Gremolata (Italian Parsley Condiment)

Gremolata is a bold and bright Italian condiment that will liven up your meals. It’s made with three simple ingredients that you might have on hand already—fresh…

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gremolata recipe

Gremolata is a bold and bright Italian condiment that will liven up your meals. It’s made with three simple ingredients that you might have on hand already—fresh parsley, lemon zest and garlic.

Gremolata is the perfect last-minute finishing touch for any dish that seems a little blah, you know what I mean? When guests are on their way over, sprinkle gremolata over store-bought items like hummus to make them seem more fresh and fancy.

gremolata ingredients

When I have the time, there’s nothing better than a bold herbed sauce to complete a meal, like pesto or chimichurri. Gremolata is simpler than a sauce (no blender or food processor required), but more elevated than a basic sprinkle of chopped parsley.

Perhaps gremolata’s most winning feature is that it’s ready in under five minutes. Sprinkle gremolata all over your grilled dishes this summer!

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Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza

Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza
Sink your teeth into this authentic Chicago-style deep-dish pizza! Made with a flaky, buttery crust, melty cheese, and chunky homemade tomato sauce, this deep-dish pizza is the ultimate at-home pizza!
READ: Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza

A close up of a deep-dish pizza with two slices cut out on a piece of parchment paper.

Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza

Sink your teeth into this authentic Chicago-style deep-dish pizza! Made with a flaky, buttery crust, melty cheese, and chunky homemade tomato sauce, this deep-dish pizza is the ultimate at-home pizza!

READ: Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza

Tomato Basil Gnocchi

This tomato basil sheet pan gnocchi recipe is so easy: there’s no boiling required! Bake it up with pesto and prepare to be amazed. Did you know one of the easiest ways to cook gnocchi is…baked on a sheet pan? Nope, no boiling a big pot of water involved! Throw them onto a sheet pan, top with pesto and add veggies, and throw them in the oven. They bake up to a deliciously crispy on the outside, gooey on the inside texture that’s ultra delicious and so so easy. We’ve been wanting to try this method forever, so we jumped on it when Jessica Merchant offered to let us share a recipe from her brilliant new book, Everyday Dinners. This recipe is perfect for summer and totally customizable for any season. Come experience the magic! What you need for this gnocchi recipe Gnocchi (say it like NYOW-kee) is Italian pasta dumplings made with potatoes, egg and flour. For this recipe, we’ll be using store-bought gnocchi, easy to find at your local grocery. Sheet pan gnocchi is a dream, because instead of boiling it all you have to do is pop it on a baking sheet! There are many variations on […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This tomato basil sheet pan gnocchi recipe is so easy: there’s no boiling required! Bake it up with pesto and prepare to be amazed.

Gnocchi recipe

Did you know one of the easiest ways to cook gnocchi is…baked on a sheet pan? Nope, no boiling a big pot of water involved! Throw them onto a sheet pan, top with pesto and add veggies, and throw them in the oven. They bake up to a deliciously crispy on the outside, gooey on the inside texture that’s ultra delicious and so so easy. We’ve been wanting to try this method forever, so we jumped on it when Jessica Merchant offered to let us share a recipe from her brilliant new book, Everyday Dinners. This recipe is perfect for summer and totally customizable for any season. Come experience the magic!

What you need for this gnocchi recipe

Gnocchi (say it like NYOW-kee) is Italian pasta dumplings made with potatoes, egg and flour. For this recipe, we’ll be using store-bought gnocchi, easy to find at your local grocery. Sheet pan gnocchi is a dream, because instead of boiling it all you have to do is pop it on a baking sheet! There are many variations on the concept of baking gnocchi on a sheet pan: Jessica has a few seasonal variations in Everyday Dinners. Here’s what you’ll need for this simple summery version:

  • Packaged uncooked gnocchi: use your favorite brand! Look for gluten-free if desired. See more below!
  • Cherry or grape tomatoes: Use all the best summer produce, or great grocery tomatoes (hydroponic have good flavor)
  • Fresh basil: A must!
  • Basil pesto: Find your favorite purchased brand or make homemade pesto
  • Spices: Garlic powder oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper
  • Parmesan cheese: For topping!
Everyday Dinners
Keep reading for more about Everyday Dinners — recipe excerpted from the book with permission from Jessica Merchant

How to works: throw it all on a sheet pan!

