Lasagna, when properly made, is a feast for the senses. The sight and smell of a cheesy, bubbly lasagna coming out of the oven has been known to make the knees of strong men go a little wobbly at times, and the diabolically addictive layering of flavors has been responsible for more than a few loosened belts.
Unfortunately, while truly wonderful, a proper lasagna is also time-consuming and surprisingly expensive to make. This version uses ravioli, which combines the pasta and ricotta in one step, and uses a gussied-up jar sauce to save time. I kept it pretty basic, but there’s a lot of room for personalization, depending on what you like or what you have at hand. You can use ground turkey or chicken in place of the ground beef, and even toss in some julienned pepperoni.
Choose a sauce flavor that is neutral (such as Marinara or Basil) or complementary (such as Black Olive or Sausage & Pepper), and you can add capers or diced zucchini or fresh sage to the sauce.
This goes together very quickly, feeds a crowd economically, and will satisfy your lasagna longings in no time flat!
Here’s a photo of the Last Minute Ravioli Lasagna below.
1 lb ground beef
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 - 26 oz jar quality pasta sauce (such as Barilla)
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 lb whole milk mozzarella, grated
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
3/4 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese (or a combination)
2 - 25 oz packages frozen cheese ravioli
In a large pot, set 6 quarts of salted water on to boil. Meanwhile, cook the ground beef with the garlic in a large saucepan until just done, breaking the beef into small pieces as it cooks. Drain off the excess oil and stir in the sauce. Shake 1/2 cup of water in the sauce jar and pour the water into the saucepan. Cover and bring to a simmer.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the cheeses and the minced parsley and set aside.
Cook the ravioli according to package directions; drain and rinse.
To assemble: Coat a 9 X 13 inch baking pan with cooking spray and spoon a little sauce in the bottom. Place a single layer of ravioli in the pan (overlapping slightly), top with a third of the remaining sauce, and a third of the cheese/parsley mix. Repeat the ravioli/sauce/cheese layers, adding some additional grated cheese to the top layer, if you wish.
Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes (difficult, I know!) Serves 6-8.
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