Baked Tortellini with Sausage, Fennel and Mushrooms, a Maria Loggia recipe. | ALENA KIRBY

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Summer’s tomato, basil and fresh mozzarella give way to the winter flavours and textures of fennel, sausage, mushroom and Gruyère cheese in this ultimate pasta al forno. It is perfect for entertaining or bringing to potluck gatherings.

Tortellini al Forno con Salsicce, Finocchio e Funghi

Recette de Célébrez avec Maria Loggia, Cardinal, tortellinis au four avec saucisses, fenouil et champignons
Recipe from Everyday Celebrations with Maria Loggia, Cardinal


  • 6 tbsp (90 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb (450 g) Italian sausage, casing removed, meat crumbled
  • 1 large fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced, fronds reserved
  • 8 oz (227 g) cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) black peppercorns
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 ½ cups (375 ml) chicken broth
  • 1 lb (450 g) baby spinach, blanched and drained well
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste



  • 1 ¼ cups (310 ml) milk
  • ¾ cup (180 ml) 35% whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (250 ml) grated Gruyère cheese
  • 2 egg yolks. Lightly beaten
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste



  • 1 lb (450 g) fresh tortellini (meat or cheese filled)
  • ½ cup (125 ml) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus extra to finish
  • Pinch piment d’Espelette or ground chili pepper (optional)
  • Finest quality extra-virgin olive oil



Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).

In a large skillet, heat 4 tbsp (60 ml) of the olive oil on medium-high heat. Add sausage nd sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, breaking up meat with a fork. Add fennel and mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Sauté until sausage and mushrooms are browned and fennel is tender, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a mortar and pestle, grind fennel seeds with black pepper. Add garlic and salt and continue mixing until a smooth paste forms. Mix in remaining 2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil. Add the fennel paste to the sausage mixture along with the broth and cook, uncovered, for another 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in spinach and heat through, 1 to 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

To prepare cheese béchamel sauce: Measure milk and cream in a large measuring cup. Melt butter in a medium-size sauce pan over medium heat. Add flour and stir with a whisk until lump-free. In a thin stream, add some of the milk-cream mixture, stirring with a whisk until well absorbed. Repeat, making sure each addition has been well absorbed before adding more liquid. When all the liquid has been added, cook 5 minutes more, until thickened.   Remove from heat and stir in cheese. Whisk in egg yolks and season with salt and pepper. Transfer béchamel to a large bowl, add sausage mixture to combine.

Meanwhile, cook tortellini in a large pot of boiling salted water until just al dente. (Do not cook more than this, as they will bake further in the oven.) Drain tortellini and add to the bowl with sausage mixture and béchamel. Toss until well combined. Lightly oil 14-inch (35 cm) round earthenware tiella or baking dish. Add tortellini mixture to tiella, top with Parmigiano and season with piment d’Espelette, if using. Cover and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until tortellini are heated through and Parmigiano has melted. Remove cover and broil for 1 to 2 minutes, until golden brown. Let rest 5 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with reserved fennel fronds and extra Parmigiano, then drizzle with olive oil.




This dish can be assembled up to two days ahead and baked just before serving. Perfect when entertaining as it frees u tie to prepare other dishes.


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