- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- ½ lb. ground sausage, hot or sweet
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup half and half
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated and at room temp.
- 1 heaping Tablespoon cream cheese, at room temp.
- 3/4 pound refrigerated tortellini, see notes for other pasta options
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/3 cup firmly packed basil leaves, chiffonade
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes, optional
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.
- Add the sausage, cook and crumble until brown and cooked through. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Drain any grease from the pan and reduce the heat to medium. Melt the butter. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the chicken broth and half and half. Increase heat and bring to a boil, then decrease heat to a simmer.
- Gradually sprinkle in the Parmesan cheese, whisking well to incorporate.
- Whisk in the cream cheese until incorporated. It melts smoothly when at room temperature.
- Add the tortellini and then the tomatoes. Stir gently to combine into the sauce.
- Let it bubble gently, uncovered, until cooked through. Refer to package for exact time frame, typically 4-7 minutes.
- Stir in the basil leaves and add the sausage back to the pan. Add red pepper flakes if desired.
- Turn off the heat. The sauce will continue to thicken upon standing.
- Serve and enjoy!
Using Dry Pasta
The amount of liquid in this sauce is based upon using refrigerated pasta. Dry pasta requires more liquid and cooking time. To use dry pasta such as Penne or Farfalle:
- Boil 3/4 pound of pasta separately for 5 minutes less than instructed on package.
- Drain and transfer to this sauce.
- Let it gently bubble, uncovered, for the remaining 5 minutes, or until it’s reached your desired texture.
Other Substitutions Options:
- Ground turkey or beef may be used instead of sausage.
- Heavy cream may be used instead of half and half. I don’t recommend milk as that can curdle during the cooking process and the sauce will be much thinner.
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes may also be used instead of cherry tomatoes.
- Up to 2 cups fresh spinach may be used instead of basil. Frozen spinach that’s been thawed and drained works well too.
Calories: 691kcal, Carbohydrates: 44g, Protein: 29g, Fat: 45g, Saturated Fat: 20g, Cholesterol: 127mg, Sodium: 1251mg, Potassium: 359mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 904IU, Vitamin C: 14mg, Calcium: 353mg, Iron: 3mg