Bacon, tortellini, cheese, yes, please

Kate Lawson
The Detroit News

Kate Lawson is on medical leave and will return after the holidays. Meanwhile, please enjoy one of her favorite recipes from over the years:

Just because a dinner includes a convenience product doesn’t mean it’s not homemade. For example, pasta is a favorite at our house, but I haven’t made noodles from scratch since the Dead Sea took sick. Sure, I still have a pasta machine and hesitate to part with it — just in case I get a crazy notion to cover myself with flour — but the pasta I cook is either dried or frozen — and no, I’m not talking about the blue box.

The dried varies from bucatini to penne and orecchiette to mostaccioli — and that’s just in the pasta drawer; in the freezer I keep ravioli with various fillings, gnocchi and tortellini. You could say I’m pasta prepared.

The cheese tortellini came in handy the other day when I was running late, but wanted a nice, quick meal to serve with a salad. Because everything is better with bacon, a white sauce infused with the smoked pork envelopes the pasta that is then topped with cheese and slid under the broiler. It actually took longer to make the salad; dinner was on the table in under 30 minutes.

Tortellini with Bacon and Cheese

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Living

4 slices bacon, sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces

1 small white onion, diced medium

1 garlic clove, minced

Coarse salt and ground pepper

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

2 cups whole milk

2 packages (8.8 ounces each) cheese tortellini

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Heat broiler, with rack in top position. In a medium saucepan, cook bacon over medium until browned and crisp, about 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel to drain. Add onion and garlic to pan and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, about 8 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring, 30 seconds.

Slowly add milk, whisking constantly. Add tortellini and bring to a boil over medium-high, stirring occasionally. Reduce to a simmer; cook, stirring often, until liquid has thickened, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in bacon and 1/4 cup Parmesan. Transfer to a 2-quart broilerproof baking dish and top with 1/4 cup Parmesan. Broil until top is golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 586 calories; 21 g fat (10 g saturated fat; 32 percent calories from fat); 68 g carbohydrates; 10 g sugar; 80 mg cholesterol; 980 mg sodium; 30 g protein; 3 g fiber.