Now is the time of the year when my Snowbird parents leave the frosty mid-west for sunny California. They close up their house for the winter and spend it in a much warmer climate. Part of their annual process is emptying the fridge, freezer and cupboards…and our household is the lucky beneficiary of the contents. Now, what to make with it all?
Among the items I had to work with, chicken sausage. It’s not one of my favorite ingredients but it’s lighter and healthier than beef or pork. I immediately start thinking about a pasta dish. My parents freezer is never short of frozen varieties, and I found some ravioli…perfect for a cream sauce. Let’s do this!
I put a pot of salted water on to cook the ravioli and got started on the sauce. I chopped up some garlic and sauteed it in some olive oil, then reached for one of my go-to’s in my own cupboard, a can of crushed tomatoes. I let those hang out together for a bit and seasoned it with salt, pepper, dried basil and oregano. (a pinch of crushed red pepper might be nice here too) Then after a few minutes on the heat, I added some of the frozen spinach that had also come from my folks’ defrosting freezer.
I figured the chicken sausage would work well as the protein for this dish, as the ravioli were only cheese-filled, and the chicken sausage itself had some spinach in it. So I sliced and browned those up while the sauce developed. And lastly, I added a couple tablespoons of heavy cream to make this tomato sauce a tomato cream sauce. Go as heavy or as light with it as you’d like. Half and half, or whole milk would work here too. I’d avoid skim milk or 1%, it won’t really have the effect you’re going for here. I let the cream sauce sit on the heat (medium) until it thickened up. When the consistency was where I wanted it, I tossed the browned sausage slices in with the sauce and poured in the cooked ravioli.
This Snowbird Special made great use of a seemingly disconnected collection of groceries, and it was a quick fix for a weeknight dinner. What’s lingering in your freezer that needs to get eaten??