Standard Italian gnocchi is typically boiled, then warmed in a skillet with a sauce or added to sautéed veggies. This sheet pan gnocchi is a brilliant concept where you simply throw the uncooked gnocchi onto the sheet pan with veggies and seasonings. Here’s what to note:

  • Throw it on uncooked: right from the package. It feels strange the first time, but the steam from the veggies and oven cooks the gnocchi right up!
  • It comes out soft with crisp edges. The texture comes out beautifully crisp on the outside and cooked through. Don’t expect it to be as soft and doughy as boiled gnocchi. It’s like a whole new version of itself!
  • Leftovers need to be re-warmed. This gnocchi recipe is best right from the oven, but you can save leftovers refrigerated. Just note that they become hard in the fridge (vs boiled gnocchi that stay doughy). You’ll need to re-warm leftovers before enjoying them!
Gnocchi recipe

Types of gnocchi to use in this recipe

You can use most types of gnocchi that you find at the store for this recipe. Here are some notes on what to use:

  • Potato gnocchi: Use any brand: we like DeLallo (in fact, DeLallo taught us to make potato gnocchi once!)
  • Gluten free gnocchi: Several brands also offer gluten-free gnocchi
  • Cauliflower gnocchi: You can use the massively popular Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi too! See the notes in the recipe below (thanks, Jessica!)
  • Homemade gnocchi: Don’t use homemade gnocchi in this recipe: the texture won’t hold up in the oven. Use the traditional boiling method for those!
Gnocchi recipe

About the book: Everyday Dinners by Jessica Merchant!

This gnocchi recipe and the sheet pan technique comes straight from Jessica Merchant’s delightful new book, Everyday Dinners. The subtitle is “Real-life recipes to set your family up for a week of success,” and my, does it deliver on that promise! This book is one of those where you look at each page and think…I want to make that! And that. And that!

Jessica is a mastermind in the kitchen: mom of two, author of the website How Sweet Eats and overall incredible human. The book is super practical yet full of fresh, inventive flavors. Some recipes we’ve got our eye on: Crispy Orange Cauliflower with Coconut Rice, Burrata Baked Ziti (I mean, burrata!), and Smashed Chili Sweet Potatoes. Congrats to Jessica on an incredible collection of beautiful, creative recipes!

Variations on this gnocchi recipe

There are so many variations on this gnocchi recipe! You can add other types of veggies that cook in 20 to 25 minutes. Just be careful to not crowd the pan: otherwise it may take a little longer to cook! If you’re adding to this recipe, also make sure to increase the seasonings accordingly. Here are some ideas for other veggies that would work well:

  • 1 or 2 bell peppers
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 small yellow squash
  • 2 cups broccoli florets (cut small)
  • Sliced onions

When it comes out of the oven, you can also add lots of other fresh herbs: like thyme, oregano, basil, chives, or dill. What would you add to this dish?

Gnocchi recipe

Make it vegan / plant-based!

Last note — you can make this gnocchi recipe vegan or plant-based! Here’s what to do:

  • Make sure the gnocchi is vegan. Some brands’ potato gnocchi is already vegan (like DeLallo). Others sell vegan gnocchi.
  • Make vegan pesto. Our Vegan Pesto recipe is to die for!
  • Omit the Parmesan cheese. Make sure everything is salted well, and you don’t need it!

This gnocchi recipe is…

Vegetarian. For vegan and gluten free, see the notes in the recipe.

Print
Gnocchi recipe

Tomato Basil Gnocchi


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutese
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minute
  • Yield: 2 or 3 as a meal, 4 as a side
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This tomato basil sheet pan gnocchi recipe is so easy: there’s no boiling required! Bake it up with pesto and prepare to be amazed.


Ingredients

  • 1 16-ounce package uncooked potato gnocchi (vegan or gluten free as desired, or cauliflower gnocchi*)
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup basil pesto (use Vegan Pesto for vegan)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup freshly shaved Parmesan cheese, for topping (omit for vegan)
  • 1 handful torn or chopped basil leaves, for topping

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray or line it with parchment paper. 
  2. SPread the gnocchi and tomatoes out on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle with the olive oil and toss. Spoon on the pesto and toss until everything is coated. Sprinkle with the garlic powder, salt, pepper, oregano, dried basil, and red pepper flakes and toss well to combine everything. Make sure everything, especially the gnocchi, is seasoned well. 
  3. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes until the gnocchi is tender, tossing once during the cook time. 
  4. Serve the gnocchi immediately. Sprinkle with the Parmesan, additional red pepper flakes, and fresh basil. (As a note, any leftover gnocchi becomes hard in the fridge; you’ll want to reheat it again before eating leftovers.)

