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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Creamy Italian Sausage and Tortellini
Okay, let me be the first one to point this out... this is not a very pretty dish.  It's okay, you can think that, too.  On the flip side, however, my husband boldly proclaimed "This is one of the best things you've ever made!"  He's a big fan of Italian food.

Moms out there will have a several reasons to like this recipe:  1)  It's fast - 30 min., 2)  It's super easy - brown the sausage, dump the rest together., 3)  There are some very healthy veggies hiding in there.,  4)  And it's delicious!  So if those are some criteria that you are looking for... BINGO!!  It will be perfect for the "after work - shuttle the kids to various events/practices - get out of the kitchen quickly so you can enjoy the Spring weather" type of meal.

Click for Printable Recipe

  • 1 lb. Italian sausage (I used mild, but it typically comes in differing degrees of heat)
  • 2 cans of diced tomatoes with Italian seasoning
  • 1 "family sized" container of cheese tortellini. 
  • 1 bag of fresh baby spinach, stems removed and rough chopped
  • 1 box (4 cups) chicken broth
  • 1 (8 oz) block of reduced fat cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup cold water + 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • dried basil and oregano to taste


I have let you down, dear readers.  This was just a quick week-night meal that I was throwing together, and I wasn't really planning on using this as a blog post.  So... I wasn't photographing my way through it.  Once I saw all those beautiful colors coming together in the pot, however, I thought "Wow... this is going to be great!  Let me grab the old camera!" 

1.  Remove the sausage casings and break apart the Italian sausage as you brown it.  But don't brown it until it is dry and hard. 
2.  While the sausage is cooking, remove the stems from the spinach, and give it a rough chop.
3.  Once the sausage is no longer pink, dump everything together. 

Alternative - I have also made this using a 10 oz package of frozen chopped spinach, when fresh spinach was not available in the grocery store.  I prefer using fresh, but the frozen option worked well and is quite a bit of a time saver.
So here is where we pick it up:
This is the first five ingredients all dumped together.   
Browned sausage, tortellini, tomatoes, broth, spinach
Add the cream cheese. 
1 (8 oz) block of reduced fat cream cheese
Add in the cornstarch slurry.  Make sure it is dissolved in cold water first.  You don't want lumps!  After you add it, bring to a full boil, then reduce the heat... maybe to around medium.
Slurry of 1/4 cup cold water + 1 Tbsp cornstarch
You can already see how much the sauce has reduced and thickened.  Just check the "level" on the pot.  Now add the dried basil and oregano - liberally! Remember, you are seasoning an entire pot of food.
Dried oregano and basil - probably at least 1/2 tsp each.  I didn't measure. 
Once the sauce has reduced and thickened, the pasta will undoubtedly be nice and tender.  Taste, adjust seasonings, and serve!
After the sauce has reduced.
Written Method:

Brown the Italian sausage in a heavy pot.  If it came in the casings, cut them open and discard the casing.  Break the sausage up into small bite sized pieces as you brown it.  Once it's no longer pink, dump everything else in.  Add the seasoning last, so you can adjust as needed.  Give it a nice stir to distribute the cream cheese.  It's done when the tortellini are tender and the sauce has reduced and thickened, roughly about 10 - 12 minutes after dumping it all together.  That's it folks!  You can't get much simpler than that!

Want to see more awesome recipes?
Please visit my Recipe Index for more recipes.  There is sure to be something there that will suit your fancy - from all made-from-scratch, to the use of convenience items that you make your own on a busy night.

Order the Menu Musings Cookbook! 
Here are a few for you to check out!!  

Oven Baked Fajitas

Caprese Stuffed Burgers

Ham and Cheese Crescents - For Kids, By Kids

Skinny Mexican Pizza

Home Made Snickers Bars

Stuffed Tomatoes
Roasted Red Pepper and Basil Pesto Penne

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  1. waww. PERFECT, perfect, perfect, great.

  2. I just found your website and I am pretty sure I will never look anywhere else for another recipe of any kind!!! I love the detailed recipes and the pictures! Thank you so much for putting in all the time and effort that you do for your blog and website and then sharing it all with us! :)

    1. Kim - Thank you so much for that amazing compliment!!! You officially just made my day! I hope that you will sign up to be a Subscriber.. and find me on FB! - oh, and please share my blog with your friends! :)

  3. How many ounces in "family size" tortellini?

    1. I think they come in a 9oz (rectangular) and a 20oz (square) package. I would choose the larger, 20oz package.

  4. Just made this and it was fantastic! Mine was definitely more soup-y and I added 3x the amount of cornstarch-stuff trying to thicken it up. We just scooped the excess with garlic bread.

    Question: Could this be frozen? I have a bunch and am hoping that I can freeze to enjoy multiple times.

    1. Chandra -
      So glad you enjoyed it!!! I'm not sure what to say about the soupy'ness (LOL) of it. Perhaps you used larger sized cans of tomatoes? This is one of my hubby's favorite meals, and it can't be much easier!

      As far as the freezer... I haven't tried it personally. I would sort of be afraid the noodles would get mushy. You could try making the sauce only to freeze in portions, then add the tortellini or ravioli as you need it.

      Again, thanks for trying the recipe!

  5. Awesome site ill be following your recipes for great ideas on here and pintrest. we love American food and the country.
    if you would like to try some northern English hearty food let me know ill share a few recipes with you that is guaranteed to satisfy the whole family.

  6. If you were going to serve this after Sunday morning church, can you make it the night before and warm it up?

  7. I just made this for dinner on a whim and my fiance was VERY impressed. He's not a big pasta eater, so to see him clear the bowl and ask for seconds was amazing. It was SOOO easy to make and it turned out just perfectly. I put all the ingredients together as soon as the tortellini was al dente, so it finished cooking with everything else. AND I added like a tsp of red wine vinegar for a little bit of tang.
    thank you so much for this recipe and I cannot wait to try your other ones!! <3

    Jessica C.

    Boston, MA

  8. Made this for dinner tonight. Loved it!!!
    Thanks for the recipe!!

    Heather S.

    Springfield, Ohio

  9. I tried this on my family last night. Very easy steps. The sauce was dee-lish. It really gives this recipe a bang! My husband said to try shrimp and maybe some crab meat next time. I think I will do instead of using the sausage. Thanks for another family favorite :-)

  10. I just made this for dinner tonight, and it was amazing! So quick and simple, which is a must for us these days. I added corn, as well, and that just gave it another dimension. Thank you for your clear pictures and directions!

  11. We had this tonight and it was fantastic! A new family favorite! Thanks!

  12. I love how your pictures show each step. Good for beginner cooks and some of us old ones as well. Thanks and keep up all the fantastic recipes...

    1. Thank you for saying this. I often question my sanity for doing this. :)


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