Put down the jar of sauce. Put it down. Walk away.
I am a nosy friend. I will look in your fridge without asking. You probably won’t say anything, because it’s kinda like Seinfeld and we’re usually all up in each other’s fridges for whatever reason. I’m in there for research purposes, you’re in there to ask what’s this? Jess, what’s this? Oh god, what the hell IS this?
It appears from my guerilla surveillance tactics that pretty much everybody has packaged or frozen ravioli in there. It’s usually just straight-up cheese. MAYBE sometimes cheese and spinach. I peeked into five fridges and freezers over the weekend. Everyone has ravioli. So that’s what you’re doing when there’s nothing in the fridge, eh? The “slightly better than pasta and maybe also a little easier to cook” approach. Okay, that’s cool. Go go gadget pantry/fridge lunch!
There’s no time to make sauce; it’s lunchtime after all. Toss the following ingredients, chopped, in the hot pot over medium heat with a little olive oil while the ravioli’s draining: fresh tomatoes, black or kalamata olives, oil-packed anchovy fillets, capers and red pepper flakes. You’re not trying to cook them, just sizzle for a minute or two to release the flavors. Return ravioli to the pot and toss over low heat to finish. Sprinkle with parm and enjoy hot or room temperature.
You can’t actually “carbonara” ravioli, it will fall apart and become pasta ricotta mush (which is not the worst-sounding thing ever, but…don’t). Fry up some kind of appropriate pig — pancetta, bacon, diced ham, prosciutto — and toss with cooked ravioli, lots of pecorino, coarsely ground black pepper, then top with an over-easy fried egg.
Like pasta salad, predictably, but better. Employ this hack with your frozen/packaged bounty.
Take the brown out of your butter
Yes yes, ravioli with brown butter and sage. Everyone ooh and ahh. I’m not discrediting it, I freaking love anything with brown butter and sage in a fundamental way…but again, lunch. Are we browning butter for lunch now? I say when time is a factor and you’re jonesing for a butter fix, look to ghee. And fine, sage.
Treat your ravioli nicely and it won’t be so depressing when you get around to eating it cause the only other real stuff in your fridge involves a bottle opener.
More practical lunch enhancements on Food Republic: