One Pot Ravioli in a Creamy Tomato Beef Sauce

Café Delights is a food blog full of “indulgent, waistline friendly recipes that are full of flavour.” Karina describes her style as ‘naughty but nice’ Café-style treats and meals that are quick and easy to prepare and make ‘lite’ on calories (and weight watchers points, for those who follow the diet plan) without sacrificing any flavour, and are a ‘delite’ to eat (or devour!). When someone says “simple” I think “one pot”. Throw it all in, let it cook and serve. That’s exactly what her One Pot Ravioli in a Creamy Tomato Beef Sauce is. And it is a ‘delite’ to devour.

If you aren’t familiar with ravioli, they are essentially any type of dumpling composed of a filling sealed between two layers of thin pasta dough, usually served in a broth or pasta sauce. Ravioli are a traditional Italian Cuisine and surface in writing sometime during the mid-14th century when they are mentioned in the manuscript “Libro per cuoco” by Francesco di Marco, a merchant of Prato. Canned ravioli was pioneered by the Italian Army during World War I and popularized by Heinz, Buitoni and Chef Boyardee. This common type of ravioli is usually filled with beef, processed cheese, chicken or Italian sausage and served in a tomato, tomato-meat or tomato-cheese sauce.

Chef Boyardee (formerly Chef Boy-Ar-Dee) is a brand of canned pasta products and was founded by Italian immigrant Ettore “Hector” Boiardi in Cleveland, Ohio in 1928. The idea for Chef Boyardee came about when Hector’s restaurant customers approached him for his recipes (Boy-Ar-Dee was to help American’s pronounce Hector’s name. Hector later moved his production to Milton, Pennsylvania, ten years later where he could grow enough tomatoes and mushrooms. A few years later, during World War II the U.S. military commissioned them for the production of army rations and required the factory to run 24/7. After the war ended, instead of reducing his production, Hector sold his company to American Home Products.

But what do Chef Boyardee cans of ravioli pasta not have that Karina includes in her ravioli recipe? Grilled cheese croutons. Thanks to the 1920’s, sliced bread and American cheese became easily available. During World War II, U.S. government cookbooks describe Navy cooks broiling “American cheese filling sandwiches”. (Just one more reason to be thankful for the American Navy!)

Honestly, Chef Boyardee has nothing on this one pot ravioli recipe. The flavor profile is amazing – creamy tomato sauce, beef-filled ravioli pasta bites, cheese, parsley and garlic, all wrapped up in one pot of awesomeness. Aside from the amazing flavor, the best part might just be the fact that this rich, creamy tomato sauce has half the fat of traditional creamy sauces, without sacrificing any of the flavor. (I don’t know how that’s even possible, but it has been accomplished in this recipe!) My one tip for this recipe: don’t skip the homemade grilled cheese croutons for “garnishing”. The hardest part will be not eating all of these before your supper is ready.

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