Sausage Potato Skillet

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Happy New Year!  (We can still say that even if January is already two-thirds done, yes?)

If your house is anything like my house you are ready for an easy, throw-down dinner.  This is it! A one pan wonder!

I truly don’t know where this recipe came from.  I can say, however, that it was a staple in our house growing up in Weslaco.  It’s such a quick, easy go-to that I never much thought about how good it was… other than to give my mom a good (full of love) teasing about it’s frequent appearance at the dinner table.  (We’ll talk about “gourmet sandwiches” some other time, Mom 😉 )

Then I graduated from Baylor and made my move to Lake Jackson.  I’d make this for dinner and take leftovers for lunch the next day.  Without fail, every time, someone would comment on the dish and ask for the recipe.  It threw me a bit because I don’t think my mom or I ever even wrote the recipe down, it was just one of those things we could toss together.  The first time I made it for Will he loved it and began requesting this dish for dinner.  Again, it blew my mind a little.  This dish?  The sausage-potato meal we’ve always had?!

So here it is, all typed up in its one-pan glory from my childhood home to your present day: Sausage Potato Skillet.  May it make one of your upcoming dinners simply wonderful 🙂


Sausage Potato Skillet

  • 1 link smoked sausage, sliced into rounds
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced into strips
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 can corn or hominy, drained

Pay attention, this one goes quick 🙂

Saute the onion, pepper and garlic in a skillet with a little olive oil until the veggies begin to soften. Use a large skillet with plenty of room to toss everything up together.  Season the veggies with salt and pepper but start a little lighter than normal on the salt as the smoked sausage will bring some of that in for you.

Add the sliced sausage and saute until the sausage begins to brown a bit.

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Add the corn or hominy and toss it all together.

So, I love hominy.  Hominy is made from either white or yellow corn – the kernels are soaked in a solution of either lime or lye which removes the hull, and often the germ, from the kernel and causes the grain itself to puff up much larger than its original size.  The texture is definitely chewier than regular corn and, I think, has a more pronounced corn flavor.  I dig the taste and texture of hominy and often will just saute it with butter, salt and pepper as a side dish. Somewhere along the line, I decided that hominy needed to replace the corn in this dish and I’ve never looked back.   Will, however, does not share my love of hominy.  Bummer.  We often either go back to the regular can of corn here or omit it completely when making this dish at home. In an effort to give you this dish in all its original glory though, I felt it best to demonstrate with the hominy.  (Sorry, Will!)  Don’t worry, y’all.  He still ate it 😉

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Add the cubed potatoes, tossing them around a bit to mix them in. Season again with salt and pepper. (If you like a little kick, this is a great spot for some cajun seasoning as well!)

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Add enough water to just cover the bottom of the skillet, about 2 or 3 tablespoons. Cover the pan with a lid, lower the heat and simmer until the potatoes are soft, about 15-20 minutes.  If you don’t have a lid that fits your skillet, just set a cookie sheet over the skillet or place a piece of foil loosely over the top.  You want the potatoes to steam in that water and a lid helps that process.

Once the potatoes are soft, remove the lid and continue to cook until all the excess moisture has cooked off, about another 5-10 minutes.

Serve and enjoy!

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What recipes do you have that have survived your childhood home and worked their way into your adult life?  Leave a comment and let me know!


Full Recipe

Sausage Potato Skillet

  • 1 link smoked sausage, sliced into rounds
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced into strips
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 can corn or hominy, drained

Saute the onion, pepper and garlic in a skillet with EVOO until beginning to soften.

Season with salt and pepper.

Add the sliced sausage and brown.

Add the corn/hominy.

Add the potatoes, toss around and saute a few minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper.

Add enough water to just cover the bottom of the skillet.

Cover the pan with a lid, lower the heat and lightly simmer until the potatoes are soft, 15-20 minutes.

Remove the lid and continue to cook until all the excess water has cooked off, another 5-10 minutes.

Enjoy!

Breakfast Two Ways: Savory & Sweet

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I love a good breakfast – eggs and bacon, biscuits and gravy, chilaquiles or migas, pancakes, oatmeal, toast with jelly, grits – there are so many options.  Or, even better, brunch.  With brunch you typically get to mix and match several tasty food options… and there’s usually the added bonus of mimosas 🙂 Either way you go, it’s a time to enjoy the best both worlds of savory and sweet foods.

