Frozen Ravioli Is A Great Shortcut For Makeshift Lasagna

To say that lasagna is practically everyone's favorite Italian food isn't just hyperbole, it's actual fact. In 2022, aside from garlic bread (which is more of an appetizer and was invented in the United States), lasagna ranked as the number one most popular Italian dish in America (via Statista). And what's not to love? Lasagna's piping hot layers of pasta, rich flavorful sauces, and ooey-gooey melted cheeses always manage to please a crowd. The one drawback is that it's time-consuming to prepare, requiring patience while you boil the pasta, and then painstakingly put together each of the many layers while trying to not tear the long and fragile noodles. And then you still have to wait for the thick concoction to bake, for at least one to two hours. Relax; there's an easier and faster way.

You can use frozen ravioli as a brilliant stand-in to make a quick version of lasagna. By substituting lasagna sheets for ravioli, you get to bypass the whole boiling pasta part of the equation, which saves a ton of time, and you also won't have to mess around with long, squiggly, hot, and difficult-to-handle lasagna noodles, which in turn makes layering the whole dish a lot easier too. The best part is that you can use the ravioli still frozen — there's no need to thaw them first. This turns the lengthy process of a classic baked pasta recipe into something that's about as easy as throwing together a casserole.

The convenient Italian meal already in your freezer

This dish couldn't be simpler, which is why it's sometimes called lazy lasagna. All you have to do is layer the ingredients into your favorite baking dish — though a shallow dish helps with achieving an even bake throughout. Start with a layer of pasta sauce or marinara, then lay down a single layer of frozen ravioli. You can optionally include a layer of cooked ground meat, then cover everything with a layer of shredded mozzarella cheese. Now repeat with another round of layering. To add a crispy-finish top to the lasagna, blend grated Parmesan into the top layer of cheese. Cover everything with aluminum foil, pop it in the oven, and bake — but not all the way. Uncover and bake it for another 10 minutes to really crisp up the top. Allow it to cool slightly before eating, especially if serving to children, who are going to love this.

Depending on the size of your ravioli and the thickness of the cheese, you might be able to slice this into squares like "real" lasagna, but more than likely it will come out less structured, and you can just scoop or ladle it out to serve. While this might not be what's considered an authentic lasagna, it sure beats having to wait hours for dinner when you can have it assembled and ready to eat in less than 45 minutes tops. It doesn't hurt that it's also delicious.

Make it veggie-friendly or a meat-lovers dream come true

There are so many ways you can run with this idea and make it your own. Try it with frozen cheese or beef ravioli, or any of the artisanal varieties made with specialty fillings. For that matter, you can make the entire dish vegetarian and vegan by sticking with meat-and-dairy-free ravioli and using vegan cheese. You can also add layers of vegetables like zucchini, mushrooms, and olives. For a meatier version, instead of ground beef, you could try Italian sausage or meatballs.

Try adding a layer of ricotta cheese for more texture and flavor. Alternately, you could lean toward the style of mimicking a white-style lasagna by using a white sauce or béchamel, made with milk, butter, flour, and nutmeg. Don't worry, store-bought is fine. This type of lasagna usually includes spinach, so go ahead and layer that in with your ravioli as well.

Double your pleasure by serving this alongside everyone's other fave, garlic bread. While someone might argue that this isn't anything like a traditional lasagna, we're willing to bet they'll clean their plate and still ask for seconds.