This Baked Ravioli Lasagna is a simplified version of lasagna, but better! It’s quick-cooking, easy to throw together, and perfectly comforting. Make ahead and enjoy later!
Baked Ravioli Lasagna
I may be the only person on the planet who comes home from an incredibly indulgent vacation, only to continue to indulge instead of diving into healthier meal options like a normal person. But the stomach wants what the stomach wants, and this stomach wanted a cheesy, carb-filled, red-sauced pasta.
Say hello to my kind of detox: Baked Ravioli Lasagna with Ricotta and Italian Sausage.
I’d describe Baked Ravioli Lasagna as a more simplified version of lasagna, but better. And easier. (Basically the opposite of our Greek Lasagna and Mushroom Lasagna which are out of this world delicious, but not exactly quick to throw together.)
Included are all my favorite lasagna components which include whole-milk ricotta, salty Italian sausage, homemade marinara sauce, and just enough melty mozzarella cheese to get that stringy cheese pull as each piece is served up.
Where Baked Ravioli Lasagna diverges from classic lasagna is in the noodles, because instead of flat lasagna sheets, I go with store-bought cheese ravioli, which makes the process SO much easier. And cheesier, which is always welcomed. (We also use frozen ravioli in our Baked Chicken Enchilada Ravioli if you’re interested in a tex-mex version.)
As you all know, in classic lasagna you either have to cook the noodles prior, which is a giant pain, or you can buy those no-bake lasagna noodles which take forever to cook. Here, I used FROZEN ravioli, yep frozen – no thawing, no cooking – just layer it up with the other ingredients and let the oven do the work.
Ingredients in Baked Ravioli Lasagna
Cheese ravioli. I like to use cheese, but meat, veggie, or your favorite kind of ravioli will work great.
Marinara sauce. To make your own marinara sauce, see the notes below, but feel free to use your favorite store-bought variety as well. We love this brand.
Ricotta cheese. For me, the only ricotta you should use it whole-milk ricotta. Unlike mayo or cream cheese where I will use the low-fat version, low-fat ricotta just doesn’t cut it. Whole milk ricotta is creamy, full of flavor and 100% worth the extra indulgence.
Mozzarella cheese. Any kind of mozzarella cheese will work here, you can use fresh or block. If you do use fresh mozzarella, cut it up into cubes as it does not shred well.
Italian sausage. I typically use a mild Italian sausage, but you can use spicy Italian sauce, turkey or or chicken sausage. Totally up to you.
How to make an easy Marinara Sauce
I am a big proponent of homemade marinara sauce, even in something as simple as a our Baked Ravioli Lasagna. I think I’ve bought jarred sauce maybe three times in my entire life, and it’s because whipping up a red sauce is easy, inexpensive, and fast. Not to mention it’s better than anything you can find at the store. So obviously I find it to be completely worth it to take an extra 20 minutes or so to put something together that’s homemade.
I have a couple different methods for preparing sauce, my most simple sauce is what I use in our spaghetti and meatballs and that includes just a little bit of garlic, red wine, tomato pasta, water, and spices. It’s my favorite because it’s simple and takes virtually no time to put together.
I wanted today’s tomato sauce to have a little bit more texture, so instead of using straight tomato paste as the base of the sauce, I used a combination of tomato paste and crushed san Marzano tomatoes for two different textures and two different tomato flavors.
The reason I always use at least a little bit of tomato paste in every single sauce I make, including today’s recipe, is because it adds a thickness and deep tomato flavor you can’t get with canned tomatoes alone. Because it’s already so concentrated, you don’t have to let the sauce cook for hours and hours to achieve that cooked-all-day flavor, which I love.
Here’s what else you’ll need
- Dry white wine
- Spices: sugar, salt, dried basil, garlic powder, and onion powder are my winning combination
- All the brown bits from the cooked Italian sausage.
Simple ingredients, maximum flavor.
Let’s make Baked Ravioli Lasagna!
Cook the sauce. Brown Italian sausage in a large skillet over a medium high heat. Remove sausage from pan and use a wooden spoon to scrape up as much of the brown bottom as you can, but leave some for deglazing the pan. Transfer sausage and sausage bits to a plate.
Make the sauce. Add garlic, cook for 0ne minute until slightly softened. Add wine, use the wooden spoon to scrape up all remaining bits of brown at the bottom of the pan. Simmer and reduce the sauce by half. Whisk in tomato paste. Cook for one minute.
Whisk in crushed tomatoes, water, sugar, spices and salt. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 10-12 minutes, until thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Assemble! To assemble the baked ravioli lasagna, spoon a little bit of the sauce in the bottom of a 9-inch square baking dish. Cover with frozen ravioli. Dot half of the ricotta on top. Sprinkle half of the sausage on top. Spread half of the remaining sauce on top of that. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
Bake. Cover with foil and baked for 30 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with cheese. Bake until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly, another 15 minutes.
Let it rest for 5-10 minuets before serving.
Substitutions and Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success
- Swap out red wine for white in the sauce. Whatever you’ve got!
- You can use sweet, mild, or spicy Italian sausage. Feel free to swap out turkey Italian sausage as well.
- You can also use refrigerated ravioli, but the dish may not need to bake as long.
- This would also be lovely with fresh mozzarella cut into big slices.
Can Baked Ravioli be made ahead of time?
Yes! Make everything, up to baking, let it cool, cover with foil and bake whenever you’re ready.
Can Baked Ravioli be frozen?
I haven’t tried to freeze it, but I imagine it would freeze well. I would probably make extra sauce to keep the dish moist.
What to serve with Baked Ravioli
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 3/4 lb sweet or mild Italian sausage
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 3 oz. tomato paste
- 14 oz. crushed san Marzano tomatoes
- 1 cup water
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 3/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 3/4 tsp. onion powder
- 3/4 tsp. dried basil
- 15 oz. whole-milk ricotta
- 1 lb frozen cheese, spinach, or beef ravioli
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Heat a large skillet to a medium-high heat. Add olive oil. Add Italian sausage and cook until browned. Remove sausage from pan and use a wooden spoon to scrape up as much of the brown bottom as you can, but leave some for deglazing the pan. Transfer sausage and sausage bits to a plate.
- Add garlic, cook for one minute until slightly softened.
- Add wine, use the wooden spoon to scrape up all remaining bits of brown at the bottom of the pan. Simmer and reduce the sauce by half.
- Whisk in tomato paste. Cook for one minute.
- Whisk in crushed tomatoes, water, sugar, spices and salt. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 10-12 minutes until thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Spoon a little bit of the sauce in the bottom of a 9-inch square baking dish. Cover with frozen ravioli. Dot half of the ricotta on top. Sprinkle half of the sausage on top. Spread half of the remaining sauce on top of that. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
- Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with cheese. Bake until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly, another 15 minutes.
- Let it rest for 5-10 minuets before serving.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 892Total Fat: 64gSaturated Fat: 32gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 30gCholesterol: 190mgSodium: 1602mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 2gSugar: 8gProtein: 51g