This Italian Sausage and Tortellini Bake is pure comfort food bliss. With a well seasoned tomato sauce and plenty of cheese, it’s a sure hit with all ages.
Best of all, it only takes a few minutes of hands on time, then your trusty oven does the rest!
Sausage and pasta are a great match, am I right? Whether Italian classics like Pasta alla Norcina or flavor fusion dishes like Kielbasa Pasta or Jambalaya Pasta, they’re two ingredients that are just meant to go together.
Today, we’re sticking with a traditional Italian theme, and turning it into a cheesy baked masterpiece.
Why This Recipe Works
- Flavorful Base: The Italian sausage adds a rich and savory depth to the dish. The spices and herbs in the sausage complement the other Italian seasonings used, making sure your meal is packed with flavor.
- Cheesy Goodness: The use of both mozzarella and parmesan cheeses adds a double dose of cheesiness.
- One-Pan Convenience: The entire dish is prepared in one skillet, from stovetop to oven, making both preparation and cleanup easier. This makes it perfect for weeknight dinners, or when cooking for a crowd.
- Versatility and Customization: This recipe is adaptable. You can adjust the level of spice, swap out the sausage for another protein, or add more veggies to suit your taste.
- Leftover Friendly: This dish is great as leftovers, so don’t hesitate to make a big batch. It also freezes very well.
For a complete list, along with exact measurements, see the recipe card at the end of the post. Here are the main things you’re going to need to make this cheesy baked tortellini:
- Italian Sausage – You can go with mild or spicy, depending on your preference. For a little lighter dish, feel free to use chicken or turkey Italian sausage. Use either bulk, or links with the casings removed.
- Cherry Tomatoes – Sometimes we make the same dish without them, but we like the freshness and sweetness they add.
- Tomato Sauce – Acts as the base of the dish, providing moisture and richness. If using jarred spaghetti sauce, omit the added herbs.
- Dried Herbs (Basil, Parsley, Oregano, Thyme) – A classic Italian herb blend. Fresh herbs can be used if you have them, but use triple the amount because dried are more potent.
- Fresh Spinach – Adds color, nutrition, and a slight earthy flavor. It wilts down significantly, so don’t worry about the initial volume.
- Cheese Tortellini – We use refrigerated because they are both fresher and more convenient. If using frozen or dried, first cook the tortellini al dente, according to the directions on the package. After assembling the casserole, reduce baking time to 15 minutes, to avoid overcooking the tortellini.
- Mozzarella and Parmesan Cheese – Mozzarella offers a gooey, melty quality, while parmesan adds a sharp, salty flavor. Please use freshly grated.
Easy Baked Sausage and Tortellini Recipe
1. Brown the sausage: In an oven safe skillet, brown up the sausage with a little olive oil. Remove to a plate.
2. Blister tomatoes: Add cherry tomatoes into the pan and sauté for a few minutes, until they start to blister. Add in garlic for a minute or two.
3. Build the sauce: Stir in tomato sauce, water, and all herbs. Bring to a simmer, then stir in sausage and spinach.
4. Tortellini and cheese: Stir in tortellini and mix until everything is well combined. Top with mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
Optionally, you can remove the foil and broil it for a few minutes at the end to brown up the cheese.
- Add Extra Vegetables like roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, mushrooms or olives.
- Try Different Cheeses like ricotta, goat cheese, or Gouda for varied flavors.
- Swap Spinach with Kale or Swiss Chard for a different green.
- Create a Creamy Sauce by adding cream or cream cheese to the tomato sauce.
- Mix in Pesto with the tomato sauce for an herby twist.
- Adjust Spice Levels with more or less chili flakes, or add cayenne for extra heat.
Leftovers and Storage
This tortellini bake is great as leftovers. You can cover your casserole tightly with cling wrap and refrigerate for 3-4 days. Reheat on the stovetop with an extra splash of water.
It also freezes well, so makes a great meal prep option. I like to break leftovers into individual portions, wrap in cling wrap, put the wrapped portions into zip top bags, and freeze. Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.
A Few Tips
- Brown the Sausage Well: Make sure to brown the Italian sausage thoroughly. This not only cooks the sausage but also adds a depth of flavor to the dish due to the caramelization.
- Cheese Matters: Always shred the cheese yourself. Pre-shredded cheese contains additives that prevent it from melting nicely.
- Taste and Adjust Seasonings: Before adding the tortellini into the sauce, taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings to your preference.
- Monitor the Baking Time: Keep an eye on the dish while it’s in the oven, as oven temperatures can vary. You want the tortellini to be cooked through and the cheese to be bubbly and slightly browned.
- Let it Rest: Allow the dish to rest for a few minutes after removing it from the oven. This rest period helps the flavors meld together and makes it easier to serve.
Try our easy baked sausage and tortellini, we bet you’re going to love it.
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Italian Sausage Tortellini Bake, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 pound Italian sausage
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 3 cups tomato sauce
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp red chili flakes
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- 3oz fresh spinach
- 1.5 cups water
- 22oz refrigerated cheese tortellini (see note 1)
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Heat olive oil in a 12-14 inch oven safe skillet over medium high heat.
- Add sausage and brown until no pink remains, breaking the meat up with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Remove to a plate.
- Add cherry tomatoes into the pan and sauté for a few minutes, until they start to blister.
- Add in garlic and cook for a minute or two.
- Stir in tomato sauce, water, and all herbs. Bring to a simmer, then stir in sausage and spinach.
- Stir in tortellini and mix until everything is well combined. Top with mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
- Cover with foil and bake about 20 minutes, or until tortellini is cooked.
- If desired, remove foil at the end and broil a few minutes to brown up cheese.
- Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.
- We use refrigerated because they are both fresher and more convenient. If using frozen or dried, first cook the tortellini al dente, according to the directions on the package. After assembling the casserole, reduce baking time to 15 minutes, to avoid overcooking the tortellini.
- Always shred the cheese yourself. Pre-shredded cheese contains additives that prevent it from melting nicely.
Nutrition InformationYield 8 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 558Total Fat 28gSaturated Fat 12gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 17gCholesterol 81mgSodium 1447mgCarbohydrates 48gFiber 4gSugar 6gProtein 29g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Welcome to GypsyPlate! I'm Alpana, former wordwide tour manager and professional caterer, now full time blogger. I love exploring cuisines from around the world, and my recipes have been featured on sites such as MSN, Parade, Brit + Co, CNET and AOL. You can explore my entire collection of sortable recipes in my Recipe Index or learn more about me here.
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