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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Cheese Ravioli Lasagna In A Tomato Basil Meat Sauce

Check out my new twist on a classic.

Let's Dish

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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 sweet basil in my Cheese Ravioli Lasagna In A Tomato Basil Meat Sauce.

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Sweet Basil (2)

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Tomato Basil Meat Sauce

Tomato Basil Meat Sauce

Cheese Ravioli

8 X 11 Baking Dish

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Cheese Ravioli Lasagna (3)

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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, colander, a rimmed baking sheet pan

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 pound lean ground sirloin
1 large onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2-24 ounce jars of Rao’s Marinara Sauce, tomato basil variety
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup of unsalted beef broth
2-1 pound 6-ounce packages of frozen mini cheese ravioli
1 cup of fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
1/2cup of flat-leaf Italian parsley, finely chopped
2 packages of shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated (substitute grated Parmesan)

Directions:
In a large pot over medium-high heat add olive. Add diced onions Kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions soften, about 2 to 3 minutes.  Add the ground sirloin, using a wooden spoon, break up the ground meat and cook until completely brown, about 10 minutes.

Next, add the beef broth and cook for another 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add in the two jars of tomato basil sauce. Simmer for another 15 minutes. Turn the heat off and add the finely chopped fresh basil leaves, stir through.

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 will continue their cooking during the baking process. Drain the ravioli into a colander. 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 1/2 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.

Note:
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).

My Organic Hanging Herb Garden

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Whole Foods

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I was strolling through the Whole Foods market when this display wheel of Parmigiano-Reggiano caught my eye. Oh yeah, the “on-sale” sign too!

Right behind the Parmigiano-Reggiano wheel is an enormous wall of cheeses from around the world, I mean that literally! There are cheeses from all over the world, and I’m planning on trying a few of them in the very near future.

The most amazing moment was watching the process of opening an eighty-pound Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese wheel.

 

It turns out, this is a pretty big undertaking, and definitely takes some time to complete. Once that wheel is cracked open, it’s pretty awesome! I bought myself a couple of big wedges. When I returned home from the store, I placed one in the freezer and one in the frig. I think it’s going to be a pasta night!

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Cast Iron Skillet Pull-Apart Stuffed Pizza

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My Cast Iron Skillet Pull-Apart Stuffed Pizza is a perfect dish to eat when watching football. I serve it with a side of Marinara sauce. Served hot or at room temperature, these pull-a-part pizza bites can be individually customized. You could get really creative and make them with a variety of fillings. All You need is a cast-iron skillet.

Let’s start with the filling.

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Cheese (2)

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes ( this includes the filling cooking time)
Yields: 6 servings
Equipment: 12-inch cast-iron skillet, rolling pin, 12-inch sauté pan, 2 rimmed baking sheet pan, parchment paper

Ingredients:
1 pound store-bought pizza dough, room temperature (rolled out and cut into circles, 4 inches in diameter, need 24 circles)
1 pound of sweet Italian sausage bulk style (substitute spicy sausage)
2 tablespoons of Canola oil (add oil to a paper towel and thoroughly grease the cast iron skillet)
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1/2 diced red bell pepper, diced
1/2 a green bell pepper, diced
1/2 a yellow bell pepper, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 15-ounce can of fire-roasted tomatoes, drained
2 tablespoons of dried oregano
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 8-ounce package of shredded Mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Season Butter:
1/2 stick of melted unsalted butter
1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
Marinara sauce for dipping (substitute store-bought pizza sauce)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400-degrees F.
Preheat a large sautèpan on medium heat. Add olive oil and start by browning off the bulk sausage. Once the sausage is brown and fully cooked, using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage onto a plate lined with a paper towel and set aside.

Next, in the same sautè pan add all the veggies with the seasonings. Once veggies are tender add the cooked sausage back in along with a can of drained diced tomatoes, stir and let simmer for 10 minutes.

When that’s finished cooking, transfer all the ingredients to a bowl, and let cool down. I like to stir everything every now and then to help the cooling process along. Next, add the shredded Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Move on to rolling out the pizza dough.

Cut out 24 4-inch circles and lay them out onto two rimmed baking sheet pans lined with parchment paper. Add Canola oil to a piece of paper towel and wipe down the cast iron skillet really well.

Start adding 1 tablespoon of the filling to the circles of pizza dough and folding them into a crescent shape. Next, place them in a circular pattern starting at the outside of the skillet and work your way inwards.

Bake on the bottom rack for about 25 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Be sure to keep your eye on it while it’s baking. Once the Cast Iron Skillet Pull-Apart Pizza is still hot, brush the top with the seasoned butter. Serve with a side of marinara or pizza sauce.

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