Notes

*Look for vegan or gluten-free gnocchi for those diets (some brands are already vegan). You can also make this using Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi. Use them right from the freezer, and make sure the gnocchi are not clumped together. Roast about 25 to 30 minutes, and note the outsides might not get as crisp as the standard potato gnocchi.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian inspired

Keywords: Gnocchi recipe, gnocchi, sheet pan gnocchi

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Caprese Sandwich

Picnic season is here! There’s never been a better time to picnic. We’ve enjoyed a lovely extended spring here in Kansas City. Our homegrown tomatoes won’t be…

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vegetarian baguette sandwich recipe

Picnic season is here! There’s never been a better time to picnic. We’ve enjoyed a lovely extended spring here in Kansas City. Our homegrown tomatoes won’t be ready for a while, but I wanted to share my favorite picnic sandwich with you since I’m able to find great tomatoes at the store now.

This Caprese sandwich recipe is inspired by the classic Caprese salad. It features ripe red tomatoes and sliced fresh mozzarella with the most irresistible creamy basil sauce. For extra flavor, I also added a little drizzle of balsamic vinegar and a small handful of arugula.

Caprese sandwich ingredients

Sandwich all of that inside a crusty loaf of French baguette, and you will have a perfectly portable sandwich for picnics or road trips. Or, enjoy it at home for a quick meal from now through the end of tomato season this fall.

Just remember—the better the bread and the tomatoes, the better the sandwich!

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Broccoli Pesto Pasta with Green Olives

Broccoli, pesto, and green olives—believe it! This pasta recipe tastes so fresh. It’s perfectly suited for springtime dinners, though I think you’ll want to keep it in…

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broccoli pesto pasta recipe

Broccoli, pesto, and green olives—believe it! This pasta recipe tastes so fresh. It’s perfectly suited for springtime dinners, though I think you’ll want to keep it in your repertoire for the rest of the year.

I wouldn’t have come up with this pasta combination myself, so I’m glad I found the recipe in my friend Kelly Senyei’s new cookbook, The Secret Ingredient Cookbook. You might know Kelly from her blog, Just a Taste. Kelly is a delightful person, a professionally trained chef and a hard-working mom to three boys, all under the age of five.

broccoli pesto pasta ingredients

Kelly’s new cookbook offers 125 family-friendly recipes with fun secret ingredient twists. I don’t want to spoil all the surprises, but I’m looking forward to trying the Caesar pasta salad (with avocado), Greek chopped salad (with halloumi cheese), 30-minute mac and cheese (with pumpkin) and mushroom ravioli with brown butter sauce (with goat cheese, and made entirely from scratch). And good gracious, wait until you see the desserts.

This broccoli pesto pasta recipe includes green olives as the secret ingredient. They offer a delicious briny olive flavor and cover up the flavor of the broccoli. She says her boys absolutely love this dish, so this dish is designed for the whole family. I found some ricotta in my fridge and really enjoyed a few dollops over my bowl. Serve it as you please!

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Homemade Cannoli

Homemade Cannoli
This old family recipe includes homemade cannoli shells made with wine and a simple, cooked sweetened ricotta filling.
READ: Homemade Cannoli

Two rows of homemade cannoli stacked on each other on top of a cooling rack.

Homemade Cannoli

This old family recipe includes homemade cannoli shells made with wine and a simple, cooked sweetened ricotta filling.

READ: Homemade Cannoli

Italian Pasta Salad (Family Favorite!)

Italian Pasta Salad (Family Favorite!)
This pasta salad is our family’s favorite! It’s served cold, loaded with pepperoni, cheese and other add-ins, and tossed with homemade Italian dressing.
READ: Italian Pasta Salad (Family Favorite!)

Italian Pasta Salad (Family Favorite!)

