This 20-minute One-Pan Tortellini and Sausage Skillet Dinner is a quick and easy way to change things up on pasta night.

Cast iron skillet with tortellini and sausage, with a serving spoon in it.

Another one-pan dinner for the ages.

When you see the words “one pan” in a recipe title, you already know we’re looking at a fuss-free, no-mess, 30-minutes-or-less kind of dinner. So I’ll cut to the chase. This one-pan tortellini with sausage is different than the rest. We’ve kept it lighter by omitting the usual cream added to tortellini pasta dishes. Also, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, no red sauce! But don’t fret. There’s a brothy, lemony, cheesy goodness here that can’t miss. This dish totally qualifies as comfort food—but the kicker is that it won’t weigh you down.

What is tortellini?

Interchangeable with ravioli most of the time, tortellini is a ring-shaped pocket of pasta. It’s usually filled with a blend of meat, cheese, egg, and nutmeg. Tortellini is commonly used in soup, but it’s also great as an actual pasta dish. You can easily find tortellini in your local grocery store. Check the fresh pasta section first—because that’s the good stuff! But if you don’t have any luck there, you can try the frozen section. This recipe calls for fresh, but I’ll include tips on using frozen tortellini in the tips and tricks section below.

Bowl of fresh tortellini surrounded by ground sausage, broth, lemon, spinach, a red onion, olive oil, and a pepper grinder.

Simple, hearty, flavorsome ingredients. Here’s what that looks like.

In doing research for this recipe, I found that most tortellini and sausage recipes included tomato sauce with heavy cream. Which sounds flippin’ delightful, mind you. But I wanted to stray from that norm and create something lighter with bright lemony flavors in mind. With that, here’s the easy peasy list of tasty ingredients you’ll need to make this dish:

  • Ground Italian sausage (I went mild with mine, but if you’re a sucker for heat, go with a hot sausage!)
  • Olive oil
  • Red onion
  • Garlic
  • Fresh tortellini (I used cheese and spinach-stuffed tortellini,  but you could use any type you please)
  • Chicken broth
  • A lemon, for it’s bright zest and tangy juice
  • Baby spinach
  • Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper

Side by side shots of skillet with ground sausage being cooked.

Side by side shots of tortellini being added to the skillet and cooked.

Ok! Let me tell you how to cook a one-pan tortellini and sausage skillet meal.

In short, the answer to this question is simple: dump everything into a skillet, cook, cover, simmer, garnish, and dig in. So, got 30 minutes? Good. Let’s go.

  1. Warm that skillet. Add the oil, and let it get nice and hot. Add the onions and sauté for about two minutes until they’re slightly soft and aromatic.
  2. Next! Garlic and sausage. Add them both to the skillet and let them cook until the sausage is mostly browned. Be sure to break it down into crumbles with a spoon or spatula as you go.
  3. Add the broth. Give everything a stir and finally, add the fresh tortellini. Gently press the tortellini down into the crumbled sausage and broth, nestling it into the warmth of the skillet so that it can get an even cook. Let the broth come to a gently simmer, then lower the heat and cover the skillet. Let the tortellini cook for the length of “cooking time” suggested in the directions on the packaging. In this case, it was 4 minutes. Covering the skillet allows the tortellini to steam, helping them get nice and tender.
  4. Stir in the greens. Uncover the skillet and stir in the spinach, cheese, and the lemon zest. Let everything cook for an extra minute or two, until the spinach has wilted down.
  5. Finish it off and serve! Remove the skillet from the heat and hit the pasta and sausage with some of that fresh lemon juice. Add some cracked black pepper and finish things off with some extra cheese if you’d like. (Trust me, you’d like.)

Tortellini and sausage in skillet topped with spinach and lemon zest.

Close up of skillet full of ground sausage and tortellini with lemon slices on the side.

Equipment you’ll need:

Recipe tips + tricks:

  1. If you end up using frozen tortellini, follow the same directions, but add on a few minutes of extra cooking time and use a bit less broth since the frozen tortellini will add some moisture and liquid to the skillet.
  2. I’ve used mild sausage here, but you can kick things up by using hot sausage, or sweeten the deal by using a sweet sausage. If you don’t eat pork, go ahead and use ground turkey or chicken sausage!
  3. Because we’re adding broth instead of sauce, the sauce here is definitely more soupy, but shouldn’t be sloppy. There should only be enough broth to offer a nice cozy coating and something to slide your bread through. If you find there’s too much broth, you can drain some from the skillet. But since tortellini was seemingly meant for soup, this whole thing just works.

Hope you enjoy!

If you plan on making this recipe, be sure to snap a pic and tag us on Insta! @killing__thyme.

Close up of skillet full of ground sausage and tortellini with lemon slices on the side.

Get the Recipe:

One-Pan Tortellini and Sausage Skillet Dinner

This 20-minute One-Pan Tortellini and Sausage Skillet Dinner is a quick and easy way to change things up on pasta night.
5 from 2 votes

Ingredients

  • 20 oz fresh cheese tortellini
  • 1 lb ground mild Italian sausage
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups baby spinach, ribboned or torn
  • 1 cup chicken broth, more if needed
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced

Instructions 

  • Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté for about two minutes, or until they've softened and are aromatic.
  • Add the garlic and sausage to the skillet and cook until the sausage is mostly browned, about 5 minutes, breaking it down into crumbles with a spatula as you go.
  • Once the sausage is mostly cooked (you can still have a few pink bits here and there), stir in the broth, and add the tortellini.
  • With a spatula, nestle the tortellini down into the crumbled sausage and broth. Bring the broth to a gentle simmer, then lower the heat and cover the skillet. (Covering the skillet allows the tortellini to steam, helping them get nice and tender.)
  • Let the tortellini cook for as long as suggested on the packaging. Here, it was 4 minutes.
  • When the cooking time is up, remove the lid from the skillet and stir in the spinach, cheese, and lemon zest. Let everything cook for an extra minute or two, allowing the spinach to wilt.
  • Remove the skillet from the heat and add the fresh lemon juice, some cracked black pepper, and some extra cheese if you'd like. Serve immediately.
Calories: 605kcal