Monday, January 5, 2009

Easy Cheesy Ravioli Casserole (in the Crockpot!)

Alert the media! The dinner that I served my family on Sunday evening was a winner, and then some. I'm talking about a dinner that every member of the family ate and pronounced as delicious.

This does not happen in The Betty & Boo House.

And! You can make it in the crockpot!

My gift to you, dear reader of The Betty & Boo Chronicles, is this recipe:
Easy Cheese Ravioli Casserole,
From the book: This is ...great when you will be serving a meal over a long period of time, say at a buffet, or when family members are arriving home at different times after a busy day. Do take care when selecting both the sauce and the ravioli. The sauce should be a brand and type you really enjoy, but on the plain side. We have found that some of the sauces with large flecks of herbs or lots of garlic or onion powder do not hold up well in the slow cooker. The ravioli should be medium-sized; the super-large ones tend to fall apart upon serving. If you purchase refrigerated ravioli, freeze them yourself before using them in this recipe.

Serves 8-10. (My note: I halved this recipe, but kept the same cooking time, and it was great.) Cooker: Large Round
Cook Time: HIGH for 2.5 - 3.5 hours or LOW for 5 to 6 hours.


1 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium sized onion, chopped (I used a handful or so of frozen chopped onions)
2 cloves garlic, minced
Two 26-28 ozs. jars tomato-based pasta sauce of your choice
3/4 c. dry red wine (I didn't have ... wish I did)
One 8 oz. can tomato sauce (you'll notice it is pictured above. I decided at the last minute to just dump in some extra Prego.)
1-2 tsps. dried basil or Italian herb blend, or 1-2 tbsps. chopped fresh basil, optional (I used dried italian seasoning)
Two 25 oz. packages frozen ravioli of your choice (do not defrost)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
1. Coat the slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. (I used one of those Slow Cooker Liners - love those! - and I was mighty glad I did.)

2. In a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring a few times, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more; don't allow it to burn.

Add the pasta sauce, wine, and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally for 3-5 minutes more. Taste the sauce. If desired, add the basil.

3. Pour 2 cups of the tomato sauce into the cooker. (My note: it is really tempting to just dump the ingredients up to this point directly in the crockpot, bypassing the seemingly unnecessary step of making the sauce. Don't. Take a few extra minutes and make. the. sauce. You'll thank me. Plus, it really is essential to the recipe.)

Add one package of the frozen ravioli, then sprinkle with half of the mozzarella and 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan.

Add 2 more cups of the sauce, the last package of ravioli, the remaining mozzarella, and 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan. Cover with the remaining tomato sauce.

4. Cover and cook on HIGH for 2.5 - 3.5 hours or LOW for 5-6 hours. The casserole is done when a ravioli from the center of the casserole is hot throughout. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan, cover, and let cook 10 minutes more.

Have I mentioned how much we loved this? I needed a dinner that didn't take much effort on Sunday evening. We'd just come home from church and eaten lunch. Betty and I needed to be out the door for Girl Scouts at 4:30 p.m. The Dean and Boo would be watching football, and would be hungry by halftime. Yet, Betty and I would need to eat when we returned home from Girl Scouts.

When I walked in the door, Boo hollered, "That was AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" The Dean heartily agreed. I helped myself to some, and then almost fell over when Betty said she would try a "very small bite" of this. You have to understand: Betty is the Queen of Picky Eaters. She hates sauce of all kinds. To my knowledge, she may never have tried tomato sauce before Sunday evening. So, her willingness to take what amounts to several bites - and then to say she liked it - was HUGE.



Anonymous said...

Wow I am going to try this! I use the slow cooker a lot but have never done any type of pasta in it. I have a very picky eater, and we always eat at different times. Sounds great, thanks!!

Betty and Boo's Mommy said...

Let me know how you like it!

Vivian said...

I keep reading great recipes and keep thinking I need a slow cooker. It would make life easier and if the kids eat the food, so worth it.

Thanks for this recipe.

Happy New Year!

Florinda said...

We got a crcokpot for Christmas, and I'm looking for new recipes to try in it - this sounds great! Thanks for sharing it.

DemMom said...

I've never used the slow cooker liner, will have to try that (anything to avoid cleaning!) Are they at the grocery store?

Niksmom said...

YUM! Will definitely try this one!