I’m trying a new recipe today, so I can’t yet say how it’s going to turn out.
I was in the mood for something with an Italian flair. Who doesn’t love Italian, right? Last week I’d fixed linguine with red clam sauce, so I wanted something a bit different. I do like Alfredo, but it just wasn’t what I was looking for. I considered lasagna, but that wasn’t the answer either. It came down to ravioli or tortellini, and when I found this recipe for a cheesy, baked tortellini dish, I quickly added it to the menu.
UPDATE: I’m giving this one mixed reviews. I’d rate it as a 3-star recipe. Any recipe that leaves me with three pans to clean isn’t going to get exceptionally high marks from me. My husband, on the other hand, enthusiastically gave it a glowing 5-star review, going so far as to say, “This is even better than lasagna.” Of course, he doesn’t have to do all those dishes. Between the two of us, it averages out at a solid 4-stars of yumminess, and if you like Italian food, it’s definitely worth trying.
1 pound bulk Italian sausage
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 jar marinara sauce (24 ounces)
1 can Italian-style diced tomatoes (14 ounces)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 package frozen cheese-filled tortellini (9 ounces)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
NOTE: Instead of the garlic powder, I’ll be using minced garlic — about a teaspoon or two. I’m also using tri-color tortellini. I’d planned to purchase mild Italian sausage, but the only option available when I did my shopping was a hot variety.
1. Heat a large pot over medium heat. Crumble sausage into the saucepan; add onion and green bell pepper. Cook and stir the sausage mixture until the sausage is compltely browned, about 7 to 10 minutes. Drain grease. (I’ll be adding my minced garlic during this step.)
2. Pour marinara sauce and diced tomatoes over the sausage mixture; season with garlic powder and stir. (I’ll probably add in a few additional herbs — basil, thyme, oregano — even though the Italian style tomatoes are already seasons with these. I like lots of flavor. ) Bring to a simmer, reduce heat, and cook until the tomatoes break down into the sauce, about 30-45 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. (175 degrees C.) (You’ll probably want to be pre-heating the oven while the sausage/sauce mixture is simmering. That’s my plan.)
4. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook the frozen tortellini at a boil until they float to the top and the filling is hot, about 6 to 7 minutes. Drain.
5. Gently fold the cooked tortellini into the simmering sauce. Cook together for 5 minutes. Pour into a greased 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Top with mozzarella cheese.
6. Bake in preheated oven until cheese is golden brown, about 20-30 minutes.
Makes 8 servings.
To go along with the tortellini, I’m fixing a green salad with artichoke hearts, and I’ll have garlic bread, too.
UPDATE: Here are the little “tweaks” I made. As mentioned above, I did use minced garlic instead of garlic powder. I also added a little basil and a bit of coriander. I used a jar of marinara sauce, although I’m not a fan of sauces in jars. I didn’t simmer as long as directed either. I like chunky Italian sauces. Next time, I might skip the marinara sauce altogether and use only diced tomatoes with lots of Italian seasonings. I did add a touch of olive oil to the water when I boiled the tortellini. Now, about that tortellini. The recipe calls for a 9-ounce package. Maybe that’s standard. The tortellini I buy comes from a popular Kansas City restaurant, and the packages are 20 ounces. I measured out about half and decided that wasn’t nearly enough. So I cooked the entire package. Later I thought I might have overdone it, but my husband loved it. He thought the amount of tortellini in the dish was perfect.