Italian Sausage Ravioli in Herbed Broth

Chicken Broth, Basil, Garlic, Scallion, Fish Sauce, Red Pepper Flakes

Not yet the season for the more heavy, thick, creamy, more rib-sticking soups and stews to stave off blustery winter weather, autumn is a great time to get balanced layers of flavor in a hearty yet light soup with plenty of earthy depth.

In this quick application, I brought home premium store-bought fresh Italian sausage-filled ravioli. I then made a stock that started with sautéing chopped scallions and minced garlic in rendered bacon fat, adding chicken broth, fresh-cracked pepper, red pepper flakes, and some dried basil for a familiar Italian comfort food flavor profile. Then for a twist, I also added a healthy dose of fish sauce, for a counter of Asian-centric earthiness and umami, as well as for its salt that has more layers of taste that the table salt I omitted in preparation.

I let that simmer for 15 minutes, adding the fresh ravioli for the last two minutes to just heat them through, and then slot-spooning them into bowls, ladling the still hot broth over them.

Hot, red pepper-tinged broth spread deep flavor over the tongue, and staving of the September chill, spread goosebumps across the back of my neck and shoulders. The ravioli themselves al dente with a firm yet easy chew of both pasta and subtly seasoned sausage inside.

And the aromatics, now having filled my entire apartment, evoking — not just meals past but — memories past of autumn, without weighing me down, leaving me able to have the energy and interest in taking a long walk on a brisk, breezy, 71° afternoon.