This pasta salad is our family's favorite! It's served cold, loaded with pepperoni, cheese and other add-ins, and tossed with homemade Italian dressing.

READ: Italian Pasta Salad (Family Favorite!)

The Best Focaccia Pizza

Here’s how to make focaccia pizza! This recipe makes a deliciously thick crust for all your favorite toppings: ready in just a few hours. Oh hello, beautifully fluffy crust and melty cheese. Here’s a new style of pizza to add to your repertoire: focaccia pizza! This is the exact opposite of the Neapolitan style pizza with a thin and chewy crust. Instead this pizza is built on focaccia bread: massively thick, pillowy on the inside, and crunchy on the outside. It’s actually reminiscent of a style of Roman pizza you can get in the city today. It makes a massive sheet pan, the equivalent of three pizzas. Oh, and it will make your entire house smell like a pizzeria. (We know from experience.) Ready to get started? How to make focaccia pizza: an overview Focaccia pizza is a style of pizza where you’ll make a homemade focaccia bread, then add toppings and bake it like a pizza. It’s actually similar to Bonci-style pizza that Alex and I had in Rome, though that style has a bubblier crust. Why? Well, most focaccia pizza recipes require making the dough in advance and resting it for 24 hours or more. But for our […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Here’s how to make focaccia pizza! This recipe makes a deliciously thick crust for all your favorite toppings: ready in just a few hours.

Focaccia Pizza

Oh hello, beautifully fluffy crust and melty cheese. Here’s a new style of pizza to add to your repertoire: focaccia pizza! This is the exact opposite of the Neapolitan style pizza with a thin and chewy crust. Instead this pizza is built on focaccia bread: massively thick, pillowy on the inside, and crunchy on the outside. It’s actually reminiscent of a style of Roman pizza you can get in the city today. It makes a massive sheet pan, the equivalent of three pizzas. Oh, and it will make your entire house smell like a pizzeria. (We know from experience.) Ready to get started?

How to make focaccia pizza: an overview

Focaccia pizza is a style of pizza where you’ll make a homemade focaccia bread, then add toppings and bake it like a pizza. It’s actually similar to Bonci-style pizza that Alex and I had in Rome, though that style has a bubblier crust. Why? Well, most focaccia pizza recipes require making the dough in advance and resting it for 24 hours or more.

But for our spin, we wanted a focaccia pizza you can bake in the same day (mainly because we hate thinking ahead!). This is considered a fast focaccia pizza: prep is a little over 2 hours: no advanced planning required! Since it does require a few hours before you eat, this recipe is great for weekends and days off, or anytime if you’re lucky enough to work or watch kids from home. The tradeoff of this fast version is that the crust is slightly less bubbly than a traditional focaccia…but to us it’s worth it. Here’s a breakdown in the timing:

Make the dough15 minutes, active
Rest the dough (Proof 1)45 minutes, inactive
Press the dough into a sheet pan and rest15 minutes, inactive
Rest the dough again (Proof 2)1 hour, inactive
Bake the pizza20 minutes
Focaccia pizza

Making the dough: weights are most accurate

Here’s something to note about focaccia pizza dough. When you’re baking it up, measuring the ingredients by weight is most accurate! Why? The environment and the way you pack the measuring cups can both affect the exact weight. So using a food scale is the most accurate way to measure out quantities when baking something precise like dough.

  • Need a food scale? Here’s the food scale we use. It’s also what we use for our morning pourover coffee!
  • Don’t have one? Use the spoon and level method. Spoon the dry ingredient into the measuring cup, then level it off (instead of plunging the entire cup into the flour container).

Focaccia pizza crust requires two proofs!

What’s the trick to the best focaccia pizza crust? Two proofs. If you’re an experienced baker (or at least watch the Great British Baking Show), you’ll know this means resting the pizza dough. Proofing is when you let bread dough rest after you’ve added yeast so that it rises. The trick to getting a super thick, pillowy crust is resting it twice. This is the same method as in our cast iron skillet pizza.

Of course if you were making true focaccia bread, you’d rest 24 hours to get massive bubbles. But we’re going for a day-of pizza recipe! If you prefer a super bubbly crust, this is not the one.

Focaccia pizza

Otherwise, baking focaccia pizza is easy

So, you have to wait for 2 hours for your pizza dough to rise. But guess what? The rest of the process is much easier than a traditional pizza? Why? You don’t have to bother with shaping a dough, or using a pizza peel or pizza stone, which we do with our traditional method. Just throw it into the sheet pan, and throw that in the oven. Easy as pie! Pizza pie, that is.

One last note: there’s a specific method to baking this sheet pan focaccia pizza:

  • First, bake the crust without toppings for 10 minutes. This is similar to baking up the focaccia bread! It makes it nice and crispy on the edges.
  • Then bake with toppings (another 10 minutes). Pull it out of the oven and add the toppings. Take care since the pan will be hot at this point!
Focaccia pizza

This recipe is equivalent of 3 pizzas in 1!

Another great feature of this focaccia pizza: it’s the equivalent of 3 pizzas in 1! That means you don’t have to make separate pizzas for the family. Just make this one sheet pan, and it’s enough for everyone. You also may want to split up the toppings, so you get a few different topping options. Speaking of that…

Topping ideas for focaccia pizza

There are many ways to top a focaccia pizza! In the recipe below, we shared what we did. We used our amazing Easy Pizza Sauce, which we guarantee you’ll be obsessed with. Then we topped it with smoked mozzarella cheese and fresh mozzarella, which is an irresistible combination. (Try it! Let us know what you think). But if you prefer, go free form or we’ve got some other ideas:

Focaccia pizza recipe

This focaccia pizza recipe is…

Vegetarian. For vegan, top with Vegan Pizza toppings.

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Focaccia pizza

The Best Focaccia Pizza (Fast!)


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (6 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 35 minutes
  • Yield: 12 squares (about 6 servings)
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Here’s how to make focaccia pizza! This recipe makes a deliciously thick crust for all your favorite toppings: ready in just a few hours.


Ingredients

For the focaccia

  • 562 grams (4 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon instant or active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 355 grams (1 1/2 cups) warm water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

For the pizza

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, for brushing the sheet pan
  • 1 1/4 cups Easy Pizza Sauce
  • 3/4 cup shredded smoked mozzarella
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt, for sprinkling
  • Fresh basil, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Make the dough: In a large bowl, stir together the all-purpose flour, yeast, kosher salt, oregano and garlic powder. Add the warm water and olive oil and stir until flour is incorporated.
  2. Knead the dough: Knead the dough by pushing with the base of your palm, then reforming it into a ball. Continue kneading for 8 minutes until the dough feels pillowy and has a smooth, stretchy exterior. If the dough is very sticky, add a small amount of flour while kneading. Alternatively: attach the dough hook to a stand mixer and start the mixer on medium-low speed, then allow the mixer to knead for 8 minutes.
  3. Rest the dough (45 minutes): Using floured hands, gently shape the dough into a boule (ball shape) by folding the dough under itself. Place it in a covered bowl and allow it to rest for 45 minutes, until doubled in size.
  4. Rest the dough in a sheet pan (15 minutes): Brush 3 tablespoons olive oil on the bottom and sides of a standard 13″x 18″ sheet pan. Add the dough and press it with oiled fingers until it evenly covers the pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and rest for 15 minutes to relax the dough. 
  5. Rest the dough again (1 hour): Press the dough back into the corners of the pan. Dot the entire surface with finger indentations (see the photo above; this helps the thickness to stay even). Brush top of the dough with a bit of olive oil and rest for 1 hour.
  6. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 515 degrees Fahrenheit.
  7. Bake the pizza dough without toppings: After the 1 hour rest, place the sheet pan in the oven and bake the pizza dough for 10 minutes without the sauce and toppings.
  8. Add the toppings and bake again: Remove the dough from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Add the pizza sauce, smoked mozzarella, fresh mozzarella (torn into pieces), and Parmesan cheese, and top with a few pinches of kosher salt. Take care, since the pan will be hot! Bake an additional 8 to 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and lightly browned. Sprinkle with torn basil. Cut into pieces with a knife (a pizza cutter doesn’t get all the way to the pan edges) and serve immediately. 

Notes

*For vegan, top with Vegan Pizza toppings.

