This week's Meatless Monday dinner was a real experiment—and the good news is that it turned out delicious! The bad news is that I had to wing it in quite a few ways, so I'm not sure I can ever exactly replicate the results.
I had seen on one of the cooking blogs a recipe for an "Impossibly Easy Pie" (it was like a mac and cheese pie). I followed some links and found many other recipes for other types of "Impossibly Easy Pie," and that's when I realized that it was a thing. A Bisquick thing, to be specific. There are all these recipes for Impossibly Easy Spinach and Feta Pie, Impossibly Easy Vegetable Pie, Impossibly Easy Bacon Pie, and so on. The basic formula is that you put stuff in a pie plate, then cover it with a batter made of Bisquick, eggs, and milk. The whole thing puffs up into a frittata-type thing. I was intrigued, particularly by the Impossibly Easy Ravioli Pie.
The problem? I didn't want to buy Bisquick. I buy very few processed food items, and certainly nothing containing trans fats (from partially hydrogenated oil). Dextrose is also a questionable ingredient. So I Googled a bit and very quickly found dozens of recipes for a homeade baking mix that works just like Bisquick. They were all in the same ballpark, with minor variations, so I just kind of averaged everything I saw.
The main mishaps resulted from my not-careful-enough reading of the recipe and my subsequent assumption that I had everything I needed in the house. Whoops. First, it called for refrigerated ravioli, and I had only frozen (I get a nice spinach-ricotta version at Costco). I quickly weighed out 9 oz. and put them in some boiling water until they were thawed but not quite done. But then when I started assembling the pie, it didn't look like nearly enough, so I cooked up another whole pot full. I didn't weigh that second batch—I just counted out the same number of raviolis as before—but it was probably another 9 oz. (at which point I said, "I think we're gonna need a bigger boat pie plate.") I should've also increased (although maybe not doubled) the tomato sauce and mozzarella, but I didn't think of it, and my pie plate ended up absolutely full to the brim anyhow. Also, it called for fresh basil, which I did not have. And there was no way I was dragging out a skillet just to sauté 3 chopped garlic cloves in 1 teaspoon of oil. I figured I would just use some dried Italian herb blend to make up for the lack of seasoning ... which I completely forgot about, what with all the excitement. So.
The recipe, as amended, appears below. It came out great, sort of like a lasagna, but lots easier. (And I suddenly just remembered that Ravioli Lasagna I made once, although this one has the additional poofy part from the baking mix.) The variation opportunities are endless; you could certainly add a layer of browned ground beef or sausage on a non-Monday, use thawed frozen spinach instead of fresh, throw in mushrooms, whatever.
Impossibly Easy Ravioli Pie
1 package (9 oz.) refrigerated cheese-filled ravioli (As mentioned above, I doubled this.)
1 cup chopped fresh spinach
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves (about 1 oz.)
1 1/4 cups tomato sauce, plus more for serving (I should've used a little more.)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (4 oz.) (A little more of this wouldn't hurt either.)
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup baking mix (see recipe below)
1 cup milk (I used skim.)
2 large eggs
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (1 oz.)
Heat the oven to 400°F. Grease the bottom of a 9-inch glass pie plate with cooking spray. (I ended up using my biggest pie plate, which is more like 11 inches across, since I pretty much doubled the ravioli quantity.)
Place half of the ravioli in bottom of pie plate. Sprinkle with the spinach and basil. Spoon 1 cup of the tomato sauce over the top, then sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Layer with the remaining ravioli. Top with the remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and remaining 1/4 cup pasta sauce.
In 7-inch skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Cook and stir garlic in oil until fragrant, about 1 minute. In a medium bowl, whisk together the garlic, baking mix, milk, eggs, and Parmesan cheese. Pour the mixture evenly over the filling in the pie plate.
Bake until the crust is browned and the filling is bubbly, 30 to 35 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting. Serve with additional (warm) pasta sauce.
Here's how lovely it looked:
I served a salad alongside. Andy said it was his favorite Meatless Monday dinner so far. (That isn't saying a lot, as he is Mr. Meat & Potatoes [except he doesn't really like potatoes unless they're very crispy French fries], but he said it anyhow, and I'm repeating it.) I will make it again sometime, a little more carefully.
As for the homemade Bisquick recipe, some versions call for vegetable shortening, but I prefer butter. That means I have to store it in the fridge or freezer instead of the pantry. This recipe makes about 6 cups, and you can then use it for other types of Impossibly Easy Pie, biscuits, pancakes, etc. (For pancakes, use 2 cups of the mix plus 1 cup milk and 2 large eggs.) I started off by making half a batch in case it was a bust, but it turned out fine.
5 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold butter, cut into little bits
Pulse everything together in a food processor until you get a crumbly mixture.