Pasta meals, like this Tortellini with Sausage meal, probably shouldn’t be made too often with the high carbohydrate and sodium amounts, but life is short and moderation is everything.
I love the process of cooking: the planning and preparation, on through to cooking and sitting down to eat. Some days, I enjoy complicated or time consuming steps, and other times, I want (or need) food made that is fast and easy. As great as grilled ham and cheese and similarly speedy options are, it’s always good to come up with new meals to change up the same old.
Last month, I’d picked up Costco’s 3 pack of cheese tortellini. We usually just use it in place of spaghetti noodles with my homemade Spaghetti Sauce. Once home though, I was tired, as usual. It’s a long day, to go to town (3 hours of highway driving to and from) and fill the car with groceries and other necessities, and the put it all away once home. Sometimes I’ll have a plan for dinner when we get home, but that is the exception these days, not the rule.
As we put the groceries away, I stopped and looked at the tortellini waiting to be frozen, then to the farmer’s sausage I’d just pulled from the box (also from Costco). Light bulb moment – one of those tiny light bulbs, like your microwave has, but a light bulb, nonetheless. I glanced over at the shredded mozzarella still in the box and finally to the pantry to see we still have loads of marinara sauce. 25 minutes later, dinner was done.
In just the past month, it’s been made 3 times, everyone loves it. I love it when that happens. My quick “light bulb” moments with cooking don’t guarantee an repeatable meal.
Usually, I would make my own sauce, but early in 2020 when stores were out of the strangest things (like tomato sauce), I picked up a couple jars of Classico’s Sweet Basil Marinara and it was a hit for homemade Meatball Subs – speaking of which, I need to add that recipe to the blog. The buns are up, but any old, dry, mostly filled with breadcrumbs, meatballs are not suitable for a proper meatball sub. Back to the sauce, it’s something I mean to recreate with much, much less salt, after the garden tomatoes and basil are ripe. For now, the Classico is good, so it’ll do. Especially in a time crunch.
Easy Tortellini with Farmer's Sausage
- Large Skillet
- Dutch Oven
- 8 cups water for cooking pasta
- 750 g 7 Cheese Tortellini or 1 package, like Olivieri Brand
- 570 g Farmer's Sausage or 3 sausages, like Harvest Double Smoked Brand, cut into coins/diagonal (photo in instructions)
- 5.5 cups Sweet Basil Marinara Sauce or 2 650g/24oz jars, like Classico Brand
- 2-3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- In dutch oven, put water to boil. In skillet, heat on medium-medium high heat and fry sausage coins until most are starting to brown.
- When water starts to boil, add tortellini. Cook as package directs taking care not to overcook.
- Lower heat under skillet to medium low, and add marinara sauce. Stir occasionally while tortellini is cooking.
- When the tortellini is cooked, drain, and return to dutch oven. Place dutch oven on a burner turned to medium low heat and immediately pour marinara and sausage over the tortellini in the dutch oven, and very gently stir to combine. Layer mozzarella cheese on top. Cover, and let the mozzarella melt, about 3-5 minutes. Serve immediately.