The whole crew ate this one up. I have no explanation as to why Manu will turn his nose up at butternut squash but happily eat fennel and spinach. My best guess is that he has decided it’s his prerogative do whatever suits him and exercises this self-bestowed right without rhyme or reason. I’m willing to bet that next time I prepare it, he won’t even looks at it.
Notes: I used spicy chicken sausage and skipped the cheese. I love cheese, but I used up what I had on hand earlier this week. I honestly thought it was quite yummy without it and will probably opt to leave it out next time. Enjoy!
Tortellini with Sausage, Fennel, and Mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large fennel bulb, trimmed, halved through core, thinly sliced lengthwise (about 3 cups), fronds chopped
- 1 pound spicy Italian sausages, casings removed, sausage coarsely crumbled
- 1 8-ounce package sliced fresh crimini (baby bella) mushrooms
- 4 large garlic cloves, pressed
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, coarsely crushed
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup (or more) low-salt chicken broth
- 1 16-ounce package dried tortellini with pesto filling or fresh tortellini with 3-cheese filling
- 1 5-ounce package fresh baby spinach leaves
- 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese plus additional (for serving)
Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced fennel bulb, sausage, and mushrooms; sauté until sausage is brown and cooked through and fennel is almost tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Add garlic and fennel seeds; stir 1 minute. Stir in cream, then 1 cup broth; boil until liquid is reduced and very slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook tortellini in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain tortellini; return to same pot.
Add sausage mixture to tortellini in pot. Toss over medium heat until blended. Add spinach; toss gently until spinach wilts. Stir in 1/2 cup cheese; add more broth by 1/4 cupfuls to moisten if dry. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with chopped fennel fronds, and serve, passing additional cheese.
Recipe and photo from Bon Appetit Magazine December 2010