(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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