Sunday, March 7, 2010
My eight year old loves cheese ravioli. And while I most often prepare it during the week with a simple butter and sage sauce, I thought I'd try something different for our weekly family dinner with the in-laws.
Baked ravioli is extremely easy to make. You can use a simple tomato sauce or a meat sauce, layer in spinach, other vegetables or sliced meatballs, even opt for meat stuffed ravioli or something more exotic, like portobello mushroom—the variations are endless.
I decided to use homemade tomato sauce and big fat round raviolis stuffed with ricotta cheese.
To make the sauce you need:
1 small onion, diced
1 large can of tomato puree
1 large can of crushed tomatoes
Crushed basil and oregano to taste
Garlic (I used 1 generous teaspoon of crushed garlic)
2 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
You will also need large ravioli (I used 4 boxes of 12) and grated mozzarella cheese.
Saute the onion and garlic in a bit of olive oil, then add the tomato puree and crushed tomatoes. Stir in the basil, oregano, salt and pepper, and add the grated parmesan cheese.
While the sauce simmers (about 20-30 minutes), bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the ravioli until just tender. If you are using fresh ravioli, this won't take long. Drain the pasta water and let the ravioli cool—just long enough to handle easily.
Spread a thin amount of sauce in a large casserole dish. Add a layer of ravioli, making sure to overlap slightly.
Cover with another layer of sauce and grated mozzarella cheese. Repeat—ravioli, sauce, cheese.
Bake, uncovered, in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes, or until sauce is bubbling and the cheese is fully melted.
I served this with grilled asparagus and a loaf of garlic bread. My husband has already staked a claim on the leftovers!