Friday, December 3, 2010

Move Over Lasagna. DEEP DISH RAVIOLI is in Town!

When you think of Italian food, what comes to mind instantly.  Lasagna right?

If you had to make an Italian meal, I'm guessing you would make Lasagna or Spaghetti.

Poor Ravioli!  Always overlooked!

Like the middle child.  Has all the qualities, if not more, but never recognized.

Well today, Ravioli is making a comeback.  What does Lasagna have that Ravioli doesn't?

I mean heck, Ravioli already has the Ricotta cheese built in!  Take THAT Lasagna!

Well today things are different.

Move over Lasagna, cause Ravioli's in town.  And he's gonna show you who's who!


Here are Ravioli's Friends:

1 bag (1 lb) frozen Cheese Filled Ravioli
1 lb. hamburger
1 jar store bought Spaghetti Sauce
1 can Petite Diced Tomatoes
Chopped Onion (see below)
Chopped Garlic (see below)
Fresh Mozzarella Ball
Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese
Garlic bread (of course)

Preheat oven to 350.

First I fry up the hamburger in a large pot, not a fry pan (I'll tell you why later).  I am a bit partial to frozen copped onion.  It's easy cause you can grab a handful of already diced onion out of the freezer, and plop it into whatever you need it for.  Without all the chopping and tearing up.  Plus there is no pressure to hurry up and use the fresh onion in fear of it going bad because you don't feel like cooking.

After all it says "Recipe Helper" on the bag!

So I threw in a handful of frozen chopped onion (but that's totally up to you).

Again, something easy, I buy the jar of chopped Garlic in the produce section. The kind you keep in your refrigerator and use whenever you want it.  My niece would KILL me if she heard me say that.  But I'm in a hurry today, plus I didn't have a fresh clove of garlic on hand.

So I took my cute little wooden spoon and added about a teaspoon of the chopped garlic.

Now fry up the hamburger with the onion.  Once it's brown, I like to add a pinch or two of Kosher Salt.

Now I add the can of diced tomatoes. Be sure to drain the tomatoes of all the juice.  Make sure it's pretty well drained.  We don't want juicy pasta.

Once the hamburger is all cooked and the onion is tender and you've mixed in the tomatoes and they are warm, strain it all so you get rid of any excess juice and grease.  You don't want a greasy and runny Deep Dish Ravioli.  Lasagna would LOVE it if Ravioli failed.

Put the hamburger mixture in a bowl and set it aside.

I use frozen ravioli, I suppose you could use the fresh kind, but it's a bit more expensive.  This is the size I use.  There was a time that I could find these LARGE round Ravioli, the size of a tennis ball around, but I can't find them anymore.  I love those, but no one carries those anymore.  So this is the size I get.

Now, I just take the large pot that I fried the hamburger in, and fill it with water and get it ready to boil for the Ravioli.  I'm all about using the same pots and pans to avoid lots of stuff to clean up.

Get the water good and boiling and throw in the frozen ravioli.  Watch these babies because you don't want to over boil them.  They cook up really fast!  You don't want them to over-cook where the ricotta starts to squirt out (I've done that and it ain't pretty).

It's ok if they are slightly undercooked because they are going in the oven anyway.  So as soon as they start to float to the top and they look just about done, take them off the stove and gently put them in the strainer.

I use a 2 quart casserole dish for this recipe.  It's square and the sides are about 3 inches high.  You don't want a larger dish cause you want it to be sort of "deepish".  Thus DEEP DISH Ravioli.  Get my drift?

Now, I take my jar of spaghetti sauce.  Yes I am using sauce from the jar.  Don't judge me.  And I pour about 1/3 of a cup of the sauce in the bottom of the casserole dish.  Then I layer 1/2 of the Ravioli in the dish, nice and pretty.

Then I spread Half of the hamburger mixture on top of the ravioli and then sprinkle the top with fresh Parmesan cheese.

Now comes the best part.  I use FRESH MOZZARELLA.  Not the cube kind that you grate, but the WHITE fresh stuff.  Normally comes in a ball.  Like this.

I got this at Walmart Grocery Store, so you don't have to go to a fancy schmancy place to get this.  They normally don't keep it with the cubed cheese, it's normally in the Deli section.  Just ask if you can't find it.

A little tip:  I like to throw this baby in the freezer while I'm frying up my hamburger, because it's much much easier to slice.  If it's room temperature, FORGET IT.  You will never get nice round slices. It's super soft and if it's room temperature, all you will be able to do is get mushed up round slices.  But don't FORGET it's in the freezer!

 Now layer the round slices of this goodness on top of the hamburger and Parmesan mixture.

Then pour the sauce on top of the Mozzarella.

Now layer the last half of the Ravioli on top of this.

Then the last half of the Hamburger mixture on top of the Ravioli.

Then sprinkle Parmesan on top of the hamburger.

Now lay more slices of the fresh Mozzarella on top and then pour the remainder of the spaghetti sauce on top  of that.

Place the casserole dish on a cookie sheet, in case it overflows.

Cover with foil VERY LIGHTLY.  You don't want the foil to stick to that wonderful cheese. Basically make a foil tent and lay on top.

Bake for 30 minutes.  Take off foil and bake another 10 minutes.  Take out of oven and set aside. 

Oh Ravioli, look at you!

Now let this set on the counter for at least 15 minutes.  This is the time that I like to put the Garlic Bread in the oven. It gives the pasta and sauce to sort of calm down and not be so overly hot and run all over the plate.

Once your garlic bread is done, about 15 or 18 minutes, you should be able to dish this gloriousness out onto your ever-waiting plate.

Look at that Cheese!  You are not going to get that from the package kind!

Ahhh Ravioli, you are my hero!  I'm glad you're back in town, I missed  you!


  1. ok when can I move in so you can cook for me? I don't take up much space, I'm not messy and I'm good at washing dishes :) -this looks fabulous, ravioli is one of my favorites!! mmmmm!

  2. Ok Miss Firebug, YOU MY DEAR, can move in anytime! I'd gladly trade my cooking for your creative talent!

  3. I made this last night & it got rave reviews. The only thing I added were some baby bellas to the meat, onion, etc. mix. Good recipe! Thanks!