Thursday, January 17, 2008

Baked Ravioli

I don't know what I was thinking when I made this week's meal plan - I guess I was really craving baked Italian food? Tonight's dinner, Baked Ravioli, is very, very similar to the Eggplant Parmesan we had on Tuesday night (I did not make dinner last night because I had a meeting for school until late). They both consist of something covered in a home-made tomato sauce, topped with a thick layer of cheese, and baked. This is not a bad thing. We enjoyed both meals. But I think it was kind of overkill.

Tonight's tomato sauce was not as good as the one with the eggplant parmesan, but it was good enough. We used Trader Joe's mushroom-and-cheese ravioli, which was a good choice. The meal was good but not great. We probably would not make it again. I am not sure how much of this decision is based on the recipe itself and how much is based on the comparison between this one and the eggplant dish. Regardless, it was a good dinner.

ravioli

Baked Ravioli
From Everyday Food magazine, 11/03

Baking pasta with cheese on top creates a chewy and crispy topping kids will love. You can assemble the dish ahead and refrigerate it, then bake it right before dinner. Try this recipe with 1 pound of spaghetti (cook a few minutes less than the package instructions direct). Don't worry if it seems like there's too much sauce; it will be absorbed as the pasta bakes.

* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 medium onion, chopped
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* Coarse salt and ground pepper
* 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme, or oregano
* 1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes
* 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
* 2 pounds store-bought ravioli
* 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
* 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and season with salt and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add thyme and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, breaking up tomatoes with spoon, until sauce is thickened and reduced to about 5 1/2 cups, 20 to 25 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, cook ravioli in a large pot of boiling salted water just until they float to the top (pasta will continue to cook in oven). Drain pasta; return to pot.

3. Toss sauce with pasta. Pour pasta into a large gratin dish or 9-by-13-inch baking dish, and sprinkle with cheeses. Bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool slightly before serving.

Yield: 4-6 servings

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