It may be the hottest part of summer, but it’s always a good time for cheese tortellini with sausage ragu. This is the ultimate comfort food recipe.
I’ve been in a little bit of a funk lately and just haven’t had the energy or time to cook. I actually made this incredible cheese tortellini with sausage ragu a few weeks ago but am just now getting around to posting the recipe. Honestly, I find myself craving this meal weeks after I made it because it’s just a bowl of absolute comfort.
How to Make this Cheese Tortellini with Sausage Ragu:
To make this cheese tortellini with sausage ragu, you start with a very simple ragu recipe. My recipe starts with finely minced carrots, celery, and onion. I add finely minced mushrooms to add an even meatier, earthier flavor to the ragu. From there, I load it up with garlic.
I remove the minced aromatics from the pot and cook loose hot sausage and ground beef to the pot. You can use all sausage, all beef, all pork, or any combination of the three. Although I love the flavor of sausage, I like to use a leaner ground beef to cut down on the fat a bit.
After the meat has completely cooked through, I let it drain on paper towels. Once the meat has drained off a bit, add the vegetables and meat back to the pot. After they cook up again for a minute or two, I deglaze with red wine. You can use beef stock or even chicken stock, but I love the jammy flavor you get from red wine in this ragu.
After you’ve added the red wine, let it cook down a bit and scrape up all that fond flavor bomb on the bottom. Add in crushed tomatoes, and 1-2 cups of beef stock. After that, it’s just about letting it cook for around 1 hour, but you can let it go for 2 if you want. I like to let the excess liquid cook down so I have a thick, hearty ragu.
Now, admittedly, cooking ragu on a weeknight is a task enoguh so I’m not about making homemade tortellini on a Wednesday, so I used store bought. Of course, if you feel up to the task, prepare your own homemade tortellini! Alton Brown has a great recipe!
After your ragu is finished, toss the cooked tortellini with as much ragu as you like and serve with grated parmesan cheese and freshly cracked pepper. Mama! It’s absolutely heavenly.
Looking for more pasta recipes? Check my archives!
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Cheese Tortellini with Sausage Ragu
- Wide pot
- Large pot
- 1 tablespoon neutral cooking oil plus more, if needed
- 3 carrots peeled and finely minced
- 3 ribs celery trimmed and finely minced (mince the leaves, too, if there are any)
- 1 yellow onion peeled and finely minced
- 12 ounces mushrooms trimmed and finely minced
- 6 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound hot Italian sausage loose (or remove casings from sausage links)
- ½ cup red wine or beef stock
- 28 ounces canned crushed tomatoes
- Pinch of sugar if needed
- 1-2 cups beef stock more or less, as necessary
- Salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper to taste
- 16 ounces store-bought tortellini
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Fresh cracked black pepper
Cook the Aromatics:
- Start the sausage ragu by sautéing the aromatics. Heat the oil in a wide pot over medium heat. Add the carrots, onion, and celery (diced ribs and leaves) and cook for 8-10 minutes until softened and turning golden brown on the edges. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the finely minced mushrooms to the pot and cook for an additional 8-10 minutes until the mushrooms release their liquid and the liquid evaporates. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute until fragrant. Season with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper to taste.
- Remove the cooked aromatics and mushrooms from the pot and transfer to a bowl. Set aside.
Cook the Meat:
- If the pot is too dry, add a touch more oil over medium heat. Add the sausage and beef and cook for 10-15 minutes, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until it is completely cooked through and begins to develop a golden-brown crust on the pieces. Remove from the pan and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain off the excess fat. Drain off all but a few teaspoons of fat in the pot, but don't remove the fond stuck to the bottom.
Finish the Ragu:
- Return the cooked meat and vegetables to the pot over high heat. Once they begin to sizzle and brown around the edges (about 1-2 minutes), deglaze the pot with red wine and scrape up all the browned bits stuck to the bottom. Bring to a boil for 3-4 minutes until the wine reduces slightly.
- Add the crushed tomatoes and 1-2 cups of beef stock. Add a pinch of sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 1-2 hours until the ragu is thickened. Stir the ragu occasionally and add more beef stock, if necessary, to loosen up the ragu. Taste and season with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper.
Cook the Tortellini:
- About 20 minutes before the ragu is done, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the tortellini according to package instructions. I recommend cooking about 1-2 minutes under the instructions since you'll toss the tortellini with the ragu for a minute or so after they've cooked.
- Drain the tortellini and set aside.
- Toss the cooked tortellini with the ragu over low heat for 1-2 minutes. Turn off the heat.
- Divide the cooked tortellini with ragu between plates and garnish with parmesan cheese and fresh cracked black pepper. Enjoy!