It’s hotter than hell outside. That goes without saying, I know. But still. HOT.
And yet, I turned the oven on. That’s right. The things I’ll do for cheesy baked goodness. I’ve gotten into following the Country Cook (her Facebook is slammin’, too) and she recently posted an amazingly simple version of Baked Ravioli. I love ravioli to begin with (chef boyardi type stuff included… guilty as charged), but I’ve never actually made my own. If you don’t count using frozen ravioli as “homemade”, then I’ve still technically never “made” it.
I sort of modified her recipe a bit, and not because I didn’t like her setup. But mostly because we have a bunch of random stuff in the house that needs to get eaten. And also because this nut over here didn’t have any pasta sauce, so I sort of faked it.
Anyway, it turned out fantastic. For not having actual pasta sauce in my possession, I think the last resort combination of tomato soup and pizza sauce worked wonders. I mean, you can’t go wrong with two tomato-based products, right? Everything was so cheesy and had the perfect blend of saucy, meaty and spicy. The potato gnocchi really added something special to this too. Kind of that “meat and potatoes” type deal. Plus it made for a ton of leftovers, so lunches were taken care of for a while. We will definitely be making this again, especially when we have company or when it gets a bit cooler outside.
- Oven: 425 degrees F
- Prep: 15 mins
- Cook: 10-15 mins
- Bake: 10 mins
- Broil: 2-3 mins
- Total: ~35-40mins
- Servings: 7-10
- 2 Fresh roma tomatoes, sliced and halved
- 1/2 Large onion
- 1/2 can Black olives
- 3 Garlic cloves
- 1 Can tomato soup
- 1 Jar pizza/marinara sauce
- 1lb Lean Ground beef
- 3 Cups frozen ravioli (I used mushroom & meat-stuffed ravioli).
- 1 Cup frozen potato gnocchi
- 1/4 Cup fennel seeds
- 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- Italian seasonings
- Crushed red pepper
- Parsley flakes
Step 1: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Slice tomatoes, black olives, onions and garlic.
Step 2: In a large bowl, combine tomato soup and marinara sauce. Add italian seasonings (to your liking) and set aside.
Step 3: In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown beef and diced onions.
Step 4: While the meat is browning, bring a medium-sized pot of water to boil. I used a 4 quart sauce pan and filled it with about 3 quarts of water. Once the water is boiling, add the frozen ravioli and gnocchi and continue to boil for 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and strain.
Step 5: Once fully browned, strain beef & onions and return to skillet. Add 1/2 of the fennel and all of the chopped garlic, and stir. The fennel gives the meat that great italian flavor, and adds a little kick.
Step 6: Add about 2 cups of the sauce mixture to the beef. Mix well until the beef is fully coated.
Step 7: Spray a glass baking dish (I used 9″x13″) with nonstick oil. Place a fine layer of the meat mixture at the bottom of the dish. Layer with all of the ravioli and gnocchi, followed by another layer of pasta sauce and the rest of the fennel seeds. Add a layer of the remaining meat mixture and pasta sauce. Top with sliced roma tomatoes and sprinkled cheese. Add parsley and crushed red peppers for garnish.
Step 8: Bake for 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Note – We opted for a shorter baking time because it was freaking hot in our house. The dish will hold together better if baked for about 30 minutes. In addition, for a brown and crispy cheese, set oven to broil for about 3-5 minutes. Remove from oven and allow Baked Ravioli to cool for 5 minutes. Cut Ravioli Bake into squares, serve and enjoy!
Oh my God.
For the love of all things Holy. CHEESE!
Psst… Don’t forget the wine!