Menu Monday (on Tuesday)(again)

I figured I'd post another easy and yummy stand-by meal at the Keller house, seeing as how life is still a bit unsettled and busy since the move.

This is one of my personal favorites.

Cheese Ravioli Bake

3 Tbl unsalted butter
2 Garlic cloves, minced
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
2 Tbl coarsely chopped fresh basil
1/3 c Heavy cream
2 (8 oz) packages fresh cheese ravioli
1 (6 oz) bag baby spinach
1 c Shredded mozzarella cheese

Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot for cooking pasta. Meanwhile, heat oven to 450 degrees. Grease shallow 2 quart baking dish with 1 Tbl butter (or I just use cooking spray).

Melt remaining 2 Tbls butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant but not brown, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, increaswe heat to high, an cook until thickened and almost dry, about 10 minutes. Stir in basil and cream and simmer until sauce thickens, about 2 minutes. Season with salt.

Add 1 Tbl sale and ravioli to boiling water and cook until al dente (typically about 4-7 minutes). Add spinach to pot with pasta and stir until wilted, about 30 seconds. Drain pasta and spinach, return to pot, and stir in tomato sauce. Transfer mixture to baking dish, sprinkle with cheese and bake until top is golden, about 1o minutes. Cool 5 minutes before serving.

OK - that's what the recipe says and it's mighty tastey when you follow it, but I've also made this a much faster way and it's just as good.

Basically, follow the directions, with the following exceptions:
  1. Grease your pan with cooking spray, instead of butter

  2. I really like the flavor of melting the butter with the garlic and tomatoes, but a canned tomato sauce in place of these three ingredients works fine.

  3. I think the spinach is optional, but the basil is not! But, I LOVE basil - so when I don't have fresh basil on hand, I use a spoonful purchased basil pesto or I've found frozen fresh basil at Trader Joe's, frozen into 1 tsp squares - SO convenient!

  4. I also think the cream is optional. Who buys cream on a regular basis anyway? I think it adds flavor, but mostly adds fat and calories. It tastes great without it. You could probably try a couple ounces of reduced fat cream cheese if you like the creamy texture better (I've not tried it this way, but I'm sure it would be great).


crystal said...

you're so lucky you have Trader Joe's! I'm jealous :)

The Harberts said...

this is so random, but I stumbled onto your blog a few months ago when Ellinghouse posted about your Menu Monday... anyway, I made this, and it was AMAZING, and came back here today to get the recipe to make it again tonight.

thanks for sharing!