Creamy Asparagus Ravioli with Sausage and Peas brings out the best in that seasonal spring asparagus! Deliciously creamy, this simple dinner is fancy looking but ready in just 20 minutes!
Why We Love It!
- Spring is Finally Here and Asparagus is Back in Season! - Asparagus is one of those early spring vegetables, when you start to see it in the stores, you know it's at the peek of freshness! The star of the show, this asparagus creamy ravioli is absolutely heavenly!
- It's Fast and Easy! - This Creamy Asparagus Ravioli looks beautifully fancy, but it is really simple to make. In the time it takes to boil water and cook the pasta with the asparagus, the sauce for the ravioli can be made in another pot. This method gives you perfectly cooked al dente asparagus cooked together with the ravioli. It all comes together in just 20 minutes and is so deliciously flavorful with just 8 simple ingredients!
- If you Love Simple Creamy Pastas like I do, try my
- Fresh Ravioli - I used an 18 oz package of refrigerated Family Style Rana Mozzarella Cheese Ravioli. I love the store-bought refrigerated pastas. They cook quickly and taste great compared to the dried ravioli. I like to use a basic cheese filled ravioli, but you could use anything you like. Tortellini would also work.
- Asparagus - I really can only recommend making this dish in the spring when asparagus is in season! I use 1 bunch of asparagus, cut off and discard about an inch of the tough ends. Ravioli with asparagus is the perfect pair, both cook together in the same pot in about 3 minutes.
- Italian Sausage - I love this recipe because a little Italian sausage goes a long way! I use only a half a pound of bulk mild or sweet Italian sausage. It adds so much flavor without making this a heavy dish. It's a nice ratio of pasta, vegetables, and protein.
- Garlic - Fresh minced garlic adds great flavor to this ravioli cream sauce. I also recommend buying whole garlic bulbs and mincing your own. Pre-chopped garlic or garlic powder can be substituted if you don't have fresh.
- Heavy Cream - This creamy ravioli sauce is your basic Alfredo sauce. It's a simple cream sauce, just heavy cream simmered so it reduces and thickens slightly. You can use half and half, but you may want to use a bit extra, and your sauce won't be quite as rich and creamy.
- Frozen Peas - If you have fresh garden peas, by all means use them! But, frozen peas work just fine in this recipe. Frozen peas don't really need to be cooked, they just need to warm through in the sauce, so they are added towards the end. This keeps them bring green and plump, never shriveled!
- Salt & Pepper - This version of pasta primavera with asparagus and peas is so simple in its flavorings, so the salt and pepper are really important. They bring out the flavors in each ingredient. Be sure to add a pinch of salt to your boiling water before adding the pasta and asparagus as well.
- Fresh Thyme - I love fresh herbs in this creamy ravioli sauce! It really adds to that fresh spring feel of the dish and balances some of the heavier ingredients like the ravioli and the cream. Fresh oregano, sage, basil or rosemary would also work but give you a different flavor. If you don't have fresh, a pinch of dried thyme or Italian seasoning blend can be added in with the garlic.
- Parmesan Cheese - Parmesan is essential in a creamy ravioli sauce! It brings everything together, adds flavor, and garnishes the finished dish.
Step 1 - The asparagus ravioli sauce is made in one pot in the time it takes to boil water and cook the pasta in another pot. You'll work back and forth between the two pots so everything finishes together.
Start by setting a large pot of water to boil. In a large skillet or pot big enough to hold the entire finished dish, begin browning your sausage. Cook until the sausage is fully browned, then add the garlic.
Step 2 - Meanwhile, prepare your other ingredients. Wash the asparagus, trim and discard about 1 inch of the tough ends. Cut them diagonally into bite sized pieces.
Step 3 - When the water reaches a boil, add a pinch of salt and cook the ravioli AND the asparagus together for about 3 to 5 minutes. Check the instructions on your package of ravioli. I used Rana Ravioli which has a cooking time of 3 minutes, but with the asparagus, it needed a little more than that. Taste one to check. BEFORE YOU DRAIN THE PASTA, reserve some of the starchy cooking liquid to add to the sauce. Pull out about a cup; a coffee mug, a ladle, or a measuring cup works well for doing this. Then you can drain the pasta and the al dente asparagus in a colander.
Step 4 - To your fully cooked sausage and garlic, add the cream and let it simmer and reduce over low heat, about 5 minutes. This will thicken to form the sauce. When it has thickened slightly and your pasta is drained and ready, add in the peas, salt, pepper, thyme and half the parmesan cheese, along with about half a cup of the starchy cooking liquid from the pasta water. Keep the heat on low and stir well until all is combined.
