Meatball and spinach ravioli bake recipe (2024)

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Meatball and spinach ravioli bake recipe (1)

This recipe excited me because I’ve wanted to make it for a while. It also involves pasta, so nothing is better than that. Initially, I conceptualized it being with tortellini, but good fresh-filled tortellini is difficult to come by in South Africa, so ravioli – a much more common variant is. I’ve combined fabulous things to make this dish. Spinach and ricotta ravioli, a homemade Italian tomato sauce, meatballs and buffalo mozzarella. These are all cooked separately and then brought together in a large skillet like a marriage made in heaven and baked. I also added some Parmesan because obvs.

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Meatball and spinach ravioli bake recipe (2)

We are just waving goodbye to winter here in the Southern Hemisphere so that also means saying cheerio to all the rich comforting food. It’s definitely time to make way for lighter and healthier summer-inspired dishes.

Meatball and spinach ravioli bake recipe (3)

So I relished and enjoyed this delicious ravioli and meatball bake like it was my final meal. I’m waving goodbye to my most beloved pasta for a while (well as much as I possibly can). I’ve used a good quality shop-bought fresh pasta ravioli as this is more convenient, but you can, of course, make your own.

Meatball and spinach ravioli bake recipe (4)
Meatball and spinach ravioli bake recipe (5)

I’ve used 250gms as this is the quantity it is sold in, but I think around 350 or 400gms would be better in terms of getting the pasta/ meatball to sauce ratio spot on. You can of course use any short noodle if you can’t get hold of a filled pasta pocket.


Meatball and spinach ravioli bake recipe (6)

A few of my other favourite pasta dishes:

Recipe – serves 2 – 4 depending on appetite size and level of greed

spaghetti meatballs

pasta with broccoli, anchovies, and garlic

Meatball and spinach ravioli bake

Spaghetti and meatballs

Chicken meatballs with spaghetti

Tortellini with Italian sausage meatball bake

Meatball and spinach ravioli bake

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Meatball and spinach ravioli bake

A comforting and easy finner made with store-bought ravioli, meatballs and spinach covered in cheese.

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Meatball and spinach ravioli bake recipe (7)

Prep Time:20 minutes mins

Cook Time:45 minutes mins


  • 250 gms – 400gms spinach and ricotta filled ravioli shop-bought
  • 150 g net weight ball of buffalo mozzarella (fior di latte)
  • Parmesan to grate over and serve – as much as you like
  • 3 – 4 Tbsp olive oil to fry the meatballs
  • Fresh basil leaves as garnish optional

Tomato sauce:

  • 1 small red onion or half a large finely chopped
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 2 tins of peeled tomatoes
  • ¼ cup dry white wine or 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar and ¼ cup water
  • 1 small stock cube crumbled (chicken or vegetable)
  • a good pinch of dried chilli flakes or two
  • 6-8 basil leaves chopped
  • Splash or Worcestershire sauce optional
  • Salt and pepper


  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • 500 g free-range lean beef mince
  • 60 g dried breadcrumbs
  • 10 g parsley finely chopped (about 2 ½ tablespoons after chopped)
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • salt & pepper a good few pinches
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste


  • Heat a non-stick frying pan and add the olive oil.

  • Fry the onions over low heat until softened. Add the garlic and briefly cook. Add the wine to deglaze the pan and then add the tomatoes, stock cube, chilli and basil and cook until the sauce has thickened. Add a splash of water if it gets too thick. I normally cook this for around 25 minutes and while the oven is heating up.

  • Preheat the oven to 180C / 350 F

  • While the sauce is on the go, mix all the meatball ingredients (mince, garlic, breadcrumbs, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper and tomato paste) together – hands are best for this job, and roll into small to medium-sized meatballs.

  • Heat the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and fry the meatballs until they turn brown on all sides. They may still be a bit raw in the middle but this is fine.

  • Bring a large pot of salty water to the boil and cook the ravioli for 3 minutes until just below al dente. Drian and set aside.

  • When all of the above are done, combine the meatballs and ravioli in the ovenproof skillet with the tomato sauce. Tear the ball of mozzarella into small shreds and scatter over the surface. Grate over some Parmesan cheese and bake for 20 minutes.


The tomato sauce can be made in advance.

Leftovers can be frozen and reheated.

Author: Sam Linsell


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Meatball and spinach ravioli bake recipe (2024)


Does fresh ravioli need to be boiled before baking? ›

Fresh refrigerated ravioli does have to be boiled before it is baked, but it only takes 3 to 4 minutes. If you make it with frozen ravioli (see below) it doesn't have to be boiled, but you will have a longer baking time.

Should ravioli be cooked in sauce? ›

Best of all, you cook the ravioli in the sauce you're making – no need to boil it in a seperate pan.

What can I add to ravioli to make it taste better? ›

In particular, dried oregano, cayenne, garlic powder, and chili powder are all great picks for sprucing up a can of ravioli. Add a bit of seasoning to the pasta and mix it before you heat it, then taste it to establish whether it's adequate or needs more.