In this post, we’re looking at both options.  For the savory, we have Breakfast Cups.  This recipe originated from a friend back in Weslaco.  It quickly became one of our family favorites for a few reasons – they are quick to make, great for brunches/showers/food gifts, and they freeze really well for a fast breakfast option during the week.  To satisfy a morning sweet tooth we have Quick Cinnamon Rolls. Will loves cinnamon rolls while I am fairly picky about them. These work for both of us and take advantage of packaged crescent roll sheets to bake quickly for a no-fret breakfast option.

What’s your favorite breakfast or brunch treat? Grab a cup of your favorite coffee and try these two out!


Breakfast Cups

  • 1 tube flaky biscuits
  • 2 C shredded cheese (Cheddar, Mont Jack, whatever your preference)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 lb breakfast sausage

Preheat oven to 325.

Cut each biscuit into thirds.  Spray two muffin tins with nonstick spray and place 1/3 of a biscuit into each muffin cup.

*Note:  I like these best with flaky biscuits.  However, at the time of this post, all I had on had was a tube of buttermilk biscuits.  They work fine as well – your end product just won’t be as tall since the buttermilk biscuits won’t “puff” as much as the flaky option.  There were 10 buttermilk biscuits in the tube, flaky has 8 in a tube, so 6 muffin tins ended up with an extra 1/3 biscuit in them.

Brown the breakfast sausage and drain off any excess grease.  You can use any flavor of breakfast sausage here – my go-to is the sage, but I do like the spicy option now and then.

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Remove your pan from the heat and stir in the eggs and shredded cheese.  This mixture will be very thick but you don’t want to cook/scramble the eggs, just get it all mixed up together.

Spoon a heaping tablespoon of the mixture on top of each biscuit piece.

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Bake for 25 minutes.

Remove from the oven, let the tins sit just a minute or two, then pop the Breakfast Cups of out the muffin tin and place on a cooling rack if you are not serving them right away.  If you go straight to a plate when they are right from the oven the bottoms will get a little soggy.

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Breakfast Cups are so versatile – they are awesome straight from the oven, great as they cool down a little, and perfect reheated for 30 seconds straight from the freezer.  I have often made these the night before a brunch or breakfast meeting or froze half the batch for a quick breakfast grab on weekdays.  Try them out!

*Note: when I made both the Breakfast Cups and the Easy Cinnamon Rolls at the same time I set the oven at 350 and started with the Breakfast Cups.  They baked for just over 20 minutes instead of 25 and the cinnamon rolls went closer to 13-14 minutes.


Easy Cinnamon Rolls

  • 1 pkg refrigerated crescent roll sheets
  • 1 T butter, melted
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup finely chopped pecans
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1-2 tsp orange juice or milk

Preheat oven to 375.  Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray, or line it with parchment paper.

Unroll the crescent roll sheet but do not separate the strips just yet.  If you can’t find the crescent roll sheets, just use the normal crescent rolls.  You can press the seams together after unrolling the dough and cut them into strips later, or just roll them up like normal crescent rolls.

Brush the dough with the melted butter.

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In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the dough, then sprinkle the chopped pecans over as well.  Gently press the pecans into the dough – you want them to stick a bit but not deflate the crescent dough.

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Tear out each crescent strip, using a paring knife if necessary to cut along the seams.  Roll each strip into a spiral and place it on the baking sheet.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and cool slightly on the pan or a wire rack.

In a small bowl, stir together the powdered sugar, vanilla and enough of the orange juice or milk to make an icing.  You want it to drizzle off the spoon easily but be thick enough to not completely melt when it hits the warm rolls.  Drizzle this over the cinnamon rolls.

Serve warm and enjoy!

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*Note: when I made both the Breakfast Cups and the Easy Cinnamon Rolls at the same time I set the oven at 350 and started with the Breakfast Cups.  They baked for just over 20 minutes instead of 25 and the cinnamon rolls went closer to 14-15 minutes.


