My Trip to Italy: Bacon and Five Cheese Tortellini Stuffed Artichokes

April 26, 2011

Today’s recipe comes from the creative depths of my mind. Filled with Barilla tortellini, bacon, and feta cheese, the artichoke is the perfect medium to hold a complete meal.

Here is my Foodbuzz entry for the Barilla Tortellini Foodbuzz Recipe Challenge.

With an email subject that included the words “win a trip to Italy,” I jumped at the challenge. The rest of the email tempted with the following information:

Barilla is challenging Foodbuzz Featured Publishers to imagine an Italian-inspired recipe or meal created with Barilla Tortellini. Barilla Tortellini is an authentic taste of Italy, made of the finest all-natural ingredients. While, it’s sometimes thought of as a special occasion food, tortellini is an easy and versatile dish that allows you to whip up plenty of healthy, delicious recipes to share with friends and family.”


Well, OK. Tortellini it is… was? Even though I don’t eat much gluten, cheese, or tortellini, I’m more than up for the challenge (hello! And trip to Italy!!). Recipe-creation-time it was.

Originally, I came up with this dish

Alternate entry. Good but not great.

…Which I’ll post the recipe for later, but decided that it wasn’t original enough, just easy. I wanted both, since the Foodbuzz judging is based on 50% creativity and 50% originality. Oooh yes, I can do both. I’ll even throw in some outstanding flavor. 😉

Bacon and Five Cheese Tortellini Stuffed Artichokes

[three cheese tortellini with feta and Pecorino Romano cheeses, 5 cheeses. Bursting with flavor and easier than you think.]

  • 2 large artichokes
  • 1 regular sized package of Barilla Three Cheese Tortellini
  • 5 bacon slices, pan sauteed, cooked fully, and crumbled
  • 1 cup fresh spinach, packed and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped (in oil or dry variety)
  • 2 oz crumbled feta cheese
  • 5 large basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 heaping tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • pepper to taste
  • Fresh Pecorino Romano cheese, for garnish

Give the artichokes a quick rinse with water, then slice about 1 inch off of the tips. In a large pot (or steaming pot), steam the artichokes until tender, about 50 minutes.

While the artichokes are steaming, cook the bacon until completely crisp, but not burned. Set aside.

Boil the Barilla tortellini according to package directions until tender, about 12 minutes. Set aside.

In a large bowl, add the remaining ingredients, chopped spinach through salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Add in the bacon and tortellini.

Set the oven to broil on high heat.

In an 8×8 glass Pyrex baking dish, place both artichokes stem-side down. With a spoon, carefully scoop out the middle few layers of artichoke, creating a hole for the tortellini mixture.

Stuff each artichoke with as much tortellini mixture as you can, pressing the mixture down into the artichoke cavern, as needed. With any leftover tortellini, sprinkle around the sides of the artichoke, covering the bottom of the glass baking dish.

Top with freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese and broil the dish on high heat for 2 minutes.

Serve and enjoy.

Easy, delicious, mouth-watering. Leaving you wanting more. Much, much more.

This dish got raved reviews. “I would definitely order this in a restaurant!” was one comment. “Absolutely delicious. Rich flavors that mix so well together!” was another. I got an A++ for this one.

An added delight of this dish was eating/playing with the artichoke after devouring the center filling… and then going back for seconds on the filling to eat with the sought-after artichoke heart.

This is round one and round one, entered.

Wish me luck!

What is your favorite Italian meal? I like marinara sauce… by the spoonfuls.

What’s your favorite pasta type/shape? I’m definitely (when I ate pasta) a fusilli gal. No plain spaghet for me.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Luca August 15, 2011 at 7:21 AM

That really looked cool!!! Strange any restaurant still didn’t think about it….

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peter June 11, 2011 at 4:11 AM

[…] My Trip to Italy: Bacon and Five Cheese Tortellini Stuffed Artichokes | What Runs Lori […]

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Christin@purplebirdblog April 30, 2011 at 4:56 AM

Pasta… in an artichoke?! I think I’ve died, because this must be heaven!

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Emily April 28, 2011 at 10:29 AM

Wow. That is a serious artichoke! Good luck 🙂

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Michelle {the lively kitchen} April 28, 2011 at 3:15 AM

This looks fantastic! I’m so impressed with your creativity. Good luck to you!!

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Jenn L @ Peas and Crayons April 27, 2011 at 4:17 PM

absolutely beautiful!!!!!!!! yum!

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alyssa - fashion fitness foodie April 27, 2011 at 1:25 PM

I think you are going to kill it Lori!! You can never go wrong with bacon 🙂 That seriously looks amazing. I’m bookmarking it!

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Jenny (Fit Girl Foodie) April 27, 2011 at 10:02 AM

Wow that looks amazing!! I’ve never had anything like that before, yummy 🙂

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Kelly April 27, 2011 at 8:23 AM

Oh my goodness…that looks simply amazing!!! I am so intimadated by artichokes!!

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christina April 27, 2011 at 7:34 AM

wow that looks beautiful! Great photos

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chrysta April 27, 2011 at 6:55 AM

whoa! what a kick ass idea! I never thought to put tortellini in an artichoke. So cool! I think my favorite Italian dish is anything with tomato, basil and lemons…that combo. Just so light and fresh. As far as pasta, my fav is any tube shaped pasta. Just kind of fun to eat. Have an awesome day!

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Shanna, Like Banana April 27, 2011 at 5:26 AM

It looks so professional — well done! And good luck on the contest 😉

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Katie April 27, 2011 at 4:47 AM

Dude, you are killing me here. I want this so badly, but there is just too much bad (but GOOD) in that artichoke. Bacon? Yes. Sundried tomatoes? YES. Artichokes? Goat cheese? Spinach? Yes, Yes, and YES!!!

This is really creative and impressive.

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Kat April 27, 2011 at 4:02 AM

Im not a fan of bacon, but this looks AMAZING!! I bet I could totally get my family to eat this (they are bacon lovers!!) This is totally creative girl. Great job! I have no idea how you come up with this stuff lol

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Sable@SquatLikeALady April 27, 2011 at 3:14 AM

Oh. My. Gosh. This recipe and those pictures are MOUTH-watering. WOW. I so hope you win Lori! You definitely deserve it; this is SO creative and such a beautiful dish.

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Sarah @ The Smart Kitchen April 27, 2011 at 3:04 AM

Yes! I’m with you on spoonfuls of marinara…

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Lauren @ WWoB April 26, 2011 at 8:07 PM

its so PRETTYY!!!

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salah@myhealthiestlifestyle April 26, 2011 at 7:04 PM

My favorite italian meal is definitely eggplant parmesan. I always ordered that wherever I went when I was little….or pizza of course 🙂 This recipe looks awesome!!! and I am definitely guilty of eating marinara sauce by the spoonfuls out of the jar as well!

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tea-bag April 26, 2011 at 6:38 PM

my favorite italian meal is probably shimp diavolo (minus all the butter & loads of red pepper flakes). my favorite pasta shape (also, when i ate pasta) was angel hair. something about the thin noodles always appealed to me. they were so delicate! i do like the shirataki … but honestly, they’re not the same.
i’m w/ you on the marinara, though! i eat it out of the jar plain! love it! i do it w/ tomato paste, too! 🙂

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