Brown sausage: Heat oil in large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook until browned.
1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 pound mild or hot Italian sausage
Sauté vegetables: Add onion, carrots, celery and green pepper to the sausage in the pot and cook until starting to soften, about 3-5 minutes, stirring often. Stir in tomato paste, Italian seasoning and garlic powder.
1 medium yellow onion, 2 medium carrots, 2 stalks celery, 1 medium green pepper, 2 tablespoons tomato paste, 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning, ½ teaspoon garlic powder
Simmer soup: Pour broth over sausage and vegetables, scratching any browned bits off the bottom of the pot. Add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Stir well, then bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes.
4 cups beef broth, 1 (15-oz) can tomato sauce, 1 (14.5-oz) can diced tomatoes
Finish soup: Open lid, add cheese tortellini and simmer until tortellini are cooked through, usually 4-5 minutes for most brands. Stir in cream, if desired, and serve topped with parmesan cheese.
1 (9-oz) package cheese tortellini, ¼ cup heavy cream
Vegetables: Feel free to skip any vegetables you don't have/don't like, or add something you enjoy more (eg red pepper instead of green).If you don't want to add fresh onion, feel free to use ½ teaspoon dried onion powder instead.Broth: If you don't have any broth on hand, the soup is also good if you just use water. Increase salt and all seasoning if using water, and consider simmering it for 5-10 minutes longer.Tortellini: While the name of this recipe pretty much implies that tortellini are mandatory here 😉 you can absolutely use a different pasta if you don't have any tortellini on hand. Any pasta shapes you enjoy in soup are fine, but something like Gnocchi would be absolutely delicious, too!Cream: I love a creamy touch to this soup. Please do NOT use milk as a substitute! It splits from the acid coming from the tomatoes and you'll end up with curdled soup. If you want to add creaminess and don't have any cream on hand, consider stirring in some cream cheese if you have that (I do that all the time and it works perfectly fine!).
Make ahead instructions
You can make the base of this soup ahead and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days. Finish simmering it up to the step of adding the tortellini. Let it cool to room temperature, then store in an airtight container in the fridge.To reheat, bring to boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and add the tortellini. Finish as stated in the recipe.
You can also freeze the soup at the same point as refrigerating it.Place the cooled soup into a freezer container, label with the name and use-by date and freeze for up to 3 months.Defrost in the fridge overnight, then add to a soup pot, bring to a boil, add the tortellini and finish as directed in the recipe.