Thursday, June 3, 2010

Lazy Man's Lasagna

Sometimes the best recipes just happen when I am in the mood for something. With the weather more February-ish than summer like, a cheesy baked pasta dish seemed like just the thing. The funny thing is that this is a combination of different recipes all rolled into one!

Now, don't be scared off by the length of this recipe. You can do it in parts-the meatballs can be frozen ahead, and so can the sauce. Just thaw, toss with some cooked pasta, bake, and serve.

The meatballs:
(adapted from Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution)

1 lb lean ground beef
12 cream or plain crackers (like Jacobs), whirled up in the food processer until fine
2 heaped tsp dijon mustard
1 large egg
sea salt and pepper
1 chili, seeded and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 handful coriander, chopped finely

In a large bowl, mix together the crackers, mustard, egg, salt and pepper, chili, garlic, and coriander. Add the beef and with your hands, smoosh it all together until it's well blended. If it feels a bit dry, add about a tablespoon of water.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and then roll out the mixture into walnut sized balls.

Bake them at for about 30 minutes, or until cooked through. Cool. You can even freeze them at this point, just thaw before you are going to use them again.

The Sauce:
(original recipe by Scattered Mom)

two 28 oz cans of tomatoes (1 whole tomatoes, 1 crushed)
2 ribs of celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 sweet red pepper, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup good wine
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 chili, seeded and chopped

Put a good glug of olive oil in a fry pan and heat it up. Add in your onion, garlic, celery, chili, and red pepper. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until the veggies are softened. Add your oregano, basil, some salt and pepper, then the brown sugar and red wine vinegar. Stir and allow to coat all the veggies before dumping in the tomatoes, wine, and tomato paste. Smoosh up the tomatoes with your spoon. Bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and let it bubble and cook, stirring occasionally, until it has lost that watery look

Let it bubble and cook, stirring occasionally, until it's good and thick and isn't watery. (about 1/2 hour)

The rest:

350 g fresh spinach and cheese filled ravioli
Parmesan Cheese

Mean while, cook a package of spinach and cheese filled ravioli (about 350 g) according to the package directions. Rinse with cool water and drain well. When the sauce is finished cooking, gently mix it with the ravioli and meatballs in a large bowl. Transfer to a 9x13 inch baking dish, and sprinkle the top with some freshly shaved Parmesan cheese.

Bake, uncovered, at 350 F for about 20 minutes or until bubbling.

Serves 4
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