Today I decided to make a recipe inspired by my friend, D, who works at Costco. She suggested using frozen raviolis to make cheater lasagna. I thought it sounded easy and delicious. Hubby suggested that it would be so much better if I made homemade sauce. And since I had a pretty free day today, I decided to try it.
I started making the sauce (recipe from Cook’s Illustrated Jan/Feb 2010):
2 T unsalted butter 1 can crushed tomatoes
1/4 c grated onion 1/4 t sugar
1/4 t dried oregano 2 T chopped basil
2 minced garlic cloves 1 t extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
Heat butter in medium saucepan over medium heat until melted. Add onion, oregano, and 1/2 t salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated and onion is golder brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes and sugar, increase heat to high, and bring to simmer. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer until reduced to 2 1/2 cups, 25 to 30 minutes. Off heat, stir in basil and oil, then season with salt and pepper.
This actually went off without a hitch except for one – which was a valuable lesson to learn. Simmering tomato sauce splatters. A lot. And white t-shirts should not mix with splattering sauce. Just saying.
I did this early in the day (baby naptime!) and actually set it aside in the fridge until I needed it later.
I decided to use a recipe online instead of my friends, just because it looked a little easier, and if it went wrong, I could only blame myself. 🙂
Lazy Ravioli Lasagna (from Food.com):
28 ounces spaghetti sauce
1 lb ground beef, browned and strained
8 ounces mozzarella cheese
25 ounces frozen cheese ravioli
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Brown and strain beef.
3. Cover the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan with sauce.
4. Layer 1/2 of the frozen ravioli, 1/2 of the beef and 1/3 of the cheese in the pan.
5. Pour another layer of spaghetti sauce and repeat layers. Save some cheese for the top, if you wish.
6. Bake uncovered for 45 minute or until heated all the way through.
Again, pretty easy to put together. I remembered a trick my mom used when draining meat – using a papertowel in the pan to soak it up. It worked really well, and I didn’t even burn myself (bonus!). I even tried to be a little spontaneous while cooking the meat and added some spices (oregano and basil – I figured they were safe since I’d used them in the sauce earlier).
Assembling was a snap, though I didn’t have as much sauce as I thought lasagna would need. But oh well, didn’t have time to make up a new batch.
I did end up putting foil over the top after about half hour, since it was getting brown already. Hubby confirmed that this was a good decision.
Well, again a big case of the blahs. It was better than okay but not really great. It definitely needed more sauce and maybe an infusion of different cheese. I, of course, forgot to take a picture of the cooked dish, but it looked pretty good.
I think I also realized that because my husband is such a good cook, it’s going to take quite the dish to match up. And so, as a bit of a perfectionist, I may not be pleased with most of my dishes just because of that. My husband seemed to enjoy the lasagna, so it will be back again – but with the changes I’ve suggested.