Here’s an absolutely effortless pasta meal that you can have on the dinner table in just over 30 minutes. Bubble Up Tortellini with Creamy Meat Sauce is loaded with cheese tortellini, Italian sausage, and creamy marinara sauce, all decked out with shredded mozzarella on top.
Also known as the wildly popular Tortellini Pasta with Meat Sauce on TikTok, this one-skillet meal is just 8 ingredients and makes a huge batch of creamy and rich pasta your family will love.
Bubble Up Tortellini with Creamy Meat Sauce Recipe
What to love
- Everybody seems to adore this pasta casserole – it’s meaty, cheesy, and luscious – total comfort food.
- You can use any type of ground meat in place of the Italian sausage – ground beef, ground turkey, ground bison….you get the drift.
- This recipe will serve a large crowd, so it’s perfect for a hungry crew of folks. And, if there’s leftovers they reheat well the next day.
- Ground Italian sausage – may substitute any ground meat you prefer
- Oregano leaves
- Your favorite marinara sauce
- Milk or cream
- Cream cheese, may substitute one-third less fat cream cheese, but no no-fat cream cheese
- Refrigerated cheese tortellini
- Shredded mozzarella
- Grated Parmesan
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS FOR MAKING BUBBLE UP TORTELLINI WITH CREAMY MEAT SAUCE
**PRINT THE FULL RECIPE FROM THE RECIPE CARD AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST
In a large, deep skillet (I prefer my 12-inch Lodge cast iron skillet) over medium high heat, cook and crumble the Italian sausage and oregano until no pink remains; drain any fats that accumulate.
Over medium heat, add the cream cheese chunks to the cooked sausage, gently stirring to allow the cream cheese to melt.
Once the cream cheese is fully incorporated, slowly stir in the marinara sauce until well combined. Add the milk to the empty jar of marinara and shake well; add to the meat mixture in the skillet.
Gently fold the cooked tortellini into the meat mixture.
Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese over the top.
Bake the tortellini, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes or until hot and bubbly throughout. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.
Serve with grated Parmesan cheese, as desired.
WHAT IS TORTELLINI PASTA?
Tortellini is a ring-shaped pasta that is filled with cheese, meat, or vegetables.
WHERE DO YOU FIND TORTELLINI AT THE GROCERY STORE?
It is available dried and found in the dried pasta section of the grocery store OR you can purchase fresh tortellini (such as for this recipe) in the refrigerated or frozen section of the grocery store.
ARE TORTELLINI AND TORTELLONI THE SAME THING?
Tortelloni is the same shape as tortellini, just larger in size.
ARE TORTELLINI PASTA THE SAME AS RAVIOLI?
No. Ravioli are usually square in shape, with a flat underside and a rounded top. Tortellini are ring-shaped. They are both stuffed with a filling which is usually meat or cheese.
HOW LONG WILL PACKAGED TORTELLINI KEEP IN THE FREEZER?
I find it very convenient to have fresh tortellini stored in my freezer for when I need a quick meal. Because it is sold in the freezer section of the grocer, it comes in pretty heavy-duty packaging and will keep well for up to 3-4 months in the freezer at home. I’ve used tortellini that’s been in my freezer for up to 6 months with no problem.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF A SKILLET IS OVEN-PROOF?
Such a valid question. You can check with the manufacturer’s website, since this type of info is typically noted there. Or, check out the bottom of your skillet; there is often an oven-safe symbol on the bottom. The best oven-safe materials are metal pans, such as stainless steel and cast iron. Avoid putting pans into the oven that have wooden or plastic handles. Silicone handles can be wrapped in foil to be oven-safe.
IS TORTELLINI ONLY SERVED WARM?
Once tortellini is cooked, it can be used in baked pasta dishes like this recipe or in chilled pasta salads like Tortellini Pasta Salad with Tomatoes, Basil and Corn – a summer favorite! We also love tortellini baked in white sauce!
CAN YOU ASSEMBLE BUBBLE UP TORTELLINI AHEAD AND BAKE IT LATER?
Yes, thank goodness. I love to do this
DOES BUBBLE UP TORTELLINI FREEZE WELL?
It sure does. I like to make two pans at once, then freeze one to bake fresh later on. When freezing this pasta dish, I put it into a heavy-duty aluminum 9×13 pan that is wrapped well with foil when it goes into the freezer. To bake, thaw the pasta completely in refrigeration (this will take 36-48 hours since the pasta is so dense) then bake as per directed in the recipe, adding 15-20 minutes to the baking time since the pasta will be cold from being in refrigeration.
HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN THIS CASSEROLE IS HOT AT THE CENTER? WHAT IS A SAFE INTERNAL TEMPERATURE WHEN BAKING CASSEROLES?
I like to use an instant-read meat thermometer to test my casseroles when I’m baking them for dinner. Just insert the probe into the very center of the casserole, taking care not to touch the bottom or sides of the pan. When the temperature digits stop moving, this is the internal temperature of the casserole.
A hot and safe internal temperature for a baked casserole is 160-165 degrees F. When a casserole is this hot, it will be bubbling at the very center as well as around the edges.
TIPS FOR MAKING BUBBLE UP TORTELLINI THE BEST IT CAN BE –
- Preheat the skillet before adding the ground Italian sausage. When the skillet is nicely hot, add the sausage then to get superior browning that adds more flavor.
- Have the cream cheese at room temperature when adding to the ground meat to help in incorporate more easily and smoothly.
- Drain the fats from the cooked sausage by tilting the skillet up on one side and placing it onto a folded hot pad; move the cooked meat to the high side of the skillet to allow the fats to drain down to the lower side of the skillet. Use paper towels to absorb the fats.
MORE FAVORITE PASTA RECIPES TO ENJOY –
- CREAMY ORZO PASTA WITH ROSEMARY BROWNED BUTTER – Rosemary and browned butter pair so well in this rich side dish, perfectly complimenting the tangy flavors of the creamy Asiago cheese and paprika.
- STUFFED PASTA SHELLS WITH CREAMY MARINARA SAUCE – Well, here’s your brand new crowd pleaser. Get ready to share this recipe every where you take it!
- CHEESY BAKED PASTA WITH CHICKEN SAUSAGE – Freshly cooked penne pasta with tossed with melted Boursin cheese, grape tomatoes, crushed garlic and Parmesan cheese…..cheesy, rich, and soooo delicious. A TikTok sensation!
- CHEESEBURGER STUFFED PASTA SHELLS – My guys love this casserole and I serve it up year round for them. All the ingredients are likely already on hand in your pantry and you can throw this ground beef dish together in nothing flat.
Bubble Up Tortellini with Creamy Meat Sauce
- 1 lb. ground Italian sausage
- 1 tsp. oregano flakes
- 24 oz. jar marinara sauce
- 1/3 cup milk or cream
- 8 oz. block cream cheese cut into 8 chunks
- 16 oz. bag refrigerated cheese tortellini cooked according to pkg directions (just until barely tender)
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella
- Grated Parmesan for serving
- In a large, deep skillet (I prefer my 12-inch Lodge cast iron skillet) over medium high heat, cook and crumble the Italian sausage and oregano until no pink remains; drain any fats that accumulate.
- Over medium heat, add the cream cheese chunks to the cooked sausage, gently stirring to allow the cream cheese to melt. Once the cream cheese is fully incorporated, slowly stir in the marinara sauce until well combined. Add the milk to the empty jar of marinara and shake well; add to the meat mixture.
- Gently fold in the cooked tortellini; sprinkle the shredded cheese over the top.
- Bake the tortellini, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes or until hot and bubbly throughout. Let rest 10 minutes before serving. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese, as desired.
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