Cheese Tortellini with Meat Sauce

For whatever reason, there are recipes that I’ve made for years that I just haven’t shared. I really have no excuse. This one is something I’ve made for a very long time, and I have made it many different ways.

I could make this with my eyes closed.

Refrigerated tortellini, my meat sauce and a shit ton of cheese.

There are certain things that make my sauce a bit better than most; one of those being balsamic vinegar. Don’t be afraid of it. Don’t skip the wine, either. It gives your sauce depth, and depth is good.

As far as time; I put an hour or more in the instructions because you could simmer it for 30 minutes and it be ok, but the longer – the better. I usually have mine simmering for about 4 hours.

When people in your household start asking you when it’s going to be ready and asking why it’s taking so long (∗ahem∗…like my ex-husband used to do me), tell them to calm the fuck down and go play a video game or something. Better yet, tell them to take your car to get washed, remind them that it’s time to get the oil changed, oh – and they need to go to the store and pick up the 3 16 things you forgot when you went earlier. When they argue with you simmer that shit for an hour longer than what you planned. Reach over and crank that timer up right in front of them. They’ll get the hint.

When it comes to cheese, I’m a huge fan of Muenster, and I like to combine that with Mozzarella. Provolone would work just as well.
Serve this with crusty bread and good wine, and you’ll be set. And, you’ll have your oil changed.

Here’s your printable-

Cheese Tortellini with Meat Sauce

Cheese Tortellini with Meat Sauce


  • 20 oz package refrigerated cheese tortellini
  • 8 tbsp salted butter, divided in half
  • 1/4 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 lb ground Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 2 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 16 oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup red wine (I used Shiraz)
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp dried basil (or a handful of chiffonade basil)
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp Worchestershire sauce, divided
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Lawry’s seasoned salt
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups Muenster cheese, shredded


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Boil tortellini according to package directions, drain and set aside.
  • Melt 4 tbsp. butter over medium heat and add onion and garlic, stirring until fragrant.
  • Add beef and sausage, combine and brown.
  • Add remaining butter, tomato paste through pepper, combine and bring to a low boil; reduce heat to low and cover. Stir intermittently, simmer for an hour (or longer!).
  • Combine pasta and sauce in a large dish, top with cheeses and bake for 30 minutes, until bubbly.


You may not need all of the sauce; it depends on how much it reduces. Use as much as you need to make sure the pasta is really swimming in it. Save any remaining for another dish!


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  1. You had me at “a shit ton of cheese”… My gawd, woman, this is one of the swoon-worthiest dishes I’ve seen in a long time! Go ahead and crank up that timer. I’ll bring plenty of wine to help pass the time! 😉
    Michele @ Bacon Fatte recently posted..Mexican Wedding Cookies – a classic holiday tradition

  2. I love that idea about the timer! Yes, let it simmer. This recipe sounds amazing.
    Ann from Sumptuous Spoonfuls recently posted..Melt in your Mouth Peanut Butter Fudge

  3. avatar
    Christine @ Christine's Pantry


  4. OMGoodness! That sounds and looks awesome!

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