Tortellini adds special touch to soup

By Lisa Boykin Batts
Posted 5/7/19

I don’t cook with Italian turkey sausage very often for a very good (to me) reason.

The recipes I use are for ground Italian sausage, not link, which means I have to squeeze the sausage out of …

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Tortellini adds special touch to soup

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I don’t cook with Italian turkey sausage very often for a very good (to me) reason.

The recipes I use are for ground Italian sausage, not link, which means I have to squeeze the sausage out of the casings (unless my husband is at home, then he does it for me) and then brown the sausage. I don’t like squeezing sausage from the casings. In fact, I really hate squeezing it out because I have this thing about handling raw meat, especially if it gets under my fingernails.

On a recent grocery store trip, I saw Italian turkey sausage in a 1-pound chub package. I thought about buying it that day and putting it in the freezer for the next time I had a recipe that called for Italian sausage, but I knew if I did, I’d never remember it, or it would be frozen solid when I did need it, and I would end up throwing it away in a year or so when I cleaned out the freezer.

But I did remember that turkey Italian sausage last week when I decided to make a very delicious soup I saw at damndelicious.net. Oh my goodness, this soup is so good and takes only 30 minutes to make.

I’ve tried quite a few of Chungah Rhee’s recipes over the years (and loved them) and keep meaning to get her new “Damn Delicious Meal Prep” cookbook. Look up the website or check out her recipes on Instagram if you’re not familiar with her gorgeous food photos and tasty recipes.

Back to the soup.

I was first drawn to this soup by the photo on Rhee’s website. The tender tortellini swimming in a creamy tomato sauce won me over. I seldom cook with tortellini, not sure why, but this recipe will make me buy it more often.

The recipe is so easy to follow. There aren’t that many steps before you are eating.

I followed the recipe making very few changes. I didn’t use olive oil (or anything else) to brown the sausage, I used oregano and a little dried basil instead of Italian seasoning, and I used spinach instead of kale. For the first time this growing season, I was able to use fresh basil from my growing plant. Always love doing that.

I couldn’t wait for my husband to get home to try this soup. We both devoured our serving, eating it with a slice of crusty bread. The next day for lunch, we both hurried home to have another bowl and both agreed it was even better as leftovers.

Thanks, Chungah, for the recipe, and thanks to Jennie-O for the Italian sausage!


1 tablespoon olive oil (I omitted)

1 pound Italian sausage, casing removed (I used ground turkey Italian sausage in a chub package)

3 cloves garlic, minced (or to taste)

1 medium sweet onion, diced

2 teaspoons Italian seasoning (I used a combination of dried oregano and dried basil)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

4 cups chicken stock

1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

1 (9-ounce) package refrigerated three cheese tortellini

1/2 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves chopped (I used fresh spinach)

1/3 cup heavy cream

3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Heat olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add Italian sausage and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the sausage as it cooks; drain excess fat.

Stir in garlic, onion and Italian seasoning. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions have become translucent, about 2-3 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute.

Gradually whisk in chicken stock and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced and slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

Stir in tortellini; cover and cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes.

Stir in kale until wilted, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in heavy cream and basil until heated through, about 1 minute; season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Serve immediately.

Chungah Rhee | Damndelicious.net