Full Recipes

Breakfast Cups

  • 1 tube flaky biscuits
  • 2 C shredded cheese (Cheddar, Mont Jack, whatever your preference)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 lb breakfast sausage

Preheat oven to 325.

Cut each biscuit into thirds.

Grease a two muffin tins and place ⅓ of a biscuit in each cup.

Brown sausage and drain off excess grease.

Remove pan from heat and stir in eggs and cheese – mixture will be thick.

Spoon a heaping tablespoon of mixture on top of each biscuit piece.

Bake for 25 minutes.


Easy Cinnamon Rolls

  • 1 pkg refrigerated crescent roll sheets
  • 1 T butter, melted
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup finely chopped pecans
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1-2 tsp orange juice or milk

Preheat oven to 375

Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray, or line with parchment paper.

Unroll the crescent sheet, do no separate.

Brush dough with melted butter.

In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over the dough.

Sprinkle the chopped pecans over the dough and gently press them into the dough a bit.

Tear the crescent strips, using a paring knife if necessary, and roll each strip into a spiral.

Place each spiral on the baking sheet.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown.

Remove from oven and cool slightly on pan or wire rack.

In a small bowl, stir together the powdered sugar, vanilla and enough of the orange juice or milk to make an icing of drizzling consistency.

Drizzle over the warm rolls.

Serve warm.

Ravioli with Two Fillings – Mushroom and Sausage

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One of our favorite foods is pasta.  There are a million different ways you can cook pasta – tomato sauces, brown butter sauces, dried, fresh, stuffed, ribbons.  It can be a quick go-to weeknight dinner or, as we have done here, a Sunday project that takes a little more time and care. One of our first true “food adventures” would have to be making fresh pasta at home.  I won’t say we mastered it right away, our kitchen has most definitely been covered in flour…, and I will wholeheartedly admit that Will is much better at it (and bread making!) than I am.  However, we always have fun experimenting with fresh pasta.

Pasta dough itself is very simple.  It’s just flour and eggs kneaded together to get the gluten going and make a starchy pasta.  Will played with a basic recipe to find the mix we like the best, about 3:1 semolina flour and all purpose flour.  We have decided that we like the addition of the all purpose flour to make a smoother, less grainy dough.  You can most definitely play with the proportions to get the mix you like the best.  Several recipes we found use some egg yolks, make a well in the flour and knead in the eggs one at a time.  We kinda skip all that and keep it pretty simple with a stand mixer.  It shouldn’t be that complicated to make a good dinner, right?

In this recipe we are using the fresh dough to make a couple different raviolis – an Italian sausage and pepper mix and a mushroom ricotta mix.  Will and I have an ongoing battle about ricotta.  For a man that loves cheese, he has some strong opinions about ricotta.. so we split the recipe and work together 😉 We finish the ravioli in a simple tomato cream sauce.  This tomato sauce is way less involved than the meat sauce in the previous lasagna recipe and can easily be put together for a weeknight dinner in about twenty minutes.

Try it out!  And as always, let me know what you think!


Ravioli with Two Fillings

Pasta Dough

  • 1 ½ cups semolina flour
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
  • Pinch of salt

Tomato Cream Sauce

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 14 oz can tomato sauce
  • 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
  • kosher salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

Mushroom Ricotta Filling

  • 4 oz fresh mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 T snipped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ⅛ tsp ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup ricotta cheese

Sausage and Sweet Peppers Filling

  • 1 lb ground Italian sausage
  • 1 cup sweet bell peppers, diced
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes

 

Start with making the pasta dough as it will need time to sit and rest.

You can play with the amounts of semolina and all purpose flours to get the texture you like best.  Our favorite is 1 1/2 cups semolina to 1/2 cup all purpose flour.  The semolina makes a nice, starchy dough but the all purpose keeps it from getting too grainy for our taste.

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Knead the semolina, all purpose flour eggs and salt in a stand mixer.  Knead until it becomes a smooth ball of dough.  If it is looking a little dry, add a tablespoon of water at a time until it reaches the desired consistency.

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Roll the pasta dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap.

