You can leave the meat out of this meal and it's just as good. It's hearty and filling without it. You can also sub chicken if you prefer.
Deglazing the Pan
Deglazing is the process of using an acidic liquid such as wine to loosen the cooked-on bits from the bottom of the pan. Those little bits are full of flavor. If you use wine, the alcohol will cook out.
Makes: 8 good-sized servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 4 hours
Total time from start to finish: 4.25 hours
What you need:
2 TBS olive oil (I used roasted garlic and rosemary olive oil in my video, recipe coming!)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 lb Italian sausage (optional, see the note above)
3 cloves garlic, or to taste, minced
1/4 cup red wine (can sub with chicken broth)
1 can stewed tomatoes (can sub with any canned tomato product)
1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes (can sub with any canned tomato product)
4 cups chicken broth or chicken stock, or water and the appropriate amount of bullion (I used Better than Boullion in my video)
2 TBS tomato paste
1 TBS Italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, optional
4 cups cheese tortellini, fresh, frozen or dry
3 cups spinach, packed, or more to taste
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 cup heavy cream, half-and-half, or milk, warmed
A handful of sun-dried tomatoes (optional)
Additional salt and pepper to taste (wait until the end to add this. If you use cooking wine, that has a lot of salt, as does the parmesan cheese and the bullion if you used any.)
In a skillet, add 2 TBS olive oil and the Italian sausage and onion. Cook over medium-high meat, breaking up the meat with a spatula. As soon as the meat starts to brown, add garlic. Cook until garlic is soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add wine to the skillet and scrape the bottom of the pan. Cook 2-3 minutes or until the brown residue on the pan melts into the meat. If you use wine, it shouldn't smell "boozy" anymore. Place mixture in the bottom of your slow cooker.
On top of the meat, add your canned tomatoes, tomato paste, seasonings, and broth. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 4-6.
Add tortellini, spinach, cream, and parmesan, and sun-dried tomatoes if using. Cover and cook another 10-15 minutes or until tortellini is tender. Taste for salt level and add more if needed. Serve.