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Baked Tortellini

Fresh tortellini baked into a cheesy bed of tomato sauce is one of the tastiest easy bakes. Add Italian sausage, kale, and a little heavy cream and we guarantee you’ll be making this on repeat.

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baked tortellini being scooped out of a baking dish made with Italian sausage ad mozzarella
Photography by Gayle McLeod

Tortellini, Our Favorite Little Cheesy Pasta Pillow

Tortellini are a ring-shaped pasta, filled with cheesy goodness (most frequently a ricotta base with other additions like meat and herbs). They’re sink-your-teeth-into-satisfying, and a plateful with sauce is already a delicious meal, but we step it up a notch by baking them in a bed of tomatoes with cheese and Italian sausage for one of our favorite pasta dishes. Since tortellini aren’t the easiest to make from scratch, there’s tons of variety in the store-bought vertical, and both fresh and frozen will yield great results in this easy tortellini bake.

tortellini, kale, italian sausage, onion, tomato paste, creamy and spices in prep bowl to make baked tortellini

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Easy Homemade Baked Tortellini

Stick a fork in us, because we are done, defeated, ruined for all other easy dinner recipes. This cheesy tortellini and sausage bake is so easy to make it should be criminal. We start with fresh tortellini (no need to boil), and we know what you’re thinking–can you bake frozen tortellini? The answer is heck yeah! Are we your best friends now? You can use any type of tortellini, but a cheese tortellini is a great blank canvas for this baked tortellini recipe.

olive oil, onion, garlic and Italian sausage being cooked in a large pot
olive oil, onion, garlic and Italian sausage, tomato paste, and chicken bouillon being cooked in a large pot
olive oil, onion, garlic and Italian sausage, tomato paste, chicken bouillon and kale being cooked in a large pot
cream being poured into a large pot with onion, garlic, Italian sausage, chicken bouillon, crushed tomatoes & kale

How To Make Baked Tortellini

  1. Warm up your oven to 350°F with a rack in the center position. Lightly grease a casserole dish.

  2. Cook onion, garlic, and sausage in a Dutch oven or other heavy-bottom pot.

  3. Stir in the tomato paste, bouillon, and kale. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, heavy cream, and salt.

  4. Tortellini time: Add the tortellini to the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Pour the kale and tomato mixture over the tortellini and gently stir to combine. Sprinkle it with a little (or a lot!) more mozz.

  5. Up next: how long to bake tortellini. Cover tightly with foil and bake until bubbling, about 35 minutes. Remove the foil and turn on the broiler. Broil until the cheese is lightly browned.

  6. Dive into a bowl of cheesy goodness.

fresh tortellini in a baking dish being sprinkled with shredded mozzarella cheese
tortellini, mozzarella cheese and homemade sauce being combined in a baking dish to make baked tortellini
tortellini and homemade pasta sauce mixed together in a baking dish topped with mozzarella cheese
baked tortellini in a baking dish fresh out of the oven made with italian sausage, kale and mozzarella

What To Serve With Cheesy Baked Tortellini

Olive Garden was onto something with the bottomless breadsticks, endless salads, and house chianti. We would suggest similar! Make our Simple Italian Salad and a loaf of Garlic Bread, and you’ll be fighting off the fans. If you’re feeling like a little soup to start, we recommend something traditional like Zuppa Toscana. And don’t forget the parmesan cheese. You could also serve a dish of Shrimp Scampi (we think you should!). Our Baked Mostaccioli or Manicotti are both great pasta bakes. Finish this meal with our Easy Tiramisu and call it a day!

Tools You’ll Need

Keep The Oven-Baked Goodness Going

baked tortellini fresh from the oven being scooped out of a baking dish with melted cheese dripping off the spoon

Get Out Your Oven Mitts And Get Ready To Bake

Did you make this baked tortellini casserole? Show us your bubbling bakes with a photo or video and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

Baked Tortellini

  • Serves: 8
  • Prep Time:  20 min
  • Cook Time:  1 hr
  • Calories: 554

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound mild Italian sausage
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon chicken flavored bouillon
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1½ teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 bunch kale, stemmed and roughly chopped (about 4 cups)
  • 20 ounces fresh tortellini
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella
  • Grated Parmesan, for serving (optional)
  • Minced flat leaf parsley, for serving (optional)
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the center position. Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish.

  2. Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Once the oil is glistening, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sausage and cook, breaking up the sausage with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes more. Drain off any excess fat.

  3. Stir in the tomato paste, bouillon, and kale until the kale is wilted, about 4 minutes. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, heavy cream, and salt.

  4. Add the tortellini to the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with 1½ cups of the mozzarella. Pour the kale and tomato mixture over the tortellini and gently stir to combine. Sprinkle it with the remaining mozzarella.

  5. Cover tightly with foil and bake until bubbling, about 35 minutes. Remove the foil and turn on the broiler. Broil until the cheese is lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

  6. Divide between bowls and top with Parmesan, parsley, and red pepper flakes, if using, before serving.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories554
  • Protein25 g
  • Carbohydrates28 g
  • Total Fat31 g
  • Dietary Fiber4 g
  • Cholesterol81 mg
  • sodium1350 mg
  • Total Sugars3 g

Baked Tortellini

Questions & Reviews

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  • Laura

    Hi!! If I am using frozen tortellini, should I boil it first before putting it in the 9 x 13 and baking it or will it cook ok in the oven if I put it in frozen? Thanks so much!

    It will probably take longer to bake. We'd reccommend letting it thaw in the fridge before assembling it. Hope you enjoy Laura!

  • Jeanna

    Would you have a recommendation for subbing the chicken bouillon? Thank you!

    There is not a great sub for that in this recipe.

  • Jennifer

    Is it okay to make ahead of time and set in refrigerator before cooking in the oven? Could it be made early and frozen as well?

    Yes, you can make ahead. Let it sit on the counter for about 30 minutes before baking. Yes, you can freeze it.

  • Jessica

    This dish is so rich and delicious! And I’m wondering why I ever bought jarred pasta sauce before when this was so easy and tastes 10X better. This will definitely be a repeat meal in our home!

    Thanks Jessica, we are so glad you loved it!

  • EMT

    YUMMY YUMMY IN MY TUMMY

    Thanks, so happy you enjoyed it!

  • Laura

    Delicious, we all loved it! Great family meal!

    Thanks Laura! We are so happy your family enjoyed it!

  • Merrie

    This is a truly 5-star dish!! Such a simple prep ~ loved the ease of using fresh tortellini straight to the pan. Definitely use the sweet Italian sausage--the sweet fennel flavor blends beautifully with the kale and lends a delightful complexity to this dish. Absolute perfection--and yields a generous amount. Lovely for a dinner party!

    Love this! Good idea!

  • isabella

    this recipe made my day so clenched i almost pooped a little sooooooo goooood i am gonna feed this to my unborn baby

    haha! Glad you enjoyed it Isabella.