(Always read the recipe twice, assemble, and prepare your ingredients before you begin to cook)

4 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth
2 – 14 oz. cans Italian-style diced tomatoes
1 – 8 oz. block of cream cheese, cut into small pieces
2 – 9 oz. packages fresh cheese-filled tortellini (or whatever filled variety of tortellini you prefer)
1 – 5 oz. bag fresh baby spinach
Salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese

You’ll need at least a 16-18 cup (4 to 4 ½ quart) crock pot for this recipe as the tortellini will puff up so a smaller crock pot will not work!

  • Place the broth, diced tomatoes, and cream cheese pieces into the crock pot and mix together (note that the cream cheese will not blend until it cooks over the next 3 hours and becomes very soft)
  • Cover and cook on LOW for 3 hours
  • Gently whisk the mixture to blend in the now softened cream cheese
  • Gently stir in the fresh tortellini
  • Cover and cook on low for about 2 more hours or until the pasta is cooked – and the tortellini will puff up!
  • Before serving, gently stir in the spinach until it’s wilted
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Serve immediately with Parmesan cheese
  • Generously serves 5-6 people as a main entree
  • Serving suggestion: Garlic bread and a mixed salad with Italian dressing


  • Tortellini, also known ascappelletti, are ring-shaped pasta, sometimes also described as “navel shaped”, hence their alternative name of “belly button” (ombelico).  These bite-sized dumplings are filled with meat and/or cheese, herbs and spices. They are available in a variety of colors and flavors and as fresh, frozen or dried pasta. Tortellini can be boiled or baked for use in countless recipes.

If you’d like to be a guest contributor to The Jefferson Chronicle’s Wooden Spoon, please email your recipe clearly noting all ingredients, measurements, and understandable directions to Carol.Punturieri@thejeffersonchronicle.com and type “The Wooden Spoon” in the Subject line.  Be sure to include your name, address, and a telephone number in the event we need to clarify any information.

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Carol was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and moved to Jefferson Township with her husband in 1976. She initially joined the Garden Club of Milton, eventually serving as President. She was a co-founder of the ABC Mothers Group, active in the local PTAs, Girl Scouts, and Cub Scouts. She worked for AIM Newspapers as a reporter and eventually became its Editor. Currently, she is President of the Jefferson Arts Committee and the Recreation Program Coordinator in the Jefferson Township Recreation Department. She can be reached at carol.punturieri@thejeffersonchronicle.com.