sit on the counter for about 30 minutes before starting the recipe. The cheese will be easier to grate when cold, but the shreds will melt easier into the sauce if they are no longer chilled.
  • Swap out the cheese. While mozzarella adds a lot of creaminess to this pesto tortellini, you can replace it with Monterey Jack for a bolder flavor or use a combination of the two. Instead of Parmesan, try Romano instead!
  • Time saving tip: Use this kitchen hack to slice grape tomatoes in seconds! Place the veggies between two round lids, then run a sharp knife between them to cut a handful all at once.
  • Prefer something lighter? You can easily replace the whole milk with 2% and use less cheese if the cream sauce seems too heavy.
baked tortellini ingredients

Serving Suggestions

No Italian dish is complete without a fresh batch of breadsticks or garlic knots! Add a green salad or some roasted vegetables to round out your plate.

If you’ll be hosting dinner guests, let them munch on bruschetta while this pesto tortellini is in the oven. Don’t forget a batch of pignoli cookies for a light dessert!

pesto tortellini sauce in a skillet

Kitchen Tools You Will Need
pesto tortellini in casserole dish ready to bake

FAQ - Common Recipe Questions

What other flavors can I use for baked tortellini?

While the recipe calls for a basic cheese stuffed variety, you could easily try chicken, sun-dried tomato, or spinach stuffed pasta instead.

Can I double this recipe?

Absolutely! You can double the sauce and boil two packages of pasta at once, but you will need to divide everything between two separate casserole dishes for baking.

How long does pesto tortellini last in the refrigerator?

Leftovers will last for up to 4 days when stored in an airtight container. Reheat in the oven, microwave or on the stove with a splash of milk as needed to thin out the sauce.

Baked Tortellini with Pesto Sauce with fresh herbs on top


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Baked Tortellini with Pesto Sauce wide photo

Yield: 8
Author: Donna Elick
Baked Tortellini with Pesto Sauce

Baked Tortellini with Pesto Sauce

Baked tortellini in a creamy pesto sauce will wow your family and guests alike! Bake until browned and bubbly, then top with fresh basil.
Prep time: 15 MinCook time: 45 MinTotal time: 1 Hour


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
  • 3/4 cup pesto
  • 16 ounce package fresh tortellini
  • 2 cups halved grape tomatoes
  • Fresh basil, chiffonaded (for garnish)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a deep skillet, melt 4 tablespoons of butter. Add flour, salt, and pepper to the butter and saute 2-3 minutes until the flour begins to brown.
  3. While whisking constantly, gradually add the milk. The mixture will whisk into a thick paste and eventually a sauce as the milk is added. Once the milk is fully incorporated, continue cooking until mixture comes to a simmer and thickens.
  4. Stir in 1 cup of mozzarella cheese and 1 cup of parmesan cheese, adding a handful at a time and stirring each addition until melted and smooth.
  5. Whisk in pesto sauce and adjust to your preferred taste.
  6. Meanwhile, in a large pot of salted water, cook the tortellini for 2 minutes less time than the package instructions (mine cooked for 5 minutes). You want the tortellini al dente as it will continue cooking in the oven.
  7. In a large casserole dish (3 Qt.), layer half of the cooked and drained tortellini, Spoon half of the prepared pesto sauce over the tortellini. Sprinkle with 1 cup of halved cherry tomatoes and half of the remaining cheeses.
  8. Add a second layer of tortellini, sauce, tomatoes and cheese.
  9. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the cheese on top of the dish is melted, bubbly, and beginning to brown.
  10. Garnish with fresh cracked pepper and fresh basil, if desired.
  1. We used whole milk for a creamy, rich sauce. 2% can be substituted. The overall amount of cheese can also be reduced for a lighter casserole.
  2. This baked tortellini is creamy, rich, cheesy, and delicious with lots of added flavor from the pesto. Use your favorite pesto sauce (we like Trader Joe’s and Costco brand) or my homemade version
  3. Fresh tortellini comes in a variety of flavors - we used a basic cheese stuffed tortellini, but a chicken, sun-dried tomato, or spinach tortellini would also be delicious in this recipe.
  4. For a sharper cheese flavor, you can use jack cheese instead of mozzarella or a combo of jack and mozzarella. The mozzarella adds a lot of creaminess and gooey cheese. Romano can be interchanged with the parmesan.

Baked Tortellini with Pesto Sauce closeup

Originally published January 2022

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1 comment:

  1. Can't seem to save as a pin. Tried to print with picture and it didn't show up.


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