 

Let the dough sit for at least 30 minutes at room temperature.  If you aren’t using the dough for a while, it can chill for an hour or two in the fridge, you’ll just want to get it back up to room temp before rolling it out.  If you aren’t using the dough on the same day it will nicely freeze until you are ready to thaw it out.


In the meantime, make your fillings so they can cool – you don’t want the filling to be too warm when you stuff your fresh dough so that the pasta will hold its shape nicely.

For the Mushroom Ricotta Filling:

In a saute pan on medium-high heat, add the olive oil and butter.

Add the finely chopped mushrooms and saute for a few minutes, being careful not to crowd the pan too much.  *NOTE:  don’t add salt yet.  Salting will draw out the moisture of the mushrooms and cause them to steam more than saute.  By upping the heat, spreading out the mushrooms and waiting a bit to salt them you are giving them a chance to brown and get flavorful rather than just moisten.

 

Add the minced garlic and chopped parsley, saute a few more minutes until garlic starts to soften.  This is where you now want to season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.  Adjust the amount of red pepper flakes to your liking – I used about 1/2 a teaspoon here.

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Add the red wine, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of your pan, and cook until most of the liquid is evaporated.  Check your seasoning again!

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So… this is my all-time favorite wine.  Bogle Phantom.  It’s released once a year and I may or may not save a bottle every year for an eventual vertical tasting.  Will’s also been known to spoil me with a double magnum of Phantom that then just lends itself to having friends over for a wine dinner.  I’d say my love for Phantom is a problem… but it’s just not. 😉

 

Remove the mushroom mixture from the heat and let it cool little.

In a separate bowl, combine the egg yolk, ricotta cheese, and mushroom mixture.  Cover and chill until ready to use.

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For the Sausage and Peppers Filling:

Add a little olive oil to a skillet on medium-high heat. Saute the sausage for 4-5 minutes.

In this particular recipe, Will used some of his homemade Italian Sausage.  He often hunts, then will grind the venison/pork for our home use.  We have a great recipe for this Italian Sausage blend that you could use on store-bought ground pork.  Be looking for that in a future post!

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Add the sweet bell peppers.  We like the peppers to have a little bit of texture left to them, if you prefer them softer, you can definitely add them right with the sausage at the beginning.

Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.  Again, play with the amount of red pepper flakes to your taste!

 

When the sausage is fully cooked, set aside to cool until ready to fill the pasta.


Prepare the Tomato Cream Sauce:

Heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat.

Add the onions and saute for 5 minutes, or until they begin to soften and caramelize.

Add the garlic, salt and pepper and saute for a couple of minutes, until the garlic begins to soften.

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Pour in the whole tomatoes and tomato sauce.  Break up the tomatoes a little bit with your spatula, just so they start to break down.

I am a big fan of the San Marzano tomatoes. I like their sweet flavor and they are less acidic than other tomatoes. I think they just have a good, consistently sweet tomato kick.  If you can’t find them, or have a diced variety in your pantry, no worries!  You may want to add a tablespoon or so of sugar to your sauce to help cut back on some of that acidity.

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Stir the sauce and cook over low heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Use an immersion blender to smooth out the sauce now that the tomato chunks have cooked down.  Don’t have an immersion blender?  You can either transfer to a blender or just use a fork to break up any large chunks of tomato.  If you like a chunkier sauce just let it keep simmering away.

*Note: If you do use a normal blender to smooth out your sauce, make sure you vent the top/lid to allow steam to come out and shield the vent with a kitchen towel to protect yourself from any of the volcanic splatter.

 

Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the cream.  Add the shredded parmesan and check your seasonings.  Remember that cheese = salt so be sure to taste before adding more!

Cover the sauce to keep it warm until ready to use.


Now it’s ravioli-making time!

Once your pasta dough has rested and come back up to room temp, flour your counter or cutting board.  Cut the pasta dough into halves, then each half into quarters.

 

Being sure to flour the pasta itself as well as the pasta roller, roll the pasta dough into sheets.  I’ve never given in to the temptation of buying the pasta roller attachment of our stand mixer.  Sigh… maybe one of these days.  However, we have had much success with this simple hand roller that clamps to the edge of the counter top.  If you don’t have a pasta roller, you can most certainly put a little elbow grease behind a rolling pin – just know that it will take a few passes, just like in the roller, to it the pasta thin enough.

