Lasagna is the ultimate comfort food… all those lush layers of pasta, meat, vegetables and cheese, glorious cheese. But it is a bear to put together, very labor intensive. I wanted the flavors and textures of lasagna, but not the work it requires, so I decided to try a lasagna made with frozen ravioli. I found a nice big bag of ravioli stuffed with veggies; peas, peppers, corn, and of course cheese. I thought to myself that they kind of reminded me of little pasta pot pies, which lead me to think about making a chickeny (yes we are calling that a word) sauce, which in turn lead me down the path of making a chicken ravioli lasagna. And an excellent road it was!! Come on! You know you want to travel down this road with me.
I took a super easy route by using several canned ingredients and some fresh because well, everything needs a fresh element. For my fresh element I chose a festive Red Kitten Spinach that I washed thoroughly and chopped up roughly in the Ninja and some nice sliced green scallions for the top. For the sauce I mixed a jar of Classico Garlic Alfredo into a dish of Campbell’s Slow Kettle Tuscan-Style Chicken and White Bean soup, a can of Tyson’s grilled white meat chicken, a small can of organic sliced mushrooms, and a partial jar of sun-dried tomatoes in oil. For the rest I had a big bag of Garden Vegetable ravioli and a blend of six Italian shredded cheeses; Romano, Parmesan, Provolone, Asiago, Fontina and Mozzarella. Oh, my!!
The first step is to boil salted water to cook the ravioli a bit, once it floated I pulled it up and out into a colander and let it cool a little so I did not scorch my fingers. While the raviolis were cooking I mixed up my sauce. I drained the chicken and broke it up more with a fork. I then scraped the soup, which is a hodge-podge of chicken, Great Northern beans, spinach, carrots, onions, celery and such in a chicken based broth, into the mixing bowl followed by the drained mushrooms and the Alfredo sauce. I drained the sun-dried tomatoes reserving some of the oil and into the bowl they went. The next step was the thickener, because this sauce while flavorful is indeed a little soupy. I dissolved a tablespoon of corn starch into an equal amount of cold water and added it to the bowl. I blended all of it well and just sat it aside to rest while I waited to begin the layering process. This recipe makes doing a lasagna for your family on a weeknight totally possible!
Like any lasagna you must begin with something on the bottom to keep the pasta from sticking to the pan. I slathered a thin layer of the sun-dried tomato oil all over the bottom of my 13×9 glass baking dish. Then I laid out an even layer of ravioli, spooned some sauce liberally over all of the tasty pouches. Topped that with cheese and then a layer of the shredded Red Kitten Spinach. Just like any lasagna, the next step is to repeat your layers. I got three full layers and had two pouches leftover, which my mom and I just popped into our mouths. Appetizer!!
Each layer starts with cooked ravioli, topped with sauce, cheese and spinach. The last layer gets the rest of the sauce and the cheese and is then garnished with fresh sliced scallions. The whole thing goes into a preheated 350º F oven for about forty minutes so that it comes out golden brown and so delicious. You must let it rest for about fifteen minutes to make it easier to serve and to avoid broiling your mouth.
I served ours with a Greek salad of romaine, tomato wedges, cucumber slices, onion ring slices, black olives and pepperoncini peppers. I guess I somehow thought that would up the health factor but who am I kidding? This rustic, flavor fest is not a diet dish. This is for what I call deep eating, the kind that makes you palate sing. Break out a glass of Pinot Grigio and celebrate these layers of love.
- 1 bag frozen Garden Vegetable Ravioli
- 2 C Shredded Italian Cheeses (Mozzarella, Parmesan, Romano, Fontina, Asiago & Provolone)
- 1 4 oz can Organic Slice Mushrooms
- 1 large can of Grilled White Meat chicken, drained and roughly fork shredded
- 1 jar Roasted Garlic Alfredo Sauce
- 1 tub Campbell’s Slow Kettle Tuscan-Style Chicken and White Bean soup
- ½ a small jar of Sun-dried Tomatoes in oil, drained with oil reserved
- 1 T Corn Starch
- 1 T Cold Water
- 1 bag of fresh Spinach, any kind will do.
- 2-3 T Sliced Scallions (Green Onions)
- Prepare the frozen ravioli according to package directions. Drain and allow to cool a bit in the colander so that they can be handled.
- Wash the spinach thoroughly and toss it in the processor for a rough chop. You just want it shredded, not minced.
- Drain and fork shred the chicken in a mixing bowl.
- Add the soup to the chicken along with the drained mushrooms, the Alfredo sauce, and the sun dried tomatoes
- Dissolve 1 T of corn starch in 1 T of cold water and stir into the sauce and set aside.
- To begin layering, slather some of the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes all over the bottom of your glass baking dish.
- Place a single layer of cooked ravioli in the pan and spoon sauce over it.
- Sprinkle a light layer of cheese about a ½ cup and top that with a third of the spinach
- Repeat the layers, you should get at least three.
- Top the last layer with the remainder of the sauce and the rest of the cheese (about a cup) and garnish the top with sliced scallions.
- Bake in a preheated 350º F oven for 40 minutes.
- Allow to rest for 15 minutes and then serve with a salad and some white wine.