  • Category: Pizza
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Focaccia pizza, Sheet pan pizza

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Cheese Tortellini in Creamy Marinara

Cheese tortellini makes the best quick dinner recipe! Serve it up in a creamy marinara sauce flavored with goat cheese and basil. Some meatless recipes stand a head above the rest, and this is one of them. In fact, I think we’d be happy eating this genius quick dinner every day of the week. Try this cheese tortellini in creamy marinara sauce! In just 15 minutes, you’ve got a pasta skillet that’s a literal symphony flavor. The fresh basil-infused marinara sauce is perfectly complimented with pillows of tangy goat cheese. (In fact, it’s our baked goat cheese dip made into a main dish, because we love it so much we needed a way to justify it as dinner.) This one is a huge hit in our house…and we hope it will be in yours too! Best cheese tortellini to buy Cheese tortellini often escapes our radar when it comes to pasta: usually we think of penne, spirals or macaroni. But there’s lots of high quality tortellini in grocery stores these days! Tortellini are traditional ring-shaped Italian filled pasta. In Italy you can get them freshly made at local shops. What to look for if you’re not in Italy? Fresh tortellini […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Cheese tortellini makes the best quick dinner recipe! Serve it up in a creamy marinara sauce flavored with goat cheese and basil.

Cheese tortellini

Some meatless recipes stand a head above the rest, and this is one of them. In fact, I think we’d be happy eating this genius quick dinner every day of the week. Try this cheese tortellini in creamy marinara sauce! In just 15 minutes, you’ve got a pasta skillet that’s a literal symphony flavor. The fresh basil-infused marinara sauce is perfectly complimented with pillows of tangy goat cheese. (In fact, it’s our baked goat cheese dip made into a main dish, because we love it so much we needed a way to justify it as dinner.) This one is a huge hit in our house…and we hope it will be in yours too!

Best cheese tortellini to buy

Cheese tortellini often escapes our radar when it comes to pasta: usually we think of penne, spirals or macaroni. But there’s lots of high quality tortellini in grocery stores these days! Tortellini are traditional ring-shaped Italian filled pasta. In Italy you can get them freshly made at local shops. What to look for if you’re not in Italy?

  • Fresh tortellini is sold refrigerated. This is usually the best quality when it comes to tortellini recipes. It boils up in just 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Frozen tortellini is also a good option. We like frozen because it saves well and you can pull it out at moments notice.
  • Avoid dried tortellini. Tortellini isn’t traditionally a dried pasta: and all the brands we’ve tried dried just haven’t measured up.
  • Look for any type of cheese tortellini for this recipe. Use 3 cheese, spinach ricotta, Parmesan: any type of cheese flavor will work.
Cheese tortellini

Secrets to the best creamy marinara sauce

This tasty cheese tortellini recipe is engineered by us to be two things: mega quick and mega delicious! This one’s like a cross between our famous baked goat cheese and our goat cheese pasta. It capitalizes on the best flavor pairing: a great tomato sauce that’s made creamy using soft goat cheese. Here are a few tips for the very best creamy marinara:

  • Use canned fire roasted tomatoes. This special type of tomato is becoming easy to find. It’s charred over an open flame, which gives them a beautifully sweet flavor right out of the can. Can’t find them? Use the best quality tomatoes you can find.
  • Use fresh basil. It’s a splurge in winter, but it’s absolutely worth it for the peppery flavor it imparts.
  • Use soft goat cheese (chevre). You might think a creamy marinara is good with heavy cream. But it’s great with soft goat cheese! None of those hard crumbles with the texture of feta: this sauce deserves a good chevre.

Why it works

Here you’ll use soft goat cheese to crumble into the marinara, and it adds a tang and a creamy body that makes it taste like a best-in-class gourmet meal. Add those beautifully boiled cheese tortellini, and every bite is velvety, heavenly goodness. You can save out a few goat cheese crumbles as a topping, too.

We like to add a little spinach into the mix too! It adds nutrients but the way it melds into the skillet, you can barely tell that it’s there.

Tortellini in skillet

Is goat cheese healthy? How does it compare to cow’s cheese?

You may have heard that when it comes to cheese, goat cheese can be a healthier option that other cheeses. You’re right! There are a few advantages to choosing this cheese vs a mozzarella or a Parmesan. Goat cheese has the following going for it (source: Prevention):

  • More vitamins and minerals than cow’s cheese. Goat’s milk is richer in essential nutrients than cow’s milk. It has more vitamin A & B, calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium.
  • Slightly less calories than cow’s cheese. Goat cheese has just 75 calories per ounce—less than cow cheeses like mozzarella (85 calories), Swiss (108 calories), and cheddar (115 calories).
  • May be easier to digest. Goat cheese has less lactose than cow’s milk and a slightly different protein structure, so people who are lactose intolerant many times can digest goat cheese.

