Happy Monday, everyone! That weekend blew by way too fast - and the funny thing is that I think we mostly just sat around relaxing the whole time. Still, it sped by. It was a good break, though, from our usually jam-packed weekends. I think spending time with my little family is what I'd rather be doing than anything else on the planet, so it was a win-win in my book.
As the season presses on, mother nature in Utah continues to unleash her wrath of pent-up winter rage upon the valley. We had the most beautiful February I can remember in a long time (hitting the high 60's - unheard of here), and now we're back to the freezing temperatures and snow flurries. It's pretty gross, and makes me wish for that glimpse of Spring we just had again. I mean, I was posting Grilled Ginger Steak Tacos with Pineapple Pico de Gallo, and a couple amazing fresh broccoli salad recipes for crying out loud. I was ready for Spring, people! A silver lining, though, is that with all this dreary weather, I can go back and try all the hearty comfort food recipes I've had my eye on. This one was the first on the list, and I knew looking through the simple list of ingredients, it was going to be a total hit at our house!
Tortellini is so darling! We don't buy ours frozen, or from the pasta isle at the store. I love the refrigerated tortellini from the cheese or produce section at the supermarket. It cooks up beautifully, and saves a TON of time by not having to make my own (even thought I have made my own ravioli from scratch, and it's really fun!). To keep with the one-pot-wonderness of this recipe, we cooked the tortellini right in the pasta sauce (plus a little bit of water to help it along even further). It soaked up all that beautiful marinara sauce flavor just perfectly - plus, we saved not having to cook them in a separate pot (and having to wash it along with the usual pile of dishes we're faced with).
When browning your Italian sausage, it's always a good idea to cook it a little longer than "just-reaching-the-non-pink" point. The extra little golden char on the bottom of the meat will add so much more flavor to the dish. So when I say "brown the meat", I really do mean to brown the heck out of it, without burning it of course.
Mix it all together without the cheese. The meat with that cheese-loaded tortellini will help each other out immensely in the same pot. Their flavors will meld together, and it creates a whole new super-dish with a beautiful new depth of flavor. It's amazing!
Lastly, is the melting of the cheese. You can do this in two awesome ways - 1) place the cheese on the hot sausage/tortellini mixture and let it melt by stirring it around until the whole thing is coated in cheesy goodness, or 2) place the entire pan under a broiler (if your pan is oven-safe). Both ways get the job done, and taste equally amazing. We had this for dinner for one evening, had it for lunch the next day, and then had it for leftovers for dinner the next evening. The leftovers tasted just as amazing as the first day, if not better. We always have the ingredients for a green side-salad on hand, so that's how we contrasted the thick-savory casserole on our plates. Seriously, this recipe just rocks, and is pretty easy to throw together for dinner in under 30 minutes. Enjoy!
Easy Sausage and Tortellini Skillet
makes 4 full servings, or 6 side-servings
2 T olive oil
1 lb ground Italian sausage
3 C marinara sauce + 1/2 C water
1 t Italian seasoning
24oz package fresh tortellini (found in the produce/cheese section)
1 C grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 C grated Parmesan cheese
1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Crumble in thawed sausage and cook until there is no longer any pink, and the brown pieces are a little crisp on the bottom. Drain excess oil.
2. Stir in sauce, seasoning, water, and tortellini. Bring mixture to a boil, turn heat down to low, cover and simmer for 6 minutes - until tortellini is tender.
3. Remove from heat, sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan evenly over tortellini. Either 1) stir in the cheese until it's fully melted throughout, or 2) place under a broiler to melt the cheese until bubbly. Either way is delicious, I just don't have a pan that can be broiled safely. Serve hot with a fresh green salad.
Recipe adapted from: Yellow Bliss Road