We define good Bachelor food as something that is simple, easy and quick with a minimum of fuss or ingredients. And, we want it to be healthy, at least most of the time. We like recipes that use mostly pantry ingredients you already have.
Time is also a factor. No guy wants to spend hours in the kitchen. Traditional lasagna can take a long time to make and cook. It starts with the wide flat noodles, possibly the oldest type of noodles, layered with some sort of filling, like a tomato meat sauce, cheese, herbs or meat. It originated in Italy in the Middle Ages, probably around Naples.
This dish sidesteps the lasagna noodles and uses filled pasta ravioli in an excellent homemade sauce, all done in one pan.
From the store, you need a pound-and-a-half (24 oz. or as close as you can get) of frozen ravioli. If you want a meatier dish, you can use meat ravioli, but nothing is missing if you do without it and just use cheese-filled pasta. As for shape, either square or round will do, but I like the round for this application because of the round pan. Other fresh ingredients you need are some fresh basil sprigs and a few leaves, 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese and some Parmesan cheese.
Make the tomato sauce
Use a large skillet that is oven-proof, like your trusty cast-iron skillet. Put it over medium heat. While you’re at it, preheat the oven to 450°F with a rack in the center. Pour two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil into the skillet to heat until it shimmers. Add two cloves of garlic that you have minced. For a better treat, thinly slice the garlic instead, then add to the oil first, stirring until softened but not browned. These garlic “chips” will add an extra dimension of flavor to the dish.
Now add two tablespoons of tomato paste to the skillet and cook until the paste darkens slightly. That takes a minute or two. Then add in a pinch of red pepper flakes, a 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes. You can use the Italian flavored tomatoes if you like, but there’s plenty of flavor in the tomatoes and garlic. Speaking of flavor, now is the time to add two large sprigs of fresh basil. When there are tomatoes, particularly canned tomatoes, there is sugar frequently. Just a teaspoon is enough to increase the tomato flavor but cutting through all that acid. Also, add a teaspoon of salt, Kosher preferred, and a half-teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Increase the heat and bring the sauce to a boil.
While that’s heating up, gently separate the frozen ravioli that are stuck together without tearing. If any resist, they will be separate after a couple minutes in the sauce. Add the ravioli into the sauce and lower the heat back to medium. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring gently until the sauce is very thick and the ravioli are just tender.
Assemble the Lasagna
Spoon half of the ravioli and sauce into a bowl. Arrange the ravioli remaining in the skillet into a single, even layer. Sprinkle about a cup of shredded mozzarella cheese evenly on top of the ravioli layer. Arrange the other half of the ravioli from the bowl in an even layer on top of the cheese and pour the sauce over the ravioli. Sprinkle another cup of shredded mozzarella and top that with a sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese.
Bake the Lasagna
Put the skillet in the preheated oven for ten to 12 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is lightly browned. Remove from oven and sprinkle with torn basil leaves. Let it sit for about ten minutes before digging in.
Serve with a green salad and this is a great meal. You should get four to six servings.