I wasn’t really sure what to call this, so you see what I chose. Not sure how lasagna-like it really is, but what the hell.
I got the idea for something like this from a recipe I saw online, and I had all the right ingredients, so I went with this version of it.
There are a ton of ways you can make this, and no matter what ingredients you choose, it’s pretty difficult to mess up. The main bullets in the recipe below are what I made, and the indented bullets are good alternatives.
The one main note is make sure to cook any extra water out of the crushed, whole peeled, or sauced tomatoes you use. Otherwise, the dish could come out runny, and you don’t want that. Other than that, knock yourself out.
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What you’ll need:
- 24 ounces frozen or refrigerated cheese ravioli (I actually think tortellini would work better)
- Meat ravioli
- Cheese tortellini
- Meat tortellini
- 1 lb. Italian sausage
- Ground beef
- Ground pork
- Chopped hard salami (maybe don’t use an entire pound for this alternative)
- Some garlic cloves, chopped (optional)
- 28 oz crushed canned tomatoes
- Diced tomatoes
- Whole peeled tomatoes
- Tomato sauce (adjust amount)
- Salt, to taste
- Chopped basil, to taste (optional)
- 8-16 oz. fresh mozzarella (a cut-up ball or “pearls”)
- Shredded mozzarella
- Grated Parmesan, Romano, Asiago or other cheese to also top with before serving (optional)
What to do:
First thing, you’re going to use an oven-safe frypan, preferably cast-iron. Prep your oven to broil or roast at a fairly high heat. You’re not really going to cook the dish in the oven, rather, just melt the cheese—even brown it, if you like.
Cook the ravioli or tortellini per the instructions. Drain and set aside.
While the ravioli/tortellini water is heating up, start cooking the Italian sausage, using the pan in which you’re going to ultimately cook the entire dish. Cook over medium heat, breaking apart the sausage as it cooks. If using chopped garlic, add it a few minutes before the meat is done cooking.
When the sausage is cooked, drain out as much of the rendered fat as you can without dumping all the sausage and garlic into the sink or garbage. Add whatever kind of tomatoes you’re using, and bring to a steady simmer. Add a couple of pinches of salt, if you want. Continue simmering the tomatoes (if using whole peeled, get them smooshed and distributed throughout the pan) until most of the extra water in the pan cooks off. That will take 10 or more minutes.
When there’s an acceptable lack of water in the pan, add the basil, if using, and stir it in. Add the ravioli/tortellini and mix it in thoroughly, so the pasta, tomato and meat are evenly distributed. Now add 50-75% of however much cheese you’re using and mix it in well.
Add the remaining cheese to the top, and put it in your oven to broil/roast until the cheese is melted, or, if you like, browned.
Serve hot with crusty bread and soft butter.