Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Tortellini With Italian Sausage, Fennel, and Mushrooms

It's election day!  Two stories:
1. When I checked in to vote, the cute little old man was finding my name.  After looking at my ballot, he said, "So, your first name is Frank" and looked up.  I smiled at him as he quickly realized that my first name is not Frank, clearly.  Although, I could be the girl named Frank like the boy named Sue.  The two of us would be unstoppable.  Too bad dear ol' Johnny Cash has passed on.  He'd be behind me 100% for a new song about a girl named Frank.

2.  I'm not too big into politics, but luckily, my husband is, so he filled out my ballot.  However, when I was on my way to vote, I saw a candidate's sign on the side of the road with some brightly-colored helium balloons flying around in the wind.  I read whose sign it was and made up my mind that I'm voting for that person.  Balloons are fun, so clearly, so is the politician that put up those balloons.  Don't you think that politics needs a little more fun?!  I'd like to see this taken to the next level.  Freshly baked brownies next to campaign signs.  Massage therapists willing to work their magic while spewing a candidates views on political issues.  Heck, if one of them offered a plate of this tasty pasta for a vote, I'd give my vote in a heartbeat!  This stuff is amazing.  The sausage gives it a little heat, the cream gives you the advantage of gaining some winter padding, the fennel adds a delicious new taste, and the spinach provides some nutrition.  And the cheese... well, it's cheese!  My husband and I loved this meal so... very... much.

Tortellini with Italian Sausage, Fennel, and Mushrooms photo

Tortellini with Italian Sausage, Fennel, and Mushrooms

1 T olive oil
1 large fennel bulb, trimmed, halved through the core, thinly sliced lengthwise, about 3 cups
1 lb. Italian sausage, casings removed, sausage coarsely crumbled
1 8 oz. package of mushrooms
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 T fennel seeds
1/2 c heavy cream
1 c. low sodium chicken broth
16 oz. tortellini
5 oz. package of fresh baby spinach
1/2 c Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the sliced fennel, sausage, and mushrooms.  Cook until the sausage is cooked through- 12 to 15 minutes. Add garlic and fennel seeds; stir 1 minute.  Stir in the cream and chicken broth. Boil until the liquid is reduced and very slightly thickened- 2 to 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the tortellini according to package directions for al dente.  Drain.  Return the tortellini to the same pot.

Add the sausage mixture to the pot with the tortellini.  Toss over medium heat until blended.  Add spinach and toss for a couple minutes until the spinach is slightly wilted.  Stir in 1/2 c Parmesan cheese.  Add 1/4 c mozzarella if you love extra cheese.  Season with salt and pepper.

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