Monday, September 2, 2013

Sausage Tortellini

I recently saw this recipe that a friend posted on Facebook, and it looked fabulous, so I thought I'd give it a try. So here's what I found...
 The ingredients and flavor were wonderful, but I think the cooking method wasn't quite right. The original recipe was for the crock pot, which I LOVE, but not for pasta. It seemed to me (and also many who reviewed the recipe) that the pasta just becomes overcooked and mushy when you cook it for that long. So I looked at the ingredients again, changed the amounts a little, added a few extras, switched up the cooking method, and here it is!
 I think it turned out pretty good! The pasta wasn't overcooked and the sauce was SO flavorful! It was pretty quick too! So, I guess this is one occasion where the crock pot wasn't the way to go. I'll save that for another time! Hope you like it!

Olive oil
1 lb Italian sausage, mild or hot (or some of both)
1 9oz bag of fresh baby spinach
1 28oz can italian style diced tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth
1 8oz pkg cream cheese
1/4 cup heavy cream (or more, if desired)
1-2 tbs fresh basil, chopped
Salt and pepper
1 lb bag of frozen tortellini
Parmesan cheese, (optional)

Add a few glugs of olive oil to a large saute pan. Remove sausage from casing and add it to the pan. Use a large spoon or a potato masher to break it up as it browns. Add spinach to the pan. It seems like far too much but it will cook down quite a bit. After the spinach has cooked down, add diced tomatoes and chicken broth. Cut cream cheese into chunk and add to the sauce. Let it simmer stirring occasionally until the cheese melts and the sauce thickens a little. Stir in the heavy cream and fresh basil to finish the sauce. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if needed. Boil the tortellini in generously salted water according to package directions. Pour sauce over tortellini. Top with Parmesan cheese if desired.

You really don't need a lot of salt and pepper because the sausage really flavors the sauce. Choose any sausage you like! Hot, mild, whatever you like! The hot is always too hot for me, but I do like a little warm heat, so I like to use mild sausage and just add a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes.
Use any kind of fresh basil you like, or you can just use fresh parsley. The green freshness cuts through the cream and also the spice of the sausage to balance everything.
Be sure to generously salt your pasta water before you boil the tortellini. It makes all the difference!

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