Our next door neighbors have an Italian and German heritage - the Italian side being the predominant factor because this family is deep rooted in Italian traditions: Food and Family. (Not that the German side isn't as well, mind you.) And although the children have left the nest to form families of their own, they gather for dinners quite often. It's a joy to see and it's been a joy to be part of family gatherings with them.
To say they go all out in food traditions, typical Italian style is an understatement. From making home made wine, canning literally hundreds of jars of sauce at the end of tomato season, to purchasing 300 pounds of pork butt to make home made Italian sausage and they do it together as a family.
We are fortunate to have such wonderful neighbors and equally as fortunate that they shared some of this years home made Italian sausage with us. That's how this dinner was happily created using their sausage and our home made spaghetti sauce from the tomatoes we harvested last year. Throw in the tasty frozen ravioli's we like that were a bargain at "ZERO" dollars from last month and dinner is just hours away as I write this post.
- 1 - 13 oz. bag frozen cheese ravioli's (approx. 28-29 raviolis per bag)
- 1 lb. Italian sausage
- 4-6 cups marinara or spaghetti sauce
- 2 tbsp. butter
- In a pot of salted boiling water, cook the ravioli's for two to three minutes until they float to the top. Drain. Separate the raviolis and place them on a cooling rack.
- In a skillet fry up the Italian sausage to a nice golden brown.
- Add the sausage to a low simmering pot of your favorite marinara or spaghetti sauce. Cook for an additional 45 minutes to insure the sausage is thoroughly cooked and that it adds flavor to the sauce.
- While the sausage is cooking, get your breading station ready.
For the breading station:
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp. milk or water
- 2 cups panko bread crumbs - crushed*
- 3 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 1/2 tsp. granulated garlic
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 1/2 tsp. dried basil
- 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 1/2 tsp. dried parsley flakes
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- 2 good pinches Kosher salt
- 3 pinches black pepper
- Whisk the egg and milk in a small bowl.
- In a zip lock bag add in the panko bread crumbs and *roll over them using a rolling pin until they break down. Or, blitz a couple of times in a food processor.
- In another bowl combine the panko crumbs, Parmesan cheese and spices and mix well.
- Dredge the cooked and cooled ravioli in the egg mixture, then in the bread crumbs. Pat the mixture onto the raviolis - gently though then shake off excess and place them on a clean plate.
- Use the same skillet you browned the sausage in (the remains will lend flavor to the raviolis). Add a little extra butter, olive oil or a touch of canola oil if need be during the frying process.
- Over medium heat to medium low heat, brown the raviolis to a golden brown color on both sides. About 1-2 minutes per side.
- Plate the finished and toasted raviolis with some sausage links and the sauce.
I cost out this dinner at: $10.62 and feeding four people at $2.65 each, or five people at $2.12.