It will help get you through “bring a dish to brunch” season.
We are headed into prime brunch season. Between Mardi Gras, Mother’s Day, and Easter, not to mention the impending influx of showers for brides and babies we season every spring. The moment the first tulip pokes a green sprout through the snow, Sundays become devoted to an endless parade of lox platters and quiches. Which can be delightful—but also a bit redundant.
Whether you’re hosting yourself or have offered to bring a dish to a potluck gathering, I am here to save you from googling “brunch casserole” with a dish that is as surprising as it is delicious. Easy to throw together, this baked pasta dish of plain cheese ravioli in a slightly sweet custard is the perfect thing for a buffet. Hearty enough to be a main dish, but plain enough to serve as a side, it is also vegetarian, so it works for almost everyone. Because it is slightly sweet it is the perfect pairing for meats like bacon, ham, or sausage, but with enough savory notes to stand up to a salad if your brunch leans a little more luncheon.
You can assemble the dish up to 24 hours ahead if needed, but it is better to bake it fresh. If you must bake ahead, either hold in a 200-degree oven for up to an hour before serving or reheat from chilled at 300 until warmed through. And don’t sleep on the compote.
1 25-oz package frozen cheese ravioli (look for the plain cheese with no herbs or garlic!)
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
6 large eggs, beaten
1 pint sour cream
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons orange juice (strain pulp)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Preheat your oven to 350. Cook ravioli according to package directions in unsalted boiling water until just shy of al dente, you want to par-cook but not cook completely. Remove from water about 1-2 minutes before the time on the package. Drain and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking.
Pour the melted butter into a 9x13 baking dish and arrange the ravioli in one overlapping layer on the bottom, shingling the pasta at an angle so that all of the ravioli have at least half of their surface exposed.
Mix the custard ingredients in a medium bowl until well combined. Pour evenly over the top of the ravioli, and bake for 45-55 minutes until puffed and golden brown. Serve hot, with optional macerated fruit compote to garnish.
You can assemble the dish up to 24 hours ahead, and store in the fridge. Add a few minutes to the baking time if baking from cold.
Macerated Fruit Compote
2 cups fresh fruit of your choice, peeled and cut into cubes or wedges, or with berries, washed and left whole or halved
1/4 cup powdered sugar
Mix your fruit with the sugar and salt and let sit at room temperature until the juices run and mix with the sugar to create a syrup. If you are making ahead, store in the fridge, and remove 30-60 minutes before you want to serve.