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This restaurant-quality Braised Beef and Tortelloni is loaded with tender chunks of beef in the most amazing Marsala wine sauce, and spooned over Asiago cheese tortelloni.

This restaurant-quality Braised Beef and Tortelloni is loaded with tender chunks of beef in the most amazing Marsala wine sauce, and spooned over Asiago cheese tortelloni.


If you are like me – and you always order the Braised Beef and Tortelloni every time you eat out at Olive Garden – you are going to love today’s recipe!

I adore just about any meal made with tortellini or its larger cousin, tortelloni. (It’s my favorite pasta!) And this particular dish – made with beef short ribs that are braised until fork-tender and hearty chunks of Portobello mushrooms, all served with a super flavorful creamy Marsala wine sauce – makes my pasta-loving heart very happy!

Braised Beef and Tortelloni in Marsala Wine Sauce

After noticing that I always order the Braised Beef and Tortelloni every single time we go out to eat at Olive Garden, Jack suggested we try making a copycat recipe at home.  And dare I say…our Braised Beef and Tortelloni is EVEN BETTER than the version at the restaurant? Yep – Jack totally nailed it!

I’m going to say right up front that this Braised Beef and Tortelloni isn’t a quick recipe, and it does take a little bit of time and effort to prepare.  But if you follow our recipe below – you’ll be rewarded with a delicious pasta meal with deep, rich flavor that will have you tempted to lick then plate clean!


Braised Beef Tortelloni Olive Garden Copycat

Using a quality Marsala wine in this recipe is important. Whatever you do, please don’t make this dish with the Marsala cooking wine you find on supermarket shelves – it just isn’t going to give you the flavor you want. Instead, buy a real Marsala drinking wine from a liquor store.

Additionally, this Braised Beef and Tortelloni recipe makes a generous amount – so it’s perfect for feeding a crowd, or for enjoying as leftovers the next day.

Copycat Olive Garden Braised Beef and Tortelloni


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Braised Beef and Tortelloni

Braised Beef and Tortelloni

  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 2 1/2 hours
  • Total Time: 3 1/2 hours
  • Yield: 6-8 servings
  • Category: pasta
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian


34 pounds short ribs, bone left on **see note below

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 cup sweet onion diced, such as Vidalia

¼ cup fresh basil, chopped, plus more for garnish

1 cup marsala wine (do not use the Marsala cooking wine from the supermarket, get real Marsala drinking wine)

1½ cups beef stock (store bought is fine, or see here)

1 cup water

1 bay leaf

2 large portabella mushroom caps *see note

2 plum tomatoes, cut into eight pieces

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

¼ cup heavy cream

1 20-ounce package Asiago-filled fresh tortelloni (or any fresh cheese-filled tortelloni available at your market)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Salt and pepper all sides of the short ribs.

In a large Dutch oven or heavy bottomed oven proof pot with an oven proof lid, heat the olive oil over medium high heat.

Add the beef ribs and sear on all six sides for 2-3 minutes per side. Remove the seared meat to a platter and pour off all but two tablespoons of the fat remaining in the pan but do not discard the remaining fat. More will be used later in this recipe.

Add the onions and sauté for three minutes. Add the basil and cook for one more minute then add the marsala wine.

Reduce by half then add the beef stock, water and the bay leaf and add the seared ribs back into the pan. The liquid will not cover the tops of the beef. Cover and place in the oven for two hours, untouched.

While the beef is braising, in a large skillet, add 2 tablespoons of the reserved beef fat and once hot, add the mushrooms. Sauté for 5-6 minutes or until tender.

Add the tomatoes, cook for one minute then add the balsamic vinegar. Cook for one more minute and remove from heat. Set aside.

After two hours, remove the pot from the oven and pick the beef pieces out to your cutting board with tongs. The bones should slip right off and be discarded. Once they are cool enough to handle, use a sharp knife and remove fat and gristle from the beef.  Cut the remaining beef pieces against the grain into slices.

Place a large pot of water on to cook the tortelloni while you finish the dish. The tortelloni takes about 6-7 minutes to cook, assuming you are using fresh.

In a small sauté pan, melt butter and once melted, add flour. Cook for three minutes over medium heat and then remove from heat.

Heat the liquid left in the pot of beef over medium high and once it starts to boil, add the butter and flour mixture and whisk to combine. Once thickened, add heavy cream and whisk again. Add cooked sliced beef and cooked mushrooms and tomatoes from earlier. Stir to combine.

Drain the cooked tortelloni and add back into the pot it was cooked in and add a little of the finished sauce to coat.

Pour the tortelloni into a serving platter and pour the finished braised beef over the top.

Garnish with some chopped fresh basil.


*To prepare the portabella mushroom caps, remove stem if present and discard. Use a soup spoon and scoop out the dark ribs and also discard. Cut up the remaining cleaned mushroom cap into ½ inch sized pieces. After cleaning and cutting, you should have about 6 ounces or approximately two cups.

**3½ pounds of bone-in short ribs will yield one pound of usable meat. The rest are bones and scrap after cooked.

Keywords: braised beef and tortelloni, copycat Olive Garden recipe

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Braised Beef and Tortelloni


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  • Sharon Mendez wrote:

    This was delicious. My husband asked if he could lick the plate.

    • Martha wrote:

      LOL – so glad the recipe was a hit Sharon! 🙂

  • Leda Kim wrote:

    Do you use dry or sweet Marsala?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Leda – We used dry marsala. (Typically a sweet marsala would be used in a dessert vs a savory dish like this.) Hope you enjoy the recipe!

  • Beth VanDyne wrote:

    This was delicious. I had to make a few adjustments based what ingredients I had on hand ie I had to sub dried Basel becauseI did not have fresh, canned mushrooms, canned tomatoes, half an half. It was still delicious and everyone in my family enjoyed. Thank you for sharing.

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re very welcome Beth! We’re glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  • CV wrote:

    Can this be prepared in a crockpot as well?
    It is one of my favorites other than the Pasta Fragiole (which I now make in the crock pot as well!).

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi CV – We’ve only made this recipe as written, but you probably could cook the beef in the slow cooker. I’d still recommend doing the searing steps before cooking the rest of the way in the slow cooker. Also – I suspect it will take longer to cook through in the slow cooker. Let us know how it comes out!

  • Leann wrote:

    This turned out SO amazing! My hubby always orders this when we go to Olive Garden, and he said it was spot on! I’m wondering if this would freeze well, any ideas?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Leann – We haven’t tried freezing it ourselves but I think it would OK to do. Glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  • Traci wrote:

    Followed recipe exactly & it turned out amazing! My favorite meal at Olive Garden now can be made in my own kitchen & a lot cheaper😘 and better! Thank you!

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re very welcome Traci! (My favorite too!) So glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  • Shari wrote:

    This was very delicious! The only thing I changed was I had to add a cup of beef broth after cooking in the oven for 2 hours because there would not have been enough sauce. Everyone enjoyed it, just like the Olive Garden recipe. Thank you very much!

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re welcome Shari! Glad you all enjoyed the recipe!

  • Kia wrote:

    Hubby said this is by far his favorite dish I ever made so that’s saying a lot! Beats Olive Garden by a mile!!

    • Martha wrote:

      Wow Kia! Thank you! (So glad your hubby enjoyed the recipe!) 🙂

  • Aubrie wrote:

    I make this dish for my husband’s birthday every year, and I have to say, this copycat recipe is the best one I’ve found! I had to change a few things due to not having everything on hand, but it still turned out yummy. I didn’t add tomatoes (neither of us enjoy them), and I accidentally forgot to add the balsamic vinegar, and I was out of basil so I used whole cumin seeds instead. Other than that, I did everything else the same. They hubby loved it and I loved it, so I think it counts as a win-win. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re very welcome Aubrie! Happy Birthday to your husband!

  • Christina Lengyel wrote:

    Our Olive Garden here in AL is hit or miss with their braised beef, but this looks amazing and flavorful! Can’t wait to try it! If I can’t find short ribs could I use a chuck roast instead? I know it wouldn’t be exactly the same, but the flavor would be comparable. I also know I’d probably have to keep an eye on/adjust the braising time, but would you change the liquid amounts or amounts of anything else?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Christina – Sure – the short ribs will definitely have more flavor but a chuck roast can be swapped in if necessary. I’d start with the same amount of liquid and adjust based on the amount of beef you are cooking and size of your pan. Hope you enjoy the recipe!

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