At a recent gathering of some of my writer friends, I brought this “experiment” along as my contribution to the pot-luck. I started with my Fast Marinara recipe and then did something I’d seen on the cover of a magazine or something. The principle is simple: take marinara, some sort of pasta, and a soft cheese blend. Then just layer the whole thing and apply heat until you can’t take the smell anymore and have to eat it. This particular dish is fast, easy, and the folks at the pot-luck seemed to gobble it up. All told, I spent about 20 minutes preparing this dish, but that assumes that I had the Fast Marinara already prepared and hot.
NOTE: This recipe assumes you are using the large, oblong crockpot rather than the standard round one. If you are using a round one, then you’ll want to reduce all ingredients by about 33%.
- Prepare my Fast Marinara first and leave on low heat until ready for use
- 48 oz. ricotta cheese (low fat is fine, but with this dish, there really isn’t much point)
- 8 oz. grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 8 oz. grated mozzarella cheese
- 4 oz. grated parmesan
- 1 ½ bags (about 75-80 oz. frozen stuffed ravioli… I used spinach and cheese ravioli)
- The small bags of parmesan & seasoning that usually comes with frozen ravioli
- ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
- In a giant bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, grated sharp cheddar, grated mozzarella, and grated parmesan, mixing thoroughly until it is fully blended and almost the consistency of playdoh
- Set the chees mix aside
- Using a ladle, coat the bottom of the crockpot with sauce
- Carefully put a single layer of frozen ravioli over the sauce, leaving as little space between them as possible
- Using a rubber spatula, scoop small amounts of cheese-mix out of the bowl and carefully make a layer of cheese to coat the ravioli completely
- Add a layer of sauce, enough to fully coat the cheese but not be more than an 1/8 to ¼ inch thick
- Repeat this process until you’re about ¾ of an inch from the top of the crock pot
- Put a final layer of frozen ravioli over the top, leaving about 1 inch of space from the sides
- Add a thin layer of mozzarella followed by the shredded parmesan.
- Add about 4 tbsp. of the seasoned parmesan from the ravioli bags (if they were included) over the top of everything
- Cover the crockpot and set to high
- Keep the remaining sauce heated until ready to serve
- Let cook for 3 to 3 ½ hours
Scoop out a portion of the ravioli lasagna and add some of the marinara. That’s it. This one is REALLY simple.
You can use any frozen ravioli you like for this dish. As mentioned above, variations on the fat levels of the cheese are possible. No matter how you cut it, this dish is not something you’ll find in the diet section of a menu, and my philosophy is if you’re going to eat lasagna or any variation thereof, go for broke… just don’t do it often unless you have a REALLY good cardiologist and fitness trainer.