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Tortellini Mac and Cheese

I have a confession to make. Are you ready? Here goes nothing.

I've never made mac and cheese from scratch. Actually, I've never even made it from a box. Well, not for myself anyway. Back in my babysitting days, I would make it for the kids I watched but I never actually ate it with them. It kind of sounds sad now that I'm typing it out. How can I have never desired to taste the greatness that is mac and cheese? Especially considering my deep love for pasta and cheese?!!

I am a strange one. Correction, I was a strange one.

I recently saw this recipe on Izy's blog and thought yes, yes, and yasssssss. Mac and cheese with special ingredients like buttermilk and cream cheese AND the addition of tortellini? If I was going to try mac and cheese for the first time ever, this would definitely be the way to try it.

Obviously, I wasn't disappointed.

This stuff is seriously so marvelous that I don't even want to waste another second explaining how marvelous it is, I just want you to make it! I mean, I'm sure you guys have probably had mac and cheese before so maybe you're not totally as excited but no, BE EXCITED. Trust me, be excited. There is just so much to be excited for.

Tortellini Mac and Cheese

Yield: 4-6 servings
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For the pasta:
1 and 1/2 cups (dry) small shells pasta
One 8 oz. package three-cheese tortellini

For the sauce:
1 and 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1/4 cup cream cheese
5 oz. grated sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup buttermilk
salt and pepper, to taste

For the topping:
2 teaspoons butter
1/3 cup plain breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme


Cook pasta and tortellini according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

In a medium-sized saucepan, add butter and garlic. Saute garlic for a few minutes or until fragrant. Add flour and whisk swiftly until a smooth paste forms.

Gradually add 1/2 cup of the milk, continuously whisking as you do. Add in cream cheese, while continuing to whisk, then slowly add in the rest of the milk. Cook the mixture over medium heat, whisking frequently, until it starts to thicken.

Once it has thickened, add in grated cheese and buttermilk. Stir together until cheese is completely melted. Season with salt and pepper.

Add pasta and tortellini to the sauce, stirring to coat. Then, pour into a large oven-safe baking dish.

In a small saucepan, melt butter. Add breadcrumbs and thyme, and toast breadcrumbs for a few minutes, until golden brown.

Sprinkle toasted breadcrumbs over pasta.

Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

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