My number one son directed me to this recipe that he had found on the Chelsea’s Messy Apron site. We both decided to make it, each of us changing the recipe up a bit in order to suit our specific tastes. He wasn’t interested in using a can of diced tomatoes, because he’s not particularly fond of them, so substituted with an equal amount of Bloody Mary Mix. I have no problem with diced tomatoes, but my interest was in using both meat and cheese tortellini, and a bit more than the recipe called for in order to make it heartier, so, I ended up using 10 ounces of cheese tortellini and 10 ounces of meat tortellini.
As it turned out, we were both pleased with the outcome of our adapted recipes. One thing we did agree on is that it needs more ground beef. So when we make it again, and we both insist that we will, both of us have decided to increase the amount of ground chuck (which is what we used) to one and 1/2 pounds rather than just one. My recipe is below. Based upon our combined experiences, or your own personal tastes, feel free to adapt it in any way that suits you; that is the beauty of crockpot cooking, the recipes are infinitely adaptable.
1-½ pounds ground chuck
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 14.5 oz. can petite-diced tomatoes
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 10.75 oz. can condensed tomato soup
1 teaspoon white sugar
1-½ teaspoons dried basil
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups beef broth
10 ounces frozen cheese filled tortellini
10 ounces frozen meat filled tortellini
Sprig of basil, for garnish
Parmesan cheese, for garnish
In a 12” skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef, onion, and garlic until the meat is cooked through; drain.
While the beef is cooking, pour the tomatoes, tomato paste, and tomato soup into the slow cooker. Add sugar and seasonings.
Stir in the cooked ground beef with onions and garlic. Add beef broth and cover. Set the slow cooker on high, and cook for 3-4 hours or low for 5-7 hours.
About 15-20 minutes before you are ready to serve, pour the frozen tortellini into the soup. Turn the slow cooker up to high (or leave it if it was already on high) and let the tortellini cook for 15-20 minutes.
Serve in bowls topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a fresh basil sprig.