Tortellini with Italian Sausage, Fennel and Mushrooms

Prep Time: 1 Hour
6–8 Servings


The Italians contributed many unique pasta and meat combinations to the Louisiana table. Often game sausages were substituted in this wonderful dish. Try adding smoked venison or Italian wild boar sausage to this recipe.


1 (16-ounce) package fresh tortellini with three-cheese filling

1 pound spicy Italian sausage, casings removed and sausage coarsely crumbled

1 small fennel bulb, trimmed, halved and thinly sliced length wise, reserving fronds or leaves

1 (8-ounce) package fresh crimini mushrooms, sliced

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup minced purple shallots

6 large garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced

1/4 cup minced red bell pepper

1/4 cup minced yellow bell pepper

1 tsp fennel seeds, coarsely crushed

1 cup chicken stock

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1 (5-ounce) package fresh baby spinach leaves

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

salt and black pepper to taste

granulated garlic to taste


In a large stockpot, bring 1 gallon of lightly salted water to a low boil. While water is coming to a boil, place olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage crumbles and saute until lightly browned, 5–7 minutes. Add sliced fennel, mushrooms, shallots, sliced garlic and bell peppers then saute 10–12 minutes longer, stirring occasionally. Stir in fennel seeds and cook 1–2 minutes. Stir in chicken stock, add cream then bring to a boil until liquid is reduced and slightly thickened, 3–5 minutes. While liquid is reducing, cook tortellini according to package directions then drain and return to the same pot. When cream is thickened, add mixture to the tortellini, tossing over medium heat to blend well. Add spinach leaves and stir quickly to wilt into the mixture. Add Parmesan cheese, stirring well, then season lightly with salt, pepper and granulated garlic. Garnish with chopped fennel fronds for that touch of fresh herbs.