2poundsrefrigerated OR frozen cheese raviolido not thaw if frozen
1(8-oz) tub cream cheese spread OR ricotta cheese
1(8-oz) bagshredded mozzarella cheese
Heat oven to 400°F and lightly grease a 9x13 inch casserole dish.
Brown beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drain if you like, then stir through pasta sauce.
Cover bottom of prepared dish with a thin layer of meat sauce.
Layer as follows: Add ⅓ of layer of ravioli to the dish. Top ravioli with ⅓ of the meat sauce, then dot with ⅓ of the cream cheese and sprinkle with ⅓ of the mozzarella. Repeat layers two more times.
Bake casserole in the hot oven for 40-45 minutes, until the top is lightly browned and the casserole is bubbly. Add more mozzarella cheese and parmesan for the last 5 minutes of baking, if you like.
Spaghetti sauce: I like a chunky style pasta sauce or a marinara here. Do not get the kind of jarred spaghetti/pasta sauce with meat added, since you’ll be using ground beef in the recipe! Pizza sauce works in a snap, if that’s all you have on hand and don’t feel like going out!
Sauce amount: If I can't find a 32-oz pasta sauce at my store, I usually take a 45-oz jar and eyeball about ⅔ of it (I use the rest to make a quick tomato soup for my lunch the next day). You can also use two 14-oz jars if you prefer, or a 24-oz jar, it's just a little less saucy.
Beef: I either use lean ground beef, or use regular and drain the fat after browning. You can also use ground turkey if you prefer, or ground sausage!
Don’t skip the thin layer of sauce on the bottom of the dish. This keeps the bottom ravioli from drying out.
There’s no need to cover the casserole during baking, I always bake it uncovered and it comes out perfectly.
Feel free to leave out the cream cheese from the top layer (use it all in the first and second layer instead). Some people don’t like the way it firms up on top of the casserole, but over here my kids fight over the slice with the biggest bit of cream cheese on top ?