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
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
In a large pot of boiling water, cook the tortellini until it’s just done, according to the package directions. Drain and toss with pesto.
In 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.
Add 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. Serves 4-6.