Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Cheesy Baked Ravioli, Lightened Up

In light of Paula Deen's big news this week, posting a healthier take on comfort food felt appropriate. What does everyone think of her Diabetes announcement? I have to say my first reaction was sadness and worry for her and my second was disappointment. I love Paula and have watched her for years and never once heard her preach 'moderation.'

Just the gospel of butter. And sugar. And more butter.

Anyway I'd love to know what everyone thinks. I'm not one to throw stones - believe me - I haven't raised the speed on my treadmill over 3.5 since December...or was it October? But it really bothers me that she knew she had diabetes for 3 years and still went on deep frying chicken pot pies and making doughnut cheeseburgers for 'entertainment' sake. At least Giada doesn't pretend she's really scarfing down all the dishes she makes. Since day 1, she has always said she takes 2-3 bites of something and is done with it. I myself fall somewhere in the middle. I could never take just 2 bites of pasta or anything worth eating and be done with it. What would be the point of making it in the first place? I'd rather pile on the fresh veggies, go light on the cheese, then dig in like it's running away from me.

And on that note here's a lightened up (but still cheesy) baked ravioli. It starts with good 'ole store bought ravioli (light) which you don't even have to boil beforehand. Bonus. Double bonus is the fact that it's also a two pot dish, the second of which is the dish you serve it out of.

And for triple bonus points, you can even assemble this the night before you make it if you like and refrigerate it. And I like.

Cheesy Baked Ravioli, Lightened Up
* You can assemble this the night before or the morning of the day you're going to serve it, cover in plastic wrap, and keep in the fridge. To bake off, place in a cold oven turning the oven to 375 and add an additional 10 minutes to the baking time.

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large shallots, finely chopped
8 oz sliced fresh mushrooms
4 cups fresh spinach (not baby), roughly chopped
plenty of freshly grated nutmeg
1 (9 oz) package light, four cheese ravioli (I use Buitoni)
1 1/2 cups jarred tomato sauce
3/4 cup cubed fresh mozzarella (or to make it even lighter, sub low fat grated mozzarella)
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
1/4 cup grated parmesan, divided
kosher salt and pepper, for seasoning
red pepper flakes, optional

How To:
Preheat oven to 375.

Add the olive oil to a large, rimmed nonstick skillet. Put over medium heat and let heat through for 1 minute. Add the shallots and a pinch of salt and sauté for 4-5 minutes just until soft. Add the mushrooms, another small pinch of salt, and sauté, stirring occasionally for about 8 minutes or until the mushrooms have released their liquid and wilted down a bit. Add in the spinach (and a pinch more salt) and sauté stirring often just until they've lost their shape. You want them to look just how they would if you were serving sautéed spinach, but not so wilted down that they're dark green mush. A little body left in them is okay because you're going to cook them more in the oven. Stir in the freshly grated nutmeg and remove from the heat.

Let cool down for five minutes, then stir in the tomato sauce, ravioli, mozzarella, parsley, 2 tablespoons parmesan, and a pinch of black pepper (and red pepper flakes if desired.) Spoon into a greased baking dish (9x9), smooth the top over with the back of your spoon, then sprinkle the last 2 tablespoons parmesan evenly over the top.

Bake covered in foil at 375 for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 5 minutes just to let the parmesan brown a little. (If you want a cheesier crust - then put more parmesan on top.)

Remove and let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.


Natalie {TheShadyAcre} said...

I was disappointed about Paula Deen's announcement, too. I'm not at all surprised that she is diabetic, but that she chose to disclose it b/c of her deal with the pharmaceutical company just shows that it's all about the $. Obviously, she wasn't paying a publicist enough to tell her that was a dumb ass way to handle it. Maybe she can hire a new publicist or image consultant with her new earnings. Lol!

Jenn said...

I'm torn over Paula's news. I mean, come on now, we all know if we ate the way that she cooked everyday that we would not be leading a healthy lifestyle. True, she should have said SOMETHING, but isn't it also on us to decide what we actually make and/or consume? Not the best way to handle the situation, but of course no one is surprised by her news either...

Let's forget Paula, though.. the pasta looks and sounds delicious. I'm not ashamed to say I'd definitely take more than 2 or 3 bites of that!!