Saturday, July 29, 2017

Cheese Ravioli with Homemade Sausage Ragu

A few years ago, I had a client who was having a new yacht being built in Viareggio in the Tuscany region of Italy. The factory was hosting an invitation only yacht gala with demo rides and presentations during the day and night entertainment of food, drink and everything from Italy’s answer to Frank Sinatra to a circus act dangling from a 40 meter stick crane. As fate would have it, I was invited to attend; as well as checking on the progress of the new build which was half completed. For 5 days I enjoyed the food and festivity of a truly beautiful region in Italy. This dish is authentic and simple to prepare.


1 lb. mild Italian sausage
½ c. diced yellow onion
½ c. diced bell pepper
1 c. pumpkin pie puree
1 14 oz. can of fire roasted tomatoes
1 c. low sodium chicken stock
16 oz. package of cheese ravioli (you can sub gnocchi)
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. Chianti
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (liquid, same place you find vanilla extract)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. dried Italian seasoning
½ tsp. crushed red pepper
½ tsp. coarse salt


Split the Italian sausage and remove the casing and set aside. Pre-heat the olive oil to medium-high in a large cast iron skillet. Sauté the onion and bell pepper for 2 minutes or until translucent. Add sausage and add the seasonings, red pepper and salt and continue to stir until sausage is thoroughly cooked. Next, stir in the un-drained can of tomatoes, pumpkin puree, vinegar and chicken stock. Reduce heat to medium low and allow it to simmer for 1 hour. Half way thru, add Chianti and stir (if you don’t have Chianti, a Cab will do). As everything thickens as it cooks, add the ravioli towards the end. Cover and simmer on low for 8 minutes and then serve with a nice salad and bread. Molto Delizioso! Buon appetito, JW