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I have been making this quick and easy Ravioli and Meat Sauce recipe for a long, long time. It was one of the first dishes I learned to make growing up. Over the years, so many components have stayed the same and a few have changed.
Components that have stayed the same: using store brand pasta sauce & frozen cheese ravioli. The first change was adding meat to the pasta sauce and the biggest change I’ve made is how I sauce my pasta. A friend shared this video with me years ago. That’s when I learned I was “doing it all wrong” and tried the Italian cooking method of mantecare. And I haven’t turned back!
I incorporate mantecare into the last step of this recipe. Mantecare results in:
- No more topping pasta with sauce.
- No more puddles of water with my sauce and pasta.
- I still don’t understand why that happened and how adding more water to the pasta in the mantecare method results in even less water on the plate.
- No more uneven saucing of the pasta.
Whenever possible, mantecare is the way to go with any and all pastas and sauces, I have found! It’s so easy and really elevates the dish!
- Getting Started
- Ingredient Recommendations
- Ingredient Alternatives
- Finishing Touches
It is quick and easy to start this recipe. To begin, start the pasta water. Also, defrost the meat, if necessary.
I recommend store brand pasta sauce. The store brand pasta sauce flavor I use is simply called “traditional”. In the past I’ve also used Prego’s Heart Smart Traditional Pasta Sauce*.
Frozen, store brand cheese ravioli is my recommendation. Traditionally, I use square ravioli. Round, if an option, is good too. In the past I have used the Rosetto brand of frozen cheese ravioli. When I can find a good fresh ravioli, I sometimes use fresh instead of frozen ravioli.
Fresh, locally sourced ground beef is always recommended. Whenever I go to the local butcher I usually pick up an extra pound of ground beef and then freeze it so I’m sure to always have some on hand. When I don’t have fresh ground beef and resort to my frozen ground beef backup, I defrost what I need in the microwave when starting this recipe.
If you’re looking to reduce red meat in your diet, simply swap ground beef for ground turkey. Or just make the swap to change the dish up every once in a while. Likewise, ground turkey can be used fresh or defrosted from frozen.
For a vegetarian option, simply omit the meat.
Follow the recipe instructions to add the ultimate finishing touch: mantecare!
On average, five to six ravioli is a serving. Generally I serve eight to ten ravioli per person. Serve in a warmed pasta dish.
Top with cheese, if you’d like. I recommend either a whole piece of thin sliced provolone, shredded mozzarella or simply shake on some grated parmesan cheese.
This quick and easy ravioli with meat sauce recipe makes a great meal any night of the week. It’s easy and quick for those especially busy nights. Serve with a side salad and garlic bread. Frozen, store brand garlic bread, or breadsticks, is my go-to. And the cheesier the bread, the better, in my opinion!
After serving 2 people, we end up with 2 to 4 servings of leftovers.
Use leftovers within a few days. They are a good lunch or dinner option which can be reheated in the microwave or baked in the oven. When baking leftovers in the oven, add cheese on top just before taking it out to serve!
*Prego’s Heart Smart Traditional Pasta Sauce new name is Prego Lower Sodium Traditional Pasta Sauce. They changed the name since I last used it!
Ravioli with Meat Sauce
- 1 bag frozen cheese ravioli
- 1 jar spaghetti sauce
- 1 lb ground beef or ground turkey
- kosher salt
- olive oil
- unsalted butter
- Heat a pot of salted water to boiling. Add ravioli and cook until pasta starts to float.
- Meanwhile, heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large skillet. Add ground meat, a pinch of salt and pepper, and cook until browned, 5-7 minutes.
- Add spaghetti sauce to cooked meat.
- When ravioli is ready, use a slotted spoon to add ravioli to meat sauce. Then, add a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of pasta water and stir. Then add a drizzle of olive oil and 1-2 tbsp of unsalted butter and stir until combined.