Eat Cheap Episode 3 – Tortellini, Spinach and Bacon Gratin

Let’s take a look at the third recipe in our “Eat Cheap”-series where we cook up proper meals for the whole family to a cost of 8 EUR or less (75 SWE or 9 USD). If you missed earlier episodes you can find them here:

Today’s recipe is super simple and you throw it together in about 30 minutes. In other words a perfect everyday meal.

This baked tortellini gratin is super tasty. But on the other hand it’s hard to fail when bacon and cheese are involved. The crispy cheese layer that covers the creamy pasta is what makes it so special. We took a shortcut here and used fresh, store bought tortellini. There are actually some really good alternatives out there so take advantage of them. We use a tortellini with cheese and spinach filling, but choose whatever filled pasta you like the most. The spinach and the bacon bring out a lot of flavors to the dish and add some smoky depth. Do buy the frozen spinach because it’s super cheap and packed with iron and other healthy nutrients’. The only time you want the fresh version is when you mix the spinach in a salad or toss it together with pasta or grains at the last minute of cooking. But in stews and baked dishes the frozen alternative is the best and most affordable.

Tortellini, Spinach and Bacon Gratin


500 g fresh tortellini/ravioli (1 package)
140 g smoky bacon or ham (1 package)
1 yellow onion
3 garlic cloves
325 g frozen spinach or chard
250 g milk
200 g crème fraiche
100 g ketchup
Cayenne pepper
Black pepper
100 g cheese

Oven: 225 °C


Fill a big pot with water and place it on the hob. Add a generous pinch of salt and bring it up to a boil. Peel the onion. Finley slice onion and bacon and fry them in a nob of butter on medium heat for a few minutes or until nicely colored. Add finely chopped garlic, black pepper and cayenne and fry for another minute to release all the flavors. Introduce the spinach, ketchup, milk and crème fraiche to the pan and let the sauce gently bubble away for a few minutes. Meanwhile; throw your tortellini into the boiling water and let it cook for just a few minutes. The pasta should be slightly under cooked when draining it off since it will continue to cook in the oven. Toss the pasta in the sauce. Add salt and maybe some more pepper to taste. Transfer the pasta over into an oven proof dish and cover with grated cheese. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until golden.

Eat Cheap Episode 4 - BBQ Grilled Chicken, Sweet Potato Wedges and Roasted Garlic Aioli
Eat Cheap Episode 2 - Falafel Stuffed Pita with Veggies and Tahini Yoghurt Dip