Saturday, August 6, 2011

Baked Ravioli alla Bolognese

I ask my readers everyday "whatcha cookin today?". I get a minimum of 8-10 responses. This warms my heart. I actually have readers who sit down to dinner at their table most nights. I love to hear the answer "I'm making your..........! This is the sweetest sound to my ears. That I have inspired someone to cook something that I have made my family is nothing short of heartwarming. To know I have inspired someone else to cook is a "fait accompli". It is the mission I set out on everyday!
The recipe I am passing along today is a recipe inspired by my late husband. He loved a great Bolognese (meat sauce). It had to be warm, and hearty. It had to have body, and herbs. It had to have a "cooked all day" flavor. He was a man after my own heart. He knew how to cook, and he knew how to inspire me to cook. I hope this recipe inspires you to show someone else how to cook. It's simple in ingredients, but complex in flavor. Just what I look for in a recipe I want to pass on.
I give you my Baked Ravioli alla Bolognese.


Ingredients:

Bolognese:
1 lb Italian Sausage meat (no casing)
1 lb Ground Beef
2 tbsp Olive Oil
4 cloves Garlic (crushed)
1 minced Onion (yellow onion)
1 Roasted Red Pepper diced
2 Large Tomatoes (diced small)
1 Large Can (Tomato Sauce)
4 Tbsp Tomato Paste
2 tbsp Basil (dried)
2 tbsp Oregano (dried)
2 tbsp Garlic (dried)
1 tbsp Red Crushed Pepper (dried)
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/2 cup Orange Juice
2 cups Red Wine (opt) may sub stock or water But the wine really is a flavor enhancer.

1 Bag Frozen Cheese Ravioli (that have been defrosted in the fridge)
3 Cups Mozzarella
1 cup Parmesan

Instructions:

In a Dutch Oven, warm Olive Oil on medium-high heat. Add Sausage and Ground Beef, saute at medium heat until starts to brown. Once you have a color starting to change, add Onion and Garlic and Roasted Red Pepper. Finishing sauteeing the meat until cooked. Add Tomatoes. Saute and scrape bottom of pan. Stir in Tomato Sauce and Paste. Combine well. Cook through about 5 minutes.Add remaining ingredients. Taste. Salt & Pepper if need be. Cover and simmer on Low Heat 1 hour. If mixture becomes dry..add enough Water to make it a thick but not overly meaty consistency. (see photo above).
Taste periodically to adjust seasoning. May add 1 tbsp honey or tbsp sugar if tomatoes are too acidic. May add more salt and pepper as needed.

Once Bolognese is complete, Pre-Heat oven to 375°.

Into the bottom of a Baking Dish, pour 2 ladles of Sauce.
Lay (refrigerated) Ravioli atop the sauce in one (or so) layer. (may be a few stuck together this is fine)
Pour remaining sauce over Ravioli. (If too much sauce, save some for next time)
Sprinkle top with Cheeses.
Bake @ 375° for 30 minutes or until Cheeses are thoroughly melted.

Serve with Garlic Bread and Salad!
Enjoy!

**Quick Note: This dish can be varied so much. you can use Tortelloni, Cavatelli etc...Try a Pasta in your grocers refrigerator aisle. The refrigerated stuffed pastas are fabulous here! Preparing them this way makes it much more of a "Sunday Dinner" than just Pasta and meat sauce on a Wednesday night.... Give it a try! You'll love it!