Check out my new twist on a classic.
Is it crazy to imagine taking a classic dish like lasagna and shaking it up a bit, right? What about taking a little help from your local grocery store. A great start is by purchasing a really good jarred sauce and making it taste as if you made it from scratch. This sauce will taste likes its been simmering on the stove all day.
The other ingredient I’m going to be using for this dish is a good quality store-bought cheese ravioli. They’re found in the freezer section of the grocery store. My favorite is the mini cheese ravioli.
If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I’m utilizing each one of my fresh herbs, from my Organic Hanging Herb Garden, and incorporating them into my dishes. I’m highlighting my sweet basil in my Cheese Ravioli Lasagna In A Tomato Basil Meat Sauce.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 3 to 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Yields: 8 to 10 servings
Equipment: 1 (9 x 13) baking dish, 2 (6-quart) saucepots, slotted spoon colander, a rimmed baking sheet pan, chef’s knife, Microplane
4 tablespoons of olive oil
2 pounds (90% lean) ground sirloin
1 large onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1/4 cup of light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
2 (24-ounce) jars of Rao’s Marinara Sauce, tomato basil variety
2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup of chicken stock, unsalted
2 (1 pound 6-ounce) packages of frozen mini cheese ravioli
1 cup of fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
3/4 cup of Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (reserve 1/4 cup for the top)
2 packages of shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated
In a large saucepot over medium-high heat add olive. Add diced onions 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, red pepper flakes, dried oregano, and light brown sugar. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Next, add the chicken stock, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for another 2 to 3 minutes reducing the liquid by half.
Reduce the heat to low, add both jars of tomato basil sauce. Simmer for another 15 minutes. Turn the heat to off, add the finely chopped fresh basil leaves, stir to combine.
In another saucepot over medium-high heat add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the ground sirloin, 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper. Using a wooden spoon, break up the ground meat, stirring frequently. Add fresh thyme continue to cook until the sirloin is no longer pink and cooked through, about 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer the cooked sirloin, using a slotted spoon, to the containing the tomato sauce.
While the sauce is simmering have a large pot of salted boiling water ready. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to prevent the ravioli from sticking. Let cook just under the required time on the package, about 5 minutes. They’ll continue their cooking during the baking process. Drain the ravioli. Rinse under cool water to stop the cooking process, then drain well.
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
Start by ladling around 1 1/2 cups of the tomato basil sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. Next, arrange the mini ravioli in the dish covering all of the sauce. Then add the 1 package of shredded Mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup of the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano covering all the ravioli. Sprinkle with half of the finely chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley. Top with another layer of the tomato basil sauce. Repeat this process one more time. You want to the shredded Mozzarella and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano end up on top. Finally, sprinkle the rest of the finely chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley over the cheese.
Spray the underside (dull side) of the foil with non-stick cooking spray and cover the dish tightly. This will prevent the cheese from sticking to the foil. Place the baking dish on top of a sheet pan. Bake covered for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake uncovered for another 10 or until the top is golden brown.
Let the baking dish rest for at least 15 minutes to set, before cutting. Serve with fresh basil leaves.
What’s great about this recipe is you can prepare everything in advance. All you need to do is to prepare the sauce and the cheese ravioli. Layer all the ingredients into the baking dish. Allow enough time for the dish to come to room temperature. Spray off the dull side of the foil with non-stick cooking spray before tightly wrapping the baking dish. That will prevent the cheese from sticking to the foil in the baking process.
Transfer the whole covered dish into the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake. I recommend no more than two days. If it’s been previously refrigerated, the baking time will vary (may take 45 to 50 minutes or until golden and bubbly).
There you have it, my Cheese Ravioli Lasagna In A Tomato Basil Meat Sauce.