Razorback sausage Tortellini with Elk, Fennel, and Mushroom
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large fennel bulb, trimmed, halved through core, thinly sliced lengthwise (about 2 cups), fronds chopped
1 pound ground Italian Razorback sausage
1 pound ground Elk meat
2 8-ounce package sliced fresh crimini (baby bella) mushrooms
6 large garlic cloves, pressed
Crushed red pepper to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons fennel seeds, coarsely crushed
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
2 cups (or more) low-salt chicken broth
1 16-ounce package fresh tortellini with 3-cheese filling, or hearty pasta of your choice
1 12-ounce package fresh baby spinach leaves
2/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese plus additional (for serving)
Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced fennel bulb, sausage and elk, and mushrooms; sauté until meat is brown and cooked through and fennel is almost tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Add garlic, fennel seeds and crushed red pepper; stir 1 minute. Stir in cream, then 1 1/2 cups broth; boil until liquid is reduced and very slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook tortellini in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain tortellini; return to same pot.
Add meat mixture to tortellini in pot. Toss over medium heat until blended. Add spinach; toss gently until spinach wilts. Stir in 1/2 cup cheese; add more broth by 1/4 cupfuls to moisten if dry. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with chopped fennel fronds, and serve with additional cheese for sprinkling.