Thursday, September 30, 2010

Weeknight Ravioli Bake

Happy first birthday, blog! I see that I've been, er, neglecting you of late....

I saw this recipe on my most recent email from Kraft the other day, but I actually had another one in mind to try until this one got requested. One just needs baked pasta some days and today is one of those days.

I should warn you that although this is a Kraft recipe (a.k.a. "easy/simple"), I had a horrendous time trying to find the bloody pasta for it. Kind of a key ingredient that I can't really go without, you know? I went to two different stores. Neither had "frozen" ravioli, nor did the chilled ravioli selection they had come in the required size. Grrrr! Ok, fine. I'll buy the not-technically-frozen one. But it doesn't give me enough because the package is 700g (family size was cheaper) and I need a cumulative total of 900g. Argh. I ended up buying one of the 700g family size packages (spinach and cheese) as well as one of the 350g packages (beef? I forget). I used my trusty kitchen scale to carefully remove 150g of the errant package to freeze for a later date. Yes, I really am that anal in the kitchen.

I also nearly had an issue with the spinach. You'll notice that it's an optional-add item at the bottom of the recipe. I had only 3 items on my grocery list, but when I found the spinach (300g), I read my list wrong and thought I needed 2 x 450g packages. I did some quick mental math and threw 3 packages of spinach into my bag. A few aisles later while hunting for the pasta, I suddenly realized that my pasta was supposed to add up to 900g and the spinach was just one 300g package. That would have been a very healthy mistake if I hadn't noticed...

Overall, this recipe wasn't too bad if I disregard the pasta troubles. When I started to assemble the meal in the dish, the one cup of sauce on the bottom really didn't look like much. It seemed that there was an excessive amount of sauce left in the mixing bowl. I added another cup of sauce between the pasta layers, but that didn't leave me as much as I was probably supposed to have for the top layer. It still seems edible; just something to keep in mind if you try this recipe.

As for substitutions, I didn't have a whole lot. You already read about the stupid pasta. I used basil and tomato pasta sauce because the label was pretty and sugar wasn't one of the first 3 ingredients (Catelli Garden Selects). I couldn't find no-salt-added diced tomatoes so I used ones with however much salt comes with them. I really only had one option at the store. I already had medium cheddar cheese on hand so I used that instead of the fancy expensive kind they try to tell you that you need. And I grated it myself. So there.

Before I forget: beware the Oliveri brand of ravioli! They're kind of scam artists because a bunch of their cute little ravioli pieces were just pieces of pasta. Not stuffed with anything or even pretending to be stuffed (there were some of those too). I wasn't impressed. I wish my friend Chef could have come over to make me some fresh pasta again, but alas. He moved to Nova Scotia and I moved to Calgary.

Consumption notes: OMNOMNOMNOM!! It's quite good, very flavourful and delicious. I think if you use the spinach like I did, don't put sauce between the layers of ravioli. Put it on the top like you're supposed to. A few of my top ravioli pieces got a bit dried out due to lack of coverage. And if you drop any pieces of ravioli on the floor while attempting to transfer them to your plate, they make a nice "splat!" sound and a big mess. I'm just sayin'........

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