Green beans & Tortellini is full of flavors and textures and all sorts of delicious things. It was one of those meals I threw together on a whim because I had nothing else planned and ingredients to use. But we loved it, and I’ve made it many times since If you like bacon, cheese-filled pasta, green beans, and easy dinners, then you’ll love this dish!
It all starts with a simple list of ingredients:
I use fresh tortellini from the refrigerated section. Mine are large, but small ones will also work fine. Frozen tortellini is good as well; it will only need to be boiled a couple minutes longer than the non-frozen pasta. I’ve used dehydrated, filled pasta and it’s never turned out nicely.
Trim off the ends and chop in half. No need to get picky here.
I use either Nurnberger or Franconian (Fränkischer) sausages. They’re very commonly available here in Southern Germany where I live, and they are apparently characterized by a flavor of marjoram, or so the internet tells me. The package I have says my Fränkischer sausages are seasoned with … deep breath … ginger, cardamom, coriander, cumin, lovage, marjoram, nutmeg, parsnip, pepper, thyme, onion powder, and rosemary. So that’s a lot of things.
The ones I use are fine-textured and pre-cooked. If you don’t have access to these, you could use a pre-cooked pork brat or chicken brat, though I would go for something with a mild flavor. Perhaps a mild Italian sausage could be an acceptable substitute. Whatever you use, let me know in the comments and how it worked out in the dish!
Alternatively, go all out and order some German sausages online. This place, Bavaria Sausage, Inc. was right down the road from where I lived in good ‘ol Madison, WI. They know what they’re doing!
In chunks. These aren’t meant to be cooked totally crisp, so nice, fat strips or cubes would work well. Mine come in a package like this and I keep them in the freezer and pull out just as much as I need. If you don’t have that, you could buy thick-cut bacon and just cut it into rectangular strips.
I use raw, unsalted cashews and fry them in the pan with the other things. I don’t think I’d use salted cashews in this because the bacon, sausage, and dried tomatoes provide just the right amount of salt to season the whole dish. In fact, I don’t add any salt at all to this dish, and it turns out seasoned quite well.
The cashews get a little bit soft from the cooking, which is something I appreciate as I can actually stab them with a fork then. If you want them crunchy, but hot, opt for toasted cashews and add them in at the end, just so to warm them up.
I never liked the sun-dried tomatoes stored in olive oil, though you could use them. These get a bit re-hydrated by boiling them with the green beans for a few minutes. That gives them a much nicer texture so they’re not chewy or tough.
And now the process to make it into a meal. It’s really quite simple and comes together quickly, especially if you prepare the ingredients ahead of time, even a day before. So, put one pot of water on to boil. This is for both the tortellini and the green beans and dried tomatoes.
In order to be the most efficient, you’ll want to have a frying pan sizzling hot once your tortellini and green beans are done. It should be hot enough to brown things within a minute or less. For me, this is an 8 out of 9 heat on my electric stove. That’s quite hot. I put the pan on to start heating once I have my ingredients prepped and the water is boiling for the tortellini.
Once your water is boiling, throw in your tortellini. If using fresh, non-frozen tortellini, cook it for two minutes exactly. If using frozen, I’d say about four minutes. You want it just cooked and firm, not too soft, as you don’t want it falling apart when it’s sautéed and tossed around later. Once done, scoop out with a large spoon, into a colander. Drizzle with olive oil, tossing it or using your hands to thoroughly coat the noodles. This is important because noodles can stick easily in a frying pan. You want them to brown, not turn into stuck mush in your pan. So coat them generously, and move them to wherever you have your other prepped ingredients. You’ll need your colander again.
Next, using the same boiling water as you used for your noodles, put your green beans and dried tomatoes in, and set a timer to boil them for exactly four minutes. Or three. But no longer. Drain.
Now all your ingredients should be prepped, chopped, boiled and ready to go. Your pan should be hot. So, drizzle in a good amount of olive oil, dump all your ingredients in, and stir them around to coat them with the oil.
Stir them once in a while, but only when the ingredients touching the pan start to brown. You might need to do this ever minute or more often, depending on your pan and stovetop and heat level. If you have the heat high enough, everything should have nice browned areas and it will be ready to serve in only about five minutes or even less. If your heat is not hot enough, things will take too long to brown, and you run the risk of making your bacon too crispy, making your green beans overcooked and mushy, burning your cashews, and possibly drying out your pasta. I say all this to give you an idea of what kind of heat you’re looking for.
If you’re like me and taking photos while you’re cooking, your sausage might have browned a lot more than everything else because you didn’t stir it around once you put it in the pan because, of course, you were taking photos instead.
You will know it’s done when most of the ingredients have a nice brown sear on them. Eat it up while it’s still hot! Though, honestly, anything left over is also super tasty cold from the fridge.
And remember, NO added salt, unless you’ve tasted it first or you aren’t using bacon or dried tomatoes, in which case, it will not be as exciting. However, if you cut out a couple of the salty ingredients, your dish will be well seasoned by salting the water for your pasta and green beans. Always taste before adding salt.
Green Beans & Tortellini, Fast and Fancy
Yield 3 Large Servings
This fast, savory dish is the perfect meal for a busy night or easy dinner hosting. In fact, you can even prep the ingredients ahead of time and the cooking is done in 15 minutes or less.
- 8 oz. (200 g) cheese tortellini, fresh or frozen, not dehydrated
- 8 oz. (200 g) green beans, trimmed and cut in half
- 5 oz. (140 g) pre-cooked Nurnberger or Franconian sausage, sliced into bite-sized rounds
- 2 Tb dried tomatoes, cut into strips
- 1/4 C cashews, raw and unsalted or roasted and unsalted
- 1/4 C bacon, in small cubes or thick, short strips
- Have your prepped ingredients ready to go or quickly prep them while heating a pot with water, in which you'll boil first the tortellini and then the green beans along with the dried tomatoes.
- When your water is almost boiling, start preheating a large skillet on med-high heat. Once boiling, throw in the tortellini and boil fresh tortellini for exactly 2 minutes, frozen tortellini for 4 minutes.
- Drain the tortellini by scooping it out of the water into a colander. This should be easy to do with a large regular or slotted spoon.
- Then put the pot of water back on the burner and put in the green beans and dried tomatoes. Cook for 3-4 minutes, but no more than 4, then drain. While cooking, drizzle olive oil onto the drained tortellini and coat thoroughly by tossing or rubbing it in with your hands.
- The skillet should be hot by the time the green beans and tomatoes are done, so drizzle in some olive oil and throw in all the ingredients at once, and stir to coat with the oil.
- Allow the ingredients to brown before stirring again.If the ingredients are not browning within 1 minute after stirring, turn up the heat. Continue browning and stirring for a few minutes. This should take no longer than 5 minutes.
- Serve hot and enjoy!