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Editor’s note: At the Table with the Gabels features tasty recipes and tips from Vanessa Gabel and her daughter, Kaitlyn, of Danville.

 

Kaitlyn: I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy this recipe since I knew there would be artichokes in it. 

However, I was pleasantly surprised to realize how delicious this recipe is. I have always been a huge fan of ravioli, but I’ve only had them in the basic red sauce we all know and love, and was delighted to have them in a different way. 

This recipe is perfect for people who celebrate “no meat Mondays” or are vegetarians. Although, if you do love meat and want to add in a little extra protein, you could chop up a chicken breast and throw that in as well. I also believe adding a little spice like a pepper seasoning would top this recipe off perfectly.

Vanessa: With school starting back up and routines getting into full swing again, I’ve been on the hunt for recipes that are new, fairly effortless and yield enough for the next day’s lunch. 

This spinach and artichoke ravioli bake recipe checks all of those boxes. This recipe also is extremely easy to double if you are cooking for a crowd, or desire additional leftovers. 

The original recipe called for frozen spinach, but I’m never a fan of using that. Frozen spinach takes a while to defrost, and it always makes a mess when squeezing out the excess liquid. 

Instead, I turned to the fresh spinach we had in the fridge for salads, and adapted the recipe around it.  

Instead of adding the fresh spinach in step two with the artichokes, we waited until we were layering the ingredients, and just spread layers of fresh spinach between the sauce and ravioli.  

This kept it from getting too wilted. I was slightly concerned about adding the lemon juice to the recipe (anyone with acid reflux issues will understand), but it was not noticeable in the final product.  

I may skip that ingredient all together the next time we make this recipe. If I were to change anything about this spinach and artichoke ravioli bake, it would probably be garnishing with crumbled bacon.  

It would add a delightful pop of flavor and texture. For the anti-artichoke people, it may mask some of the artichoke flavor.

 

Spinach Artichoke Ravioli Bake

3 tbsp. butter

2 cloves of garlic, pressed

3 tbsp. flour

2 cup milk

2 tbsp. cream cheese, softened

1 cup shredded mozzarella, divided

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

14-oz. can artichoke hearts, chopped

2 cups fresh spinach (or if using frozen — thawed and chopped)

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

2 lb. frozen cheese ravioli

Salt

Black pepper

 

Preheat oven to 375.  

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  

Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  

Whisk the flour into the butter and garlic, and cook until the mixture is bubbling and golden, about one minute. Gradually pour in the milk, whisking constantly. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then stir in the cream cheese, 2/3 cup of mozzarella and the Parmesan cheese. Let it simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, about 2 to 3 minutes. 

Fold in the artichoke hearts and spinach, then add the lemon juice and red pepper flakes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat. 

In a separate baking pan, spread a thin layer of the prepared sauce in the bottom.  Top with ravioli to create a single layer.  Alternate between sauce and ravioli layers, then finish the top with the remaining cheese and bake for 30 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling and the ravioli are tender. If you’d like the cheese to be golden, broil on high 2 to 3 minutes after baking. Garnish with more red pepper flakes and serve. 

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