When it comes to mac and cheese, there’s nothing better than an Italian flair with this Tortellini Mac and Cheese. Loaded with Italian cheeses and topped with panko breadcrumbs for a delicious crunch, this is the best tasting, creamiest, cheesiest mac and cheese you’ll come across. But don’t take our word for it, you’ll have to try it yourself.
Best of all, this mac and cheese is ready to serve in 20 minutes, making dinner a snap!
Casseroles like mac and cheese are always popular and pure comfort food at best! But this one is elevated to a whole new level! It is decadent… to say the least.
It’s rich, creamy and so delicious, filling and satisfying, everyone will enjoy this dish.
The BEST PART? … it’s quick, easy, and helps me put dinner on the table – in no time! 😉
What is Tortellini Mac and Cheese?
This tortellini mac and cheese is made with a creamy cheese sauce, and it’s made with a mixture of Italian shredded cheeses (all in one container) along with 2 additional kinds of cheese and tossed with cheese-filled tortellini, and it is sublime!
What Makes This Tortellini Mac and Cheese Sublime?
- The flavors in this mac and cheese are positively delicious!
- First, I decided to make the sauce using 5 different kinds of cheese, of which three of them are already combined in a convenient container. Perfect!
- Second, there’s no need to shred the cheeses, making the prep easier. Plus, I used refrigerated cheese-filled tortellini pasta, which cooks up in less than 3 minutes.
How to Make our Tortellini Mac and Cheese?
Step 1: Make the Cheese Sauce: the cheese sauce is easily made in a small pot and on the stove-top. First, you will melt the butter, then add the milk and half and half. Then add in the seasonings, and cheeses, and simmer until it all melts into a creamy mixture.
Step 2: Boil the Pasta: toss the tortellini into a pot of boiling water and boil for less than 3 minutes, until it is al-dente. Then drain.
Step 3: Combine the Tortellini with Cheese Sauce: combine them both and transfer them to an 8 x 12-inch baking casserole dish.
Step 4: Add the Crunchy Topping: sprinkle with Japanese panko crumbs evenly on top of the tortellini.
The Final Step: Preheat oven to “BROIL ” transfer the baking dish into the oven and on the center rack, for less than 5 minutes, until the top is golden brown.
*Important TIP: Keep an eye on it, you don’t want it to be charred on top. Then remove, sprinkle some chopped fresh parsley or chives and serve.
Ingredients Needed for our Tortellini Mac and Cheese…
- Cheese-Filled Tortellini – you will need about 1.5 pounds, or 24-ounces.
For Cheese Sauce:
- unsalted butter – you will only need 4 tablespoons, which is 1/2 of a stick.
- all-purpose flour – only 1/4 cup is needed.
- reduced-fat milk – 1 + 1/2 cups is sufficent.
- half & half – 3/4 cup is enough to give its richness and thickness this sauce needs.
- seasonings – some salt and fresh cracked black pepper are the only seasonings required.
- cream cheese – I only used 1/2 of a brick, which is 4-ounces.
- Dijon mustard – elevates the flavors of the cheeses in the sauce, and only 2 teaspoons.
- sharp cheddar cheese, shredded – only 1/2 cup is sufficient.
- Three-Cheese Blend, shredded (Fontina, Asiago, and Parmesan Cheese) – 1 cup of this blend is highly recommended.
For Crunchy Topping:
- Japanese panko breadcrumbs – you will only need 1/2 cup.
- freshly chopped parsley or fresh chives, as garnish
COOK’S NOTES and TIPS…
- If the cheese sauce becomes too thick, just stir in a little more milk.
- The cheese sauce will appear to be a lot, but the tortellini will asborb most of it.
- If you have a brick of cream cheese, just cut in half and use one half portion.
- Keep an eye while BROILING the top. It will brown the top in just a few minutes.
Can we Omit the Half & Half?
Yes, and only use milk. It will thicken from the flour.
Can we Use Frozen Tortellini?
Although we prefer the texture of refrigerator brand, (Costco brand, Kirkland, or Buitoni), in this dish, you can use the frozen tortellini and follow the directions on the package. Keep in mind, it is best to undercook the tortellini one minute because after you drain them, they will continue to cook internally.
To Make Ahead…
Yes, you can make this tortellini ahead one day, and follow up to Step 4. No need to Broil the top. Just cover with clear or foil wrap and refrigerate.
How To Reheat if Made Ahead….
- If you prepare this mac and cheese ahead of time and refrigerate, it will be cold. Therefore you will need to remove it from your refrigerator to warm up to room temperature, at least one hour.
- Then preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (180C), and BAKE (covered with foil wrap) for at least 40 minutes, or more until it is heated thoroughly.
- Next, remove the cover, and change your oven to BROIL, and broil for 3 minutes, until the top is golden brown.
To Store Leftovers and Freeze:
Seal any leftovers in a sealed container. You can easily freeze for up to two weeks.
Additional Easy Dinners…
- Easy Skillet Tortellini Dinner
- Tuscan Creamy Chicken Pasta
- Best Rice Ball Casserole Stuffed with Meat and Peas
- Best Vegetable Lasagna
- Zucchini Pepperoni Pizza Boats
More Delicious Mac and Cheese Recipes!
- Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
- Easy Pimento Mac and Cheese
- Macaroni and Cheese with Pancetta and Caramelized Onions
- 1.5 pounds (24-ounces) Cheese Tortellini
FOR CHEESE SAUCE:
- 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 + 1/2 cups low-fat milk
- 3/4 cup half & half
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
- 1 cup shredded Three Cheese Blend (Fontina, Asiago, & Parmesan)
- 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
FOR CRUNCH TOPPING:
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 Tbsp. fresh chopped parsley or chives, as garnish
- Fill a large pot with water, add some salt and place it on the stovetop and high heat.
- Meanwhile, in a 2 or 3-quart pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until well blended. Reduce the heat, and whisk in the milk and half and half. Lower the heat, and simmer until the sauce slightly thickens, about 2 minutes.
- Add the cream cheese, Dijon mustard, salt, black pepper, three cheese blend, and sharp cheese. Whisk until all the cheeses are completely melted and smooth. Remove from heat.
- Meanwhile, toss the tortellini into the boiling salted water. Cook the tortellini until al-dente, about 3 minutes. Then Drain.
- Transfer the tortellini back into the large, and pour in the cheese sauce and gently stir until the tortellini is fully coated. Transfer to an 8 x 12-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with panko breadcrumbs on top.
- Preheat oven to BROIL and on high. Place the baking dish on the middle rack of the oven, or at least 8 -inches from the heat source. Broil for about 3 to 5 minutes, until the top is golden brown and crispy, checking often to prevent burning.
- Remove and sprinkle with parsley on top. Allow it to rest for a few minutes. then serve.
- yields: 7 to 9 servings
Vitamin D 25mcg127% Calcium 199mg15% Iron 2% Potassium 116mg 2%
Reheating: This dish can be easily reheated in the oven for a few minutes at 350 degrees F, or in the microwave.
It freezes well too. Allow the casserole to defrost on the counter before popping into the oven to reheat.
Yield:7 to 9 servings
Serving Size:1 serving
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 456Total Fat: 21.6gCarbohydrates: 48.3gFiber: .4gSugar: 2.3gProtein: 16.2g
That’s it friends! Any question? Ask away! If you make our tortellini mac and cheese, let us know and leave a comment below. Everyone will benefit from reading the comments, especially if any modifications to help those following special diets.
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Happy Cooking!! 🙂
.. and thanks for stopping by!
xo Anna and Liz