Hearty Baked Ravioli with Homemade Meat Sauce











Discover the comforting flavors of our Hearty Baked Ravioli with Homemade Meat Sauce. A perfect blend of tender ravioli, rich and savory meat sauce, topped with melty mozzarella, this dish is sure to become your next family favorite. It is an excellent choice for a cozy dinner at home, providing a satisfying meal that combines protein, fats, and carbs in one delicious package.


Step 1: Brown the Beef

In a large, heavy bottomed saucepan, begin by heating the olive oil over medium heat. Add the ground beef, chopped onion, and minced garlic. Cook until the beef is thoroughly browned and the onions are translucent.
Pro Tip: Breaking the beef into smaller chunks as it cooks ensures even browning.

Step 2: Add Seasonings and Tomato Paste

Once the meat is browned, stir in the tomato paste, Italian seasonings, sugar, salt, and pepper. Add the bay leaves, spreading them around the saucepan. Let the mixture cook for a few minutes to allow the tomato paste to become fragrant and slightly caramelized.
Pro Tip: Ensuring the tomato paste cooks for a few minutes deepens the sauce's flavor.

Step 3: Simmer the Sauce

Add the crushed tomatoes and fill half of the empty tomato paste can with water to add to the saucepan. Let the sauce simmer for 25-30 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together. Taste the sauce halfway through and re-season if necessary.
Pro Tip: A low and slow simmer helps in developing a rich flavor profile.

Step 4: Prepare the Ravioli

While the sauce simmers, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the ravioli just until they start to float. Be careful not to overcook as they will cook further in the oven. Drain and toss with butter or olive oil to prevent sticking.
Pro Tip: Tossing cooked ravioli in butter or oil prevents them from sticking together.

Step 5: Assemble and Bake

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked ravioli with the meat sauce, ensuring each piece is generously coated. Transfer the mixture to a greased 9x13 inch casserole dish and sprinkle the top evenly with shredded mozzarella. Bake in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes, or until the cheese is golden and bubbly.
Pro Tip: A liberal coating of sauce ensures the ravioli doesn't dry out in the oven.