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A family favorite, this Quick Tortellini Bolognese will not disappoint. Short-cut Italian-style Bolognese sauce with a mix of crisped pepperoni (the secret), ground beef, spicy sausage, dried herbs, marinara sauce, and a few spoonfuls of cream cheese to create the most delicious and rich Bolognese. A little pesto adds a pop of fresh flavor. Serve this sauce over cheese tortellini and top with plenty of freshly grated parmesan cheese. All it needs is a side of crusty bread for mopping up all that sauce. You can’t go wrong with this quick and simple Bolognese.

Quick Tortellini Bolognese |

It’s been so long since I shared a Bolognese recipe. I forgot how delicious they are. I make this a lot during the fall and winter when I’m in need of a great family meal that’s quick and easy. We have some picky eaters, but everyone enjoys this sauce.

I have a few secrets to making this speedy and quick that I’ve learned over many years of cooking. You’ll love having this recipe on hand, and it’s great for the holidays too!

My secrets are odd, but I promise you they work wonders on this super flavorful, quick-cooking sauce.

First spicy pepperoni in place of the classic, pancetta. Crisping up chopped pepperoni infuses the sauce with a delicious spicy flavor right from the start. Not to mention, the pepper is such a unique yummy addition. I swear, it’s what draws people to this sauce!

Then, for even more flavor, I use spicy Italian sausage. This is the shortcut to not having to use too many seasonings in our sauce. The sausage is pre-seasoned, and once cooked, is so delicious in this red sauce.

Finally, a small amount of cream cheese and basil pesto add a nice rich creaminess.

Quick Tortellini Bolognese |

Here are the details

Step 1: cook the pepperoni

Just as you’d crisp up bacon, do the same for this pepperoni. I buy a spicy beef pepperoni stick and chop it into small pieces, then cook until crispy.

It sounds different, but trust me, it really is delicious. You’ll soon love this addition!

Step 2: create the sauce

Next, everything else goes into the pot. The onion, ground beef, and spicy sausage. Or use ground chicken and spicy chicken sausage. Whatever you prefer.

Now celery, dried oregano, tomato paste, and 2 jars of your very favorite marinara sauce. I love Rao’s Homemade Arrabbiata Sauce or the Carbone Arrabbiata Marinara. Add a splash of water and let the sauce simmer a bit to thicken up.

Then, finish the sauce with melted cream cheese and basil pesto. Yum!

Quick Tortellini Bolognese |

Step 3: cook the tortellini

For this dish, I love serving the sauce with cheese tortellini. Of course, you can use any cut of pasta you like. But the tortellini makes the sauce feel fancy, which is fun and of course delicious.

Boil the tortellini, then add it back to the hot pot. Spoon the sauce over the pasta and toss with fresh parmesan. At this point, it’s going to smell so good.

Quick Tortellini Bolognese |

Step 4: serve

Serve the saucy tortellini topped with fresh herbs and parmesan.

Then, of course, bread on the side is lovely!

This recipe feeds a bit more than you need, so chances are you’ll have leftovers. But the leftovers are just as good or better the following night.

You can also reserve any sauce you don’t use and serve it throughout the week. Use it with pasta or make cheesy stuffed peppers (our favorite). You can also freeze the leftover sauce. The options are endless!

Quick Tortellini Bolognese |

Looking for other family dinner recipes? Here are a few ideas: 

Creamy White Chicken Chili

Cider Braised Short Ribs with Caramelized Onions

30 Minute Coq au Vin Chicken Meatballs

Lastly, if you make this Quick Tortellini Bolognese be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite

Quick Tortellini Bolognese

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories Per Serving: 488 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.



  • 1. In a large pot, cook the pepperoni over medium heat until crispy, 5 minutes. Add the onion, beef, sausage, celery, garlic, and oregano. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, breaking up the meat as it cooks, until browned all over, 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for 5 minutes, then mix in the marinara sauce. Add 1/2 cup water or use milk. Season with salt and pepper.
    2. Simmer over low heat for 10-15 minutes to thicken the sauce. Stir in the cream cheese and pesto.
    3. Meanwhile, boil the tortellini until al dente. Drain and add back to the pot. Ladle the sauce over the tortellini. Add parmesan and toss to coat.
    4. Divide the pasta among bowls. Serve topped with parmesan and fresh herbs. Enjoy!
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Quick Tortellini Bolognese |

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    1. Thanks so much Liz!! Love to hear that this dish turned out nicely for you, I appreciate you making it! xT

  1. This is definitely an amazing dish that we will enjoy over and over. We are not typically tortellini admirers, but this is an exception! I made it 1st thing in the morning to heat up for dinner and I couldn’t stop stealing a spoonful here and there, it’s even good cold! 😁

    1. Hey Marcia,
      Thanks so much for your kind message and making this recipe! I’m so glad to hear it was enjoyed! xT

    1. Hey Kellie,
      Happy Sunday! I am thrilled to hear this dish turned out well for you, thanks a lot for trying it out! Xx

  2. 5 stars
    This turned out great. And the amount of sauce it makes is probably enough for 3 or 4 lbs of pasta. Great to have leftover sauce to throw in the freezer for another easy meal another day.
    I also suggest you update the printed recipe to indicate the marinara jars to read “2 jars (24 oz each)” to avoid confusion. And add the wine in there too. I saw the wine addition in the short video, but it’s not in the written recipe. I added some white wine instead of water or milk. Good job, thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Mark,
      Thanks so much for trying this dish and sharing your feedback! So glad to hear it turned out well for you! xT