It's a Keeper: Ravioli Lasagna

Rachael Ray's recipe for Ravioli Lasagna is a classic. It dates back to my favorite Rachael Ray cookbook, 30-Minute Meals 2. It also landed at number 6 on Rachael's list of the top 10 recipes from the first season of her talk show.

The idea here is to have a great lasagna without the time-consuming process of layering meat, pasta, and cheese. In order to skip some steps, Rachael came up with the idea of using cheese ravioli, so you get three layers in one (pasta, cheese, pasta).

This recipe is similar to the one you'd find in 30-Minute Meals 2. All you have to do is serve it with a green salad and you have a very filling meal. The dish only improves with time (according to my husband, since I don't do leftovers).

I'd say this meal took a good 45 minutes, but I definitely wasn't rushing. I cut the recipe in half, since it makes eight servings. Here's the recipe with my comments in brackets:

3 family-size packages of frozen cheese ravioli [Since I was splitting it, I bought one regular sized package and one family sized and it seemed to be enough to me.]
2 cups shredded provolone
1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 pound ground sirloin
1/4 pound ground pork
1/4 pound ground veal [At my grocery store, it's impossible to get 1/4 pound of ground anything (other than beef), so I just get 3/4 pounds of ground beef]
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 cup red wine [If you don't want to open a whole bottle, look in the wine section for half bottles or those little mini ones they sell on airplanes]
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons allspice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup beef or chicken stock
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
1/2 bunch of basil, chopped
1/2 bunch of parsley, chopped

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Bring a pot of water to boil, season heavily with salt. Cook ravioli for about 6 minutes, until almost cooked through. Drain and lay flat on a plate to avoid them from clumping together. [This is a very good tip, since you will be individually placing them in a baking dish later and it stinks if they get torn from sticking together.] Set aside until ready to assemble the lasagna.

In a large sauce pan heat EVOO and begin browning the meat in small batches. Be sure to brown the meat to the point of it becoming a little on the crispy side. This will give the sauce a deep flavor. Move browned meat over to one side of the pan, leaving room on one side of the pan. [It's good to have Rachael Ray's oval pan for doing this!] Add the onion, carrot, garlic and bay leaf, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the wine, scraping up all the bits from the meat and veggies off the bottom of the pan.

Cook the wine for 5 minutes. Season with salt, freshly ground black pepper and allspice. Add Worcestershire and stock; bring up to a bubble. Add the crushed tomato and tomato sauce, and cook until the sauce becomes a bit thicker, about 10-20 minutes. In the last 10 minutes of cooking, add 1/2 of the basil and parsley then remove from heat.

In a 9x13 baking dish, begin layering the lasagna. To the bottom of the dish evenly disperse 1 cup of the sauce. Take 1/3 of the ravioli and mound them on top of the sauce. Spread them out in an even layer and into the corners of the baking dish. Top ravioli with more sauce.

Repeat 2 more times, finishing off with a generous amount of Parmigiano and provolone cheese on the top.

Bake lasagna for 10 minutes until cheese is bubbly. Remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes before serving and garnish with other half of basil and parsley.

Here are a few more pictures of my Ravioli Lasagna:

2 comments:

  1. Thanks, Scientist. I wish the lasagna pics would have turned out better, but it just wasn't very photogenic.

    ReplyDelete

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