This creamy tortellini based pasta salad is a perfect all-in-one Summer meal. Featuring cheese-stuffed tortellini, crisp crumbled bacon, leafy pieces of fresh romaine lettuce, and sliced grape tomatoes– everything’s tossed in a rich, creamy dressing before being chilled and serve cold. It’s light, yet it’s filling. It’s fresh and yet also refreshing. This BLT Tortellini Salad is the perfect side to any backyard get together but it stands on it’s own two feet just as well for a solid lunch or a light supper.
I found this recipe several years ago, perusing magazines in a waiting room. It’s a Betty Crocker recipe, and it’s delicious. My family loves macaroni and cheese. They love it from a box, they love it from scratch, they even love it with cut up hotdogs in it. I figured, given their love of the classic side dish they’d happily eat as a meal any time, any day, that this could either be a beautiful thing or a risky gamble. This recipe had me at BLT. I love them. Mostly, I love them because I love,love, love tomatoes. So naturally, I dove in and made this meal the same night I had come across it’s recipe. Since then it’s become a staple and a regular meal appearing on our monthly rotations. The flavors blend spectacularly! Even the rest of the family, literally everyone else, who all detest tomatoes about as strongly as I love them, ate every bite.
BLT Mac N Cheese
- 1 loaf, 32 oz, prepared cheese product, cubed
- 1/4 cup butter
- 4 cups skim milk
- 1 lb elbow macaroni
- 2 cups sharp cheddar, shredded
- 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 bag, 9 oz, fresh spinach
- 1 lb bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
- 1 cup plain, or Italian style, panko bread crumbs*
- In a dutch oven, or other large pot, add butter, milk, and cubed cheese. Cook over medium heat, stirring with a wisk, until melted and evenly combined.
- Cook macaroni in boiling salted water 3 minutes less than indicated on the box in the directions. Drain.
- Pour the drained macaroni in with the cheese sauce. Mix well.
- Stir in the shredded cheese, spinach, and tomatoes.
- Transfer to a 15×10 inch (4 quart) baking dish. Cover with foil.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake 30 minutes.
- Uncover. Spread bacon and bread crumbs evenly over the top.
- Bake 5 minutes longer or until the top is lightly browned.
- Allow to cool slightly before serving.
*To ensure nice browned, crisped breadcrumbs you can toss the breadcrumbs in 1-2 tbsp of melted butter before adding to the casserole.