Step 5 - Put it all together! Add your ravioli and asparagus to the sauce and stir well until it is completely incorporated. Add more of the cooking liquid as needed. It's a lot to mix! If it's difficult to get it all incorporated, you can add half back to the pasta pot to make it easier to stir.
Step 6 - Garnish with the rest of the Parmesan cheese and more thyme leaves. Serve and enjoy!
Tips & Variations
- Storage Instructions - Store leftover sausage and asparagus pasta in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave. I have also made the entire dish during the day and kept it in the fridge to reheat for dinner. It can also be warmed over low heat on the stovetop while covered. Add milk to loosen up the sauce as you stir.
- Protein Variations - While we love to rich flavor from the Italian sausage, this dish could be made with different proteins or left vegetarian. You could begin by fully cooking chopped bacon or chicken, then add the garlic and cream to make the sauce. You could also start the dish by sautéing garlic in a bit of butter, then add the cream to make the sauce. At this point you could leave the dish vegetarian or add in leftover cooked salmon or chicken to warm through.
- Salt your Pasta Water! - It's always a good pasta practice to salt the boiling water before adding your pasta. The boiling water rapidly dissolves and disperses the salt to evenly season your pasta while it cooks. It's even more important in this dish because you are seasoning both the ravioli and the asparagus. Add about ½ teaspoon, remember you won't be consuming all that salt, some will be drained with the water.
- Save that Starchy Pasta Water! It's liquid gold, don't dump it down the drain! Adding a bit of the starchy cooking water is a secret ingredient of sauce making. It stretches your cream, keeping the sauce light and helps it coat your pasta. Start with about a half a cup, but add more if your dish becomes too dry. Sometimes I'll leave the burner on low while we're eating, and then add a bit more of the pasta water when I come back for a second helping.
Yes! It's always a great idea to buy an extra bag of refrigerated ravioli and throw it in the freezer for quick and easy pasta dishes. You don't even need to thaw it to use! Just add it to the boiling water, you may need to add an extra minute to the cooking time. Always taste one to check if it's done.
Yes! This is a very basic cream sauce and the variations are endless! Green vegetables that cook quickly, like broccoli or green beans can be added with the pasta to cook. You can add things like onion, bell pepper, zucchini, tomato or mushrooms to saute along with the sausage. A handful of spinach could also be added toward the end to bump up the veggies.
More Favorite Spring Recipes!
Did You Make This Recipe?
I’d love to hear what you think! Leave a comment and a star rating below, or tag me in a pic @sungrown_kitchen!
Creamy Asparagus Ravioli with Sausage and Peas
- 18 ounces fresh ravioli (Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water before draining)
- 1 pound asparagus ends trimmed and discarded, spears cut at an angle in large pieces
- ½ pound ground Italian sausage
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup frozen peas
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 grinds fresh black pepper
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme optional
- ⅓ cup Parmesan cheese grated (plus more for topping)
- In the time it takes to boil water and cook the pasta and asparagus in one pot, you can make the sauce in another. Set a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Preheat a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat and brown the sausage until fully cooked, about 7 to 9 minutes.
- Meanwhile, when the water is boiling, add a good pinch of salt and add your ravioli AND the cut up asparagus and cook together for 3 to 5 minutes. Check your package cooking instructions, mine was 3 minutes but it took a bit longer with the asparagus. Taste one to check. BEFORE DRAINING, pull out about a cup of the starchy cooking liquid and reserve it for the sauce. You can do this with a coffee mug, a ladle, or a measuring cup.
- When the sausage is fully browned, stir in the garlic. Then add the cream and let it simmer and reduce over low heat while your pasta and asparagus finish cooking, about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally, it can bubble a little but should not be boiling.
- When the cream has thickened a bit, add the frozen peas, salt, pepper, the leaves off of 2 or 3 sprigs of thyme, half of the Parmesan cheese, and about ½ cup of the starchy cooking liquid. Stir well to combine, keeping it over low heat to continue thickening the sauce.
- Add the drained pasta and asparagus to the sauce and stir well to combine over low heat. You can add more of the pasta water as needed if your sauce becomes too dry. Top with the rest of the Parmesan cheese and more thyme leaves to garnish and serve.
- I use an 18oz Family Style package of Rana Mozzarella Cheese Ravioli.
- Save that Starchy Pasta Water! Adding a bit of the starchy cooking water is a secret ingredient of sauce making. It stretches your cream, keeping the sauce light and helps it coat your pasta.