One of the biggest shocks of my post, cough, 30 life is that I have become, well, a jock. It unfolded in such an innocent manner, I barely registered what was happening. I always swam laps but every couple years I take a break from it to torture myself into becoming “a runner” (read: jogging and sputtering). I usually fail and go back to swimming but this time it held my interest longer. Then I decided to throw in a day a week with a trainer because I’m just not the kind of person who does burpees on my own volition. Then I found out my trainer used to be a boxer, and so I started that too. Then I got my mom’s old bike and it turns out that biking around the city is vastly superior to any other mode of transportation. And then my husband decided that he wanted to get back into tennis and I was bummed I’d never learned and now we both take tennis classes once a week. If you think I’m about to break into some horrifically boring speech about, like, the power of exercise, don’t worry, I’m still me. If there was any takeaway here, anyway, it would just be that once I realized I did not care whether I ever achieved greatness in any of these sports — I have no desire to run races and spend more time gesticulating my racket in the direction of a tennis ball than I do hitting it — I was free to truly enjoy them.
Besides, as always, this is a food story and very specific one: the kind of food I leave kids with when mom and dad are out playing tennis. I usually leave the specifics of kid-feeding to my Bon Appétit column (you’re reading it, aren’t you? find them all here) but this is too brilliant not to share right here, right now. When we had babysitters growing up, it meant pizza night, and it was awesome. And while we do that, too, it’s a little different now that it’s a weekly thing, and on Monday. Monday is too soon to break open pizza delivery vault. But a lot of the foods I make for the family (read: what we want to eat but try to nudge them along for the ride) don’t go over as well when we’re not there “encouraging” (read: bargaining, begging them to try a bite, reminding them about that one time they liked it).
Which brings me to skillet ravioli (a cousin to crispy tortellini), a magical 10-minute dinner that is child-approved (pasta! cheese!) and makes me feel like I have not fully given up on providing nutrients (spinach!). This idea hails from (wait for it) a meal kit company that a friend uses and told me about this dish. I loved the idea and did my best to reverse engineer it and then simplify it for my lazy purposes. It’s fantastically simple: sauté garlic and spinach, set them aside, steam fresh or frozen ravioli in the skillet, add some mascarpone (instant creamy sauce), the reserved spinach, top it with parmesan and briefly broil it until crisp and browned you never make ravioli again another way.
Six months ago: Braised Ginger Meatballs in Coconut Broth
One year ago: Candy Pork
Two years ago: Sausage and Potato Roast with Arugula and Bakery-Style Butter Cookies
Three years ago: Russian Honey Cake, Pumpkin Bread and Winter Squash Pancakes with Crispy Sage and Brown Butter
Four years ago: The Broccoli Roast and Salted Peanut Butter Cookies
Five years ago: Fall-Toush Salad and Carrot Cake with Cider and Olive Oil
Six years ago: Lazy Pizza Dough + Perfect Magherita Pizza and Apple Slab Pie
Seven years ago: Pancetta, White Bean, and Swiss Chard Pot Pies and Apple Mosaic Tart with Salted Caramel
Eight years ago: Cumin Seed Roasted Cauliflower with Yogurt
Nine years ago: Roasted Eggplant Soup and Apple and Cheddar Scones
Ten years ago: Jalapeno Cheddar Scones and Apple Cider Doughnuts
Eleven years ago: Beef, Leek, and Barley Soup and My Family’s Noodle Kugel
Twelve years ago: Arroz Con Pollo and Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette
Thirteen years ago: Winter Squash Soup with Gruyere Croutons and Wild Mushroom Galette
Skillet Ravioli with Spinach
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
- 5 ounces baby spinach (from a salad-ready container)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper or red pepper flakes
- 18 ounces refrigerated or frozen ravioli
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- 6 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
Heat broiler with a rack about 6 inches from the heat source, if you can make adjustments.
In medium-large (mine is 10 inches) ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil and add garlic. Cook until garlic is barely golden, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add spinach and few pinches of salt, and cook until spinach is wilted, about 3 to 4 minutes. Season to taste. Use tongs or a spoon to transfer garlic and spinach to a bowl.
Place cold ravioli and 1/2 cup water, and a few more pinches of salt in the skillet and bring to a boil over high, then reduce heat to medium. Place a lid (any lid will do) on top and let steam for 3 to 5 minutes (the longer time for frozen). Check a piece of ravioli to see that it’s heated through and tender.
Spoon the mascarpone in tiny dollops around the ravioli, which is very fragile right now and doesn’t like to be moved a lot, but give it a gentle turn or two. Season with salt and pepper. Add the spinach back, and do the same. Sprinkle the top of the pan with parmesan and broil until the ravioli are browned in places, anywhere from 3 to 6 minutes, depending on how robust your broiler is.
Eat right away. Leave leftovers in skillet and rewarm in oven.