This make-ahead Italian Chicken Sausage Ravioli Lasagna is bursting with fabulous Italian flavor and tastes like you labored for hours! No one has to know the delicious little secret.
Sometimes I feel like I've been living under a rock. Well, now that I think about it, that's actually somewhat true. We did move to the mountains of North Carolina last summer and now reside in the foothills of the Great Craggy (and rocky) mountains. But that's not what I'm talking about right now. I'm talking about Ravioli Lasagna. Where have I been?
Ravioli Lasagna, where have you been?
A few weeks ago, an email from Epicurious popped into my inbox. One of the recipes they were sharing was a ravioli lasagna. It had a quick homemade marinara sauce and employed frozen ravioli. I thought to myself, "that's brilliant!".
But looking into it, I discovered that there are lots of recipes out there for ravioli lasagna. Like I said, sometimes I feel like I'm living under a rock! But I don't mind admitting it as this is one crazy delicious and easy way to enjoy lasagna.
To me, making good lasagna has always been a labor of love. It involves making the sauce, boiling the pasta, preparing the ricotta cheese filling and then putting it all together with layers of mozzarella in between. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing better than a bubbling hot pan of lasagna, with lots of stringy, melty cheese, tender pasta, Italian sausage and delicious tomato sauce fragrant with basil, oregano and garlic.
But what if you could get all that with considerably less effort? I wasn't so sure about using frozen ravioli, but I do know the fresh pasta (including ravioli) that's available at most larger grocers in the dairy section is fantastic. It's tender, super flavorful and available in a variety of flavor combinations.
I picked up a couple of packages of fresh ravioli with ricotta the next time I was shopping and decided to give the ravioli lasagna a go. I didn't go with the Epicurious recipe, just with their wonderful idea.
I decided to use my Quick and Easy Marinara for the sauce and added some lean Italian chicken sausage to make it hearty. Then it was just a matter of layering it with thinly sliced mozzarella, a good sprinkle of Parmesan and popping the whole thing into the oven.
Thirty-five minutes later, the aroma that filled the house was wonderful. I peeked in the oven and ... wow, it looked amazing! When we sat down to dinner, no one could believe that this was a quick and easy recipe. I've served this ravioli lasagna several times since and it always receives rave reviews.
The ravioli's ready to go, right from the package
Because this is fresh pasta, which only requires 7 or 8 minutes to cook on the stovetop, it's not necessary to cook it before layering it in the lasagna. Yep, just take the little pouches of ricotta-filled pasta right from the package and layer it between the sauce and cheese. Make two layers, top it with more cheese and it's ready for the oven.
Make-ahead for relaxed (and delicious) entertaining!
At this point, the ravioli lasagna can also be stashed in the fridge until you're ready to bake. This is a wonderful make-ahead option for entertaining. You can do all the prep early in the day or even the day before. With n last-minute fuss, the ravioli lasagna can go right from the fridge to the oven to the table.
You probably haven't been living under a rock. In fact, ravioli lasagna might just be in your regular rotation. If not, be sure to give the recipe a try. I think you'll love it as much as we do. Even if you have a recipe for ravioli lasagna, this one is easy, unique and super delicious!
Café Tips for making this Italian Chicken Sausage Ravioli Lasagna
- This recipe calls for fully-cooked Italian chicken sausage. You can find this kind of sausage in most larger grocery stores as well as at Super Targets and Super Walmarts in the section with other cooked (sometimes smoked) sausages. Johnsonville, Boarshead, Aidells and Applegate chicken sausages are all delicious. Wegman's and Trader Joe's have their own brands, which are also great.
- I use Buitoni All Natural Four Cheese Ravioli (20-ounces) which is available at Super Target, Super Walmart and most larger grocery stores. You may have a different brand available, just look for fresh ravioli.
- I like to use a block of whole milk mozzarella for this recipe as I think it melts (and tastes) better. If it's easier for you to find it pre-shredded that will also work.
- This recipe can be made in advance and refrigerated before baking. Take it out of the refrigerator about 20 minutes before baking to give it a chance to warm up a bit, especially if using a glass or stoneware baking pan.
- This Italian chicken sausage ravioli lasagna can be made in a deep 10-inch or a 12-inch skillet. It can also be made in a 9x13-inch baking dish. Sometimes I make it in two 10-inch skillets and freeze one to use later.
- This lasagna can be frozen before it is baked. Remove it from the freezer in enough time to thaw completely before proceeding with the baking step.
- Like any lasagna, it's important to let this dish rest for 10 minutes after baking before serving.
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This make-ahead Italian Chicken Sausage Ravioli Lasagna is bursting with fabulous Italian flavor and tastes like you labored for hours. No one has to know the delicious little secret.
- 1 recipe Quick and Easy Marinara
- 12 ounces fully-cooked Italian chicken sausage halved and sliced in ¼-inch slices
- 20 ounces fresh cheese ravioli I use the Butoni 4-cheese ravioli
- 12 ounces whole milk Mozzarella cheese in block form, thinly sliced (or 12-ounces shredded whole milk Mozzarella)
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Italian seasoning for garnish
- fresh basil leaves for garnish
Prepare one recipe of Quick and Easy Marinara as directed.
Cut the chicken sausage in half, lengthwise, then cut into slices about ⅓-inch thick. Set aside.
Transfer 1 cup of the marinara sauce to a deep 10-inch skillet or a 12-inch skillet or a 9x13-inch baking dish. Add the sliced sausages to the remaining marinara sauce.
Layer half of the ravioli over the sauce. Some of the ravioli will overlap each other a bit. Spoon half of the remaining sauce over the ravioli, then half of the Parmesan and half of the sliced (or shredded) Mozzarella.
Layer the remaining ravioli next, then the remaining sauce, Parmesan and Mozzarella. Sprinkle the top lightly with Italian seasoning.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375˚F. Cover the lasagna with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Uncover and continue baking for another 10-15 minutes or until bubbling and the cheese is lightly browned. Allow the lasagna to rest for 10 minutes. Scatter the basil leaves on top before serving.