On Sunday, I completed the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk with my team from the gym. Although it was a short walk, it sure was a chilly one. The wind was brisk and biting in a way that better mirrored winter than fall, and the sky was gray and dismal. Once all was said and done, we felt quite accomplished, but I was in need of something exceptionally warm and comforting to refuel with. I needed a meal that was rich enough to stick to my bones and warm me through.
This Baked Cheesy Butternut Squash Ravioli & Spinach was the remedy to the chill that hung on to me long after the walk was over. The sauce was as hearty as it gets since it was laced with oodles of gooey cheese and smooth butternut squash. The squash flavor is subtle; it just adds this little something extra that makes this the perfect dish for fall. Spinach helps bulk things up, and big raviolis fill you up to the max.
Y’all know I have one of the biggest appetites in the world, but it only took one generous bowl to satisfy my usually insatiable tummy. There was so much velvety sauce and melty cheese that it felt like I was giving my soul a high-five with every bite. It might have been dark and yucky outside, but I was one happy, toasty camper while curled up with a bowl of these rich raviolis.
You just can’t beat a big, bubbling casserole on a chilly fall night. It’s a full meal in one pot, and a little goes a long way. Plus, if you wind up with leftovers, I can attest to the fact that this heats up just as deliciously as it did the first time. That’s good news because there’s nothing better than knowing you’ve got another dose of this cheesy masterpiece waiting for you at the end of a long day.
A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:
- You can use tortellini instead of ravioli.
- Buy the fresh ravioli, not frozen. It’s much better quality, and you won’t have to pre-cook it before baking the casserole.
- You typically can find fresh ravioli between the produce and meat section.
- You’re welcome to use fresh squash, but using the already pureed stuff means saving a lot of time and hassle.
- This sauce is great over plain pasta too, like in my Caramelized Onion Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese.
Baked Cheesy Butternut Squash Ravioli & Spinach
By The Smart Cookie Cook
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 2 tsp. minced garlic
- 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 12 oz. frozen cooked butternut squash, thawed
- 3 oz. Velveeta cheese, chopped
- 3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
- ½ tsp. salt
- 24 oz. fresh spinach ravioli (I used Hannaford brand)
- 3 cups fresh spinach
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large saucepan, melt better. Add shallot and saute for two minutes. Add garlic and whisk in flour just until completely free of lumps. Immediately whisk in cream until smooth. Cover and let simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes.
- Whisk in butternut squash until evenly combined, then whisk in the 3/4 of the cheeses until melted and smooth. Fold in salt, ravioli and spinach.
- Transfer to a 9×13 casserole dish and sprinkle remaining cheese over top. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbling. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.