Tortellini with Mushrooms, Spinach and Italian Sausage

I know you guys are all gaga over one-dish dinner ideas, and I’ve got a good one for ya. Everyone devoured this, and Mike asked if there was any way it could be put into regular rotation. It seems to me the sort of thing that might make most husbands happy, if I may generalize here.

Again, my inspiration came from desperation – to use the last of two tubs of baby spinach and some mushrooms that had not quite shriveled up and died. It could have taken a handful of grape tomatoes, or some chopped red pepper; any number of wilting veg would do well here. W always begs for cheese tortellini, one of his first toddler foods that still seems toddler-ish in my mind, but not here. It came together in under 20 minutes and the result was like an upscale Hamburger Helper of sorts. It should be noted that it took less time to prepare than HH, and didn’t come out of a box, nor was it any shade of florescent orange. It fed five of us, happily.

The recipe started here, but let’s face it – I never have fennel bulbs and fronds in my house. Too licoricey. It could, however, make use of any number of pasta-friendly ingredients.

Tortellini with Mushrooms, Spinach and Italian Sausage


March 13, 2012

  • Makes: Serves 4-6.


1 lb pkg. fresh 3 cheese tortellini

a big spoonful (or two) of pesto

1 lb. (2-3) mild or spicy Italian sausages

2 cups sliced mushrooms

a few garlic cloves, chopped or crushed (optional)

1/2 cup chicken stock or water

1/2-1 cup cream (half & half or heavy)

a few handfuls torn baby spinach

grated Parmesan cheese, for serving


1In a large pot of boiling water, cook the tortellini until it's just done, according to the package directions. Drain and toss with pesto.

2In a large, heavy skillet set over medium-high heat, heat a drizzle of oil and squeeze the sausage out of its casing into the pan. Sauté, breaking the meat up with a spoon, until it's about halfway cooked; add the mushrooms and garlic and cook until the meat is no longer pink and any excess moisture has cooked off. Add the stock or water and stir to scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan, then stir in the cream. Cook for a few minutes, stirring, until the sauce thickens slightly.

3Add the tortellini to the pan and tear in the spinach. Cook, stirring, for another minute or two, until everything is heated through and the spinach wilts. Serve in shallow bowls topped with Parmesan cheese.


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23 comments on “Tortellini with Mushrooms, Spinach and Italian Sausage

  1. CathyH
    March 13, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Loooooove Italian food! I amy have to try this. I am making Chicken Parmesan tonight and may have to add my almost wilting spinach to it. Thanks again for the inspiration!

  2. CathyH
    March 13, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    That would be “MAY” have to try this. AMY is nowhere to be found……………

  3. Kindra
    March 13, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    This sounds absolutely freakin’ fantastic Julie!

  4. Barb
    March 13, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    This looks really good! Yum.

  5. Cathy N
    March 13, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    Oh yes! This is absolutely just what I like to cook and hubby Bill loves to eat… DONE — dinner tomorrow!

  6. Laurie from Burnaby
    March 14, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    I can’t eat pasta, but this looks great without it. Sort of sausage and spinach toss. I’ll have to try it

  7. Sara {Home is Where the Cookies Are}
    March 15, 2012 at 4:44 am

    Does everyone always end up with half-full (half empty?) cartons of almost wilted spinach in their fridge?? I totally always have that. And I still insist, when I buy it, on believing that THIS time we’ll eat it all.
    This looks fantastic!
    I also have an aversion to fennel, so your adaptation looks perfect to me!
    Thanks for your comment at Home is Where the Cookies Are! So nice to hear from you!

  8. Emilovey
    March 16, 2012 at 11:54 am

    I’m making this tonight and am incredibly excited. 🙂

  9. JulieVR
    March 16, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Yay! I’m so excited for you!

  10. Annette
    March 19, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    I think I will try this next week

  11. Erin
    March 19, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    I made it tonight and my whole family LOVED it!! And that’s a miracle!! Thank you!

  12. Anonymous
    March 25, 2012 at 4:43 am

    what pesto do i use? i will try this tomorrow night for dinner

  13. JulieVR
    March 25, 2012 at 9:04 am

    Any kind – basil, sun dried tomato – I used jarred basil pesto. Yum!

  14. Daniela
    April 2, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    Found your recipe on Foodgawker.com. Just made it and it was delicious! Fast, easy and family friendly. Everyone loved it. Thanks so much

  15. SnoWhite @ Finding Joy in My Kitchen
    April 3, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    We made this tonight, sans the pesto (allergies) and it was great! We added in red pepper and used our favorite white sauce (made with beans). Thanks for the recipe inspiration!

  16. Erin
    April 19, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    Having problems getting it thick with the cream? Suggestions??

  17. Charlie
    February 23, 2013 at 7:28 am

    I have given up pasta and nuts for a while, so I added basil and parsley for the pesto. Then because we have been trying to expand our horizons I used mustard greens for the spinach. I covered it after adding the mushrooms so I left the stock out after cooking down the mushroom juice and added the cream. This dish was terrific. Thanks so much for the inspiration.

    • Julie
      February 24, 2013 at 8:25 am

      Wow, that sounds fantastic! thank YOU for the inspiration!

  18. Becky
    March 5, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    Had this for dinner tonight (we skipped the mushrooms and used ground sausage)….it was delish! Thanks for the inspiration!

  19. Melanie
    March 6, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    Made this tonight. Left out mushrooms and fennel. Added red pepper. Excellent!

  20. MJ
    April 20, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    That looks amazing! Thank you for the recipe.

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