Courtesy of the Food Network
As a follow up to saving in these tough economic times here is another recipe that will certainly taste good and put some money back into your pocket. I recommend you substitute the Provolone cheese with say swiss cheese, substitue the Aspargus for additional spinach,fresh corn, Mushrooms, or eggplant. Remember whatever taste good to you and is affordable. I rather use fresh spinach for these kind of recipes but frozen in your supermaket could be cheaper. For the Ravioli don’t feel you have to use the brand mentioned in the recipe. Supermarkets nowadays carry a wide selection or pasta on sale, if you look around you should be able to find one on special. Better yet substitute another kind of pasta for the recipe.
To save time cooking make up a good size for two nights dinner–estimate the recipe based on your family’s size and that way you don’t have to keep using gas or electricity for cooking every single day. See below the recipe.
2 packages chopped frozen spinach, defrosted in microwave
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
4-6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cans quartered artichokes in water, drained well
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 cup cream or half-and-half
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, a couple of handfuls
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
Salt and black pepper
1 sack, 2 cups grated provolone or Italian 4 Cheese Blend, from dairy aisle, 10 ounces
1 large package (marked “Family Size”) fresh ravioli, such as Contadina brand, 24 to 28 ounces, or choose your favorite filling, such as wild mushroom or 4 cheese
1 pound thin asparagus spears, trimmed of tough ends
Bring a pot of water to boil for ravioli.
While water comes to a boil, drain defrosted frozen chopped spinach by wringing it dry in a kitchen towel, working over a garbage bowl or your sink. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons or 2 turns of the pan, and the garlic. Saute garlic in oil 1 minute, then sprinkle spinach into the garlic oil. Add artichoke heart pieces to the pan and turn to combine and heat through. Season vegetables with and remove from heat to a bowl. Place skillet back on the heat and melt butter. Whisk flour into butter and cook 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk stock into flour and butter and let it bubble. Whisk in cream and Parmesan. Season sauce with nutmeg, salt and pepper and thicken 1 to 2 minutes.
Preheat broiler to high. Set rack between middle of oven groove and top rack groove, about 8 inches from heat.
When water boils, salt water, add ravioli and cook 4 to 5 minutes. Ravioli should be less than al dente, still a bit chewy — it will continue cooking when combined with sauce and vegetables. Place a colander over ravioli as it cooks and add asparagus to it. Cut thin, trimmed asparagus into 2-inch pieces on an angle. Steam the chopped asparagus while pasta cooks, 2 to 3 minutes, until just fork-tender, but still green. Remove asparagus and add to bowl with spinach and artichokes. Place colander in your sink and drain ravioli.
Drizzle a touch of extra virgin olive oil onto the bottom of a medium oval casserole or a rectangular baking dish and brush pan to coat evenly. Arrange a layer using 1/2 of cooked ravioli in the dish. Layer 1/2 of the cooked vegetables over the ravioli. Next, add a few ladles of sauce, then vegetables, then top casserole with the last of the ravioli. Dot top of “lasagna” with any remaining sauce and cover liberally with gratedprovolone or 4 cheese blend. Brown cheese 8 inches from broiler, 5 minutes.