Italian Sausage and Tortellini Soup

I was born and raised in the cold state of Maine, one of 12 children and the granddaughter of a chef. I’ve always loved cooking for other people and worked in the restaurant business for decades. My husband was in the military, and our world travels sparked my interest in foods from other cultures. This delicious soup was a signature item at my daughter’s restaurant in Naples, Florida. I’ve probably made it once a week for over eight years. I thank the Lord for giving me 82 years of life experiences and allowing me to share this six-serving recipe with you. 

by Kathleen Jeffries


  • 1 pound of sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 medium sweet onion 
  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • 2 cans (14.5 ounces) of diced tomatoes 
  • 1 can (8 ounces) of tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons of Italian seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of beef base to 1½ quarts of water  
  • 3–4 small zucchini, sliced thin
  • Pepper, as needed
  • 16 ounces of cheese tortellini

“I’ve always loved cooking for other people and worked in the restaurant business for decades.”

Kathleen Jeffries


  1. Brown sausage and onion in a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet. Drain. Add finely chopped garlic and cook a few more minutes. Add this to crockpot.
  2. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, beef base (Minor’s works best and can be ordered through Amazon) and Italian seasoning to crockpot. Cover and cook on medium setting for six hours.
  3. Add thin sliced zucchini and continue to cook in crockpot until zucchini is tender (30-40 minutes). 
  4. In another saucepan, cook tortellini according to directions. Make sure to not overcook the tortellini. Drain and put in separate bowl and add a tablespoon of olive oil to keep it from sticking. 
  5. To serve, pour soup in bowls and drop six to eight tortellini in each bowl. You can also sprinkle dried or fresh parmesan cheese to garnish. Soup can be thickened, if desired. Delicious with garlic toast.
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