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Place a heaping teaspoon of the ravioli filling along the bottom half of the pasta sheet, leaving about a two-finger width between each dollop. As you can see in the pictures below, Will also added a little parmesan on top of each sausage “heap”.  Fold the top half of the pasta sheet over the filling and press all around each dollop to seal the pasta sheet together.  Use a ravioli stamp (or a glass cup) to cut out the ravioli shape.

 

 

Pinch along the edges of the ravioli to make sure that all the edges are sealed – if not, the filling will leak out as it boils.

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Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt the water.  This is your chance to season the pasta itself – don’t be shy with the salt added to the boiling water!

 

Carefully drop the ravioli into the boiling water.  Fresh pasta does not take long to cook, only about 3-4 minutes.  Use a slotted spoon or strainer to make sure the ravioli does not stick to each other as it cooks and notice when they really start to float.  Pull the ravioli out of the water as they are done.

Now… plate it up!  We like to put a little of the Tomato Cream Sauce on the bottom of the plate, top with ravioli, then a little more sauce, parmesan and chopped parsley on top.  How would you plate yours?

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Full Recipe

Ravioli with Two Fillings and Tomato Cream Sauce

Pasta Dough

  • 1 ½ cups semolina flour
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
  • Pinch of salt

Tomato Cream Sauce

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 14 oz can tomato sauce
  • 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
  • kosher salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

Mushroom Ricotta Filling

  • 4 oz fresh mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 T snipped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ⅛ tsp ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup ricotta cheese

Sausage and Sweet Peppers Filling

  • 1 lb ground Italian sausage
  • 1 cup sweet bell peppers, diced
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes

Make the pasta:

Knead flours, eggs and salt in a stand mixer until incorporated.

If dough is looking dry, add a tablespoon of water at a time until desired consistency.

Roll the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap.

Let rest at room temp for 30 minutes to an hour, or chill in the fridge until ready to use.  Bring the dough back up to room temp before rolling into sheets.

Make the Mushroom Ricotta Filling:

In a saute pan over medium-high heat, add olive oil and butter.

Add mushrooms, being careful to not crowd the pan too much, saute about 5 minutes.

Add the parsley, and garlic; cook and stir for 1 minute.

Add the salt, pepper, red pepper flakes

Add the red wine to the pan, scraping any browned bits from the bottom, and cook until most of the liquid is evaporated.

Remove from heat and let cool a few minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine egg yolk, ricotta cheese, and mushroom mixture.

Cover and chill until needed.

Make the Sausage and Peppers Filling:

Saute sausage until about halfway cooked, about 4-5 minutes.

Add the diced peppers and season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.

Saute until sausage is fully cooked

Set aside to cool until ready to use.

Make the Tomato Cream Sauce:

Heat butter and oil over medium heat.

Add onions and saute for 5 minutes until they begin to soften and caramelize.

Add the garlic, salt and pepper  and saute for a minute or so.

Pour in tomato sauce and whole tomatoes.  Break up tomatoes a bit with your spatula.

Stir and cook over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Use an immersion blender or the back of a fork break any large chunks of tomato up.

Remove from heat and stir in cream.

Add cheese to taste, then check seasonings.

Make the Ravioli:

Flour your workspace and cut the rested, room temp pasta dough into halves, then quarters.

Being sure to flour the dough and the pasta roller, roll each quarter into sheets.

Place a heaping teaspoon of the ravioli filling on the bottom half of each pasta sheet, leaving about a two-finger width between each dollop.  For the sausage filling, add a little sprinkle of parmesan to each dollop.

Fold the upper half of the pasta sheet over the filling.  Press around each pile of filling to seal the pasta together.

Use a ravioli stamp, or a glass cup, to cut around each pile of filling.

Press the edges of each ravioli to ensure the edges are sealed.

Heat a large pot of water to boiling and add plenty of salt.

Gently place the ravioli in the boiling water and cook for 3-4 minutes, just to al dente.

Remove from the water with a slotted spoon or strainer.

Plate the ravioli with the sauce and top with shredded parmesan and chopped parsley.