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.
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
…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.