Making lasagna is an arduous task. All those ingredients. All those layers. All that baking time. Totally worth it, don’t get me wrong. But it’s not the stuff of an easy, weeknight dinner. Here’s something that is, “cheating” a bit with ravioli, which takes care of two of the elements of lasagna in one cute, pillowy package – the pasta and the meat. You augment with a few other things and you’ve got dinner in a jiffy! As with many of my recipes, the measurements are more by feel and the customizations are encouraged and totally up to what your family likes.
1 bag frozen beef ravioli (or with other fillings, per your tastes)
Approximately 3/4 jar of pasta sauce of your choice
1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese (or more to taste but there’s already cheese in the ravioli)
A few shakes of grated Parmesan cheese or 1/4 cup hand-shredded
Dried basil, oregano and rosemary to taste
Additions if you like: Shredded zucchini or other squash and/or wilted spinach or other greens to up the nutritional value. See also, how we served it at the bottom of this post.
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Pour a little pasta sauce in the bottom of an oven-proof dish with a lid, like a casserole dish.
3. While I’ve seen some recipes where you just throw the frozen ravioli in a dish, I haven’t had great luck doing this. The moisture created by thawing while cooking seems to dilute the sauce. Instead, I take the extra step of boiling the ravioli, per package instructions, but cut off the cooking time by one minute. Drain them well and pour them into your baking dish.
4. Cover with the rest of the sauce and distribute your seasonings of choice evenly over the pasta/sauce by rubbing them between your fingers to release the aromas and oils.
5. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese evenly over the top and then the Parmesan. Add a little sprinkle of parsley for looks.
6. Cover and bake for approximately 20 minutes. Because you aren’t really going through layers and layers, and because the pasta was already hot, you are really just melting the cheeses, heating up the sauce and melding all of the flavors together.
7. Serve, spooning out the raviolis, making sure to capture sauce and cheese. This meal is delicious with a crusty bread and a big, crispy salad. We served ours over a bed of shredded kale. It made it pretty, provided a variety of textures and lots of good nutrition.