Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Bunchie's Dinner Theater: Cheesy Baked Ravioli

This is a recipe I clipped out of a newspaper back in the 1990s. I've made it many times and it always seems to work. Over the years I've tweaked it quite a bit, adding veggies, removing some fatty stuff it didn't need and figuring out more economical ways to make it. It's a bit of work but well worth it.

To make it vegetarian, simply omit the chicken and replace with whatever vegetables you like. The dish is fancy and impressive enough for guests, and filing and comforting enough for a casual supper. Empty nesters should be able to get three or four meals out of this, and it gets better as it sits for a few days.


1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 ½ cups chicken broth
1 cup milk
½ cup sour cream
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup (4 oz.) freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
½ cup chopped fresh basil leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 (24-oz.) package frozen cheese ravioli
4 cups chopped fresh broccoli or cauliflower or combination
4 cups chopped chicken breast
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 Cup Panko bread crumbs (you may substitute crushed crackers)
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup dried parsley


1. Cook ravioli according to package directions, drain.

2. Sauté chicken breast until done.

3. Cook broccoli and/or cauliflower to desired doneness (I like to steam them over the pasta water). If you like your vegetables crunchy omit this step.

 4. Preheat oven to 350°. Melt 1/2 cup butter in a Dutch oven or high sided sauté pan over medium-high heat; add onion, pepper and garlic and sauté 5 to 6 minutes or until tender.

5. Add flour, stirring until smooth. Cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Whisk in broth, milk, sour cream and white wine. Reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring constantly, 6 to 8 minutes or until thickened and bubbly.

6. Remove from heat; add 1 cup cheese, salt, pepper and basil, stirring until cheese melts. Stir in ravioli, broccoli and chicken. Spoon into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish.

7. Stir together 1/2 cup grated cheese, bread crumbs and butter. Sprinkle over casserole. Top with mozzarella and parsley. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until bubbly.

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