Baked Tortellini with Sausauge

Who makes baked pasta in August? Me, because I’m a crazy person and when I want carbs I make carbs, even if it’s hot as [meat]balls out. (Though I then proceed to have dinner in my air conditioned icebox of a basement.)

I’ll be honest, sausage is typically not my go-to meat, but paired with cheese-filled pasta and a nice red sauce to cut the fattiness of the meat? It’s perfect. Oh, and you can work ahead of time by prepping the sauce on a different night if you’d like. Per usual, I did the sauce on a Sunday meal prep session and assembled Wednesday night.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
  • 1 Package Italian Seasoned Ground Sausage
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 3 Cloves Minced Garlic
  • 1 Cup Chopped Fresh Spinach
  • 1 Bunch Fresh Basil
  • 1 Can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1/4 Cup Red Wine (Best use of a bottle you might have opened & forgot about, or didn’t like!)
  • 1 Package Cheese Tortellini (I used fresh from Costco. Frozen works too!)
  • 1 Cup Fresh Shredded Parmesan Cheese

THE SAUCE:

Baked Tortellini and Sausage - Red Sauce Prep - MaK and Cheese Blog

  • In a deep skillet on medium heat, add your sausage. When it starts to brown, add your onions and garlic.
  • Once the meat is browned and the onions are sauteed enough to be soft/translucent, add spinach, basil, and crushed tomatoes. (But you know what else I do sometimes? Tomato puree. Or jarred marinara. This one’s shortcut friendly.)
  • Turn down your heat a tad and let it simmer for a few minutes…toss in your wine and let it simmer some more.
    *Tip on cooking with wine: Unless specifically directed, I simmer without a lid for wine sauces to help it cook down quicker. How do you know it’s cooked down? Stand over your pan and take a whiff…if it still smells ‘boozy,’ it needs some more time.
  • Taste your sauce; salt and pepper it to your liking (If you use a jarred marinara, you’ll likely need to season less)
  • Want to save for later? This will keep in the fridge for a good 5 days or so, otherwise freeze in a labeled ziploc bag!

FINISHING YOUR BAKED TORTELLINI:

  • Preheat your oven to 400˚
  • Bring large pot of water to a boil and don’t put in your tortellini until you’re ready to babysit it — because the key to baked pasta is not over-boil it first! Once your water comes to a boil, double check the cooking directions on your pasta. Mine instructed to cook 6-8 minutes. It was ready in 5.
    *Tip on pre-boiling pasta for baking: Test a piece at least 3-5 minutes before the recommended end cooking time. If you think “this could use another minute or two,” take it out because it will continue to cook!
  • Drain your pasta in a colander, rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
  • In casserole dish or dutch oven, drizzle 1 table spoon of olive oil or coconut oil to keep your pasta from sticking.
  • Add your pasta and about 3/4 of your Parmesan cheese to the dish, stirring liberally.
  • Finally, pour your sauce on top and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.
  • Cook at 400˚ for 25-30 minutes until the dish is bubbly (or you start to smell the goodness seeping out of your kitchen)
    *Tip on baking pasta: If you want a soft pasta, you can use a dish with a lid; if you like it firmer and are ok with a few chewy noodles here or there, go no lid.

This meal that resulted in zero leftovers. And changing into sweatpants. We’ll make a salad tomorrow… maybe.

What’s your fave baked pasta dish? Any questions on how to make a stellar baked tortellini yourself? Give me a shout on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!