Can you make it gluten-free?

Yes! There are actually some good brands of gluten free tortellini on the market these days. We don’t eat exclusively gluten-free, so we don’t have a preferred brand. But there are lots of great options in both refrigerated and frozen varieties. Again, we recommend steering away from dried. Do you have a brand to recommend? Let us know in the comments below.

Tortellini recipes

What to serve with cheese tortellini!

This cheese tortellini recipe is an ideal quick dinner: it takes less than 20 minutes to whip up! Pair it with a simple side dish or two and you’re in business. It’s ideal for Meatless Mondays or impressing friends with a tasty vegetarian dinner. Of course, it can be harder than you think to find side dishes that work with the flavors, compliments it nutritionally, and is easy enough to make while you tackle the main dish. Here are a few of our favorite sides to pair here:

This cheese tortellini recipe is…

Vegetarian. For gluten-free, use gluten-free tortellini.

Print
Cheese tortellini

Cheese Tortellini in Creamy Marinara


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Cheese tortellini makes the best quick dinner recipe! Serve it up in a creamy marinara sauce flavored with goat cheese and basil. 


Ingredients

  • 12 to 16 ounces frozen or refrigerated cheese tortellini
  • 28 ounce can crushed fire roasted tomatoes (or best quality crushed tomatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 cups baby spinach leaves, tightly packed (or chopped spinach)
  • 8 fresh basil leaves
  • 4 ounce goat cheese log

Instructions

  1. Boil the tortellini according to the package instructions (fresh usually takes 2 to 3 minutes and frozen takes 2 to 5 minutes to boil). Then drain it. 
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, place the crushed tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic powder, oregano, kosher salt, spinach, and whole basil leaves. Bring to a simmer, then cover and simmer while the pasta cooks or at least 10 minutes.
  3. When the pasta is done and drained, add it to the skillet. Crumble in the goat cheese into the sauce and stir until a creamy sauce forms (if you’d like, save out a few crumbles for topping). Serve immediately.
  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Dinner

Keywords: Cheese tortellini, Tortellini recipes

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Everyday Salad

My favorite “everyday” salad recipe is quick and easy to make, tossed with a simple and delicious lemony dressing, and so versatile that it goes with just about everything! Friends! Do you have a go-to side salad recipe in your repertoire that you absolutely love? This simple green salad — which we fondly call our […]

My favorite “everyday” salad recipe is quick and easy to make, tossed with a simple and delicious lemony dressing, and so versatile that it goes with just about everything!

Everyday Salad Recipe

Friends! Do you have a go-to side salad recipe in your repertoire that you absolutely love? This simple green salad — which we fondly call our “everyday” salad here in our house — is mine.

It’s the no-frills, easy-breezy, fresh-and-flavorful, always-a-winner green salad recipe that we make most often here in our house behind the scenes. And even after eating it literally hundreds of times, it’s one of those staple recipes that we somehow never grow tired of. It’s incredibly quick and easy to make with a bag of greens (we most often use spring greens), a veggie or two (we usually add red onion, plus cucumber, bell pepper, carrot, or whatever’s in the crisper drawer), a sprinkling of nuts/seeds for protein and crunch (we’re partial to pepitas or sunflower seeds), and my favorite “everyday” salad dressing (that’s super-simple to whip up). Best of all, this tossed salad comes together in less than 10 minutes and always tastes wonderfully light and fresh and flavorful. And it also happens to be naturally gluten-free and vegan — and somehow magically goes with just about any meal!

The sky’s the limit, of course, when it comes to customizing this recipe with whatever greens, veggies, nuts, or even dressing ingredients that you happen to have on hand. And if you feel like making a meal out of this salad, it also tastes delicious with an extra protein (such as chicken or shrimp) and/or some croutons added in too.

Anyway, if you’re interested in working more salads into your weekly lunch and dinner rotations, I hope you’ll give this salad recipe a try. It is definitely a favorite here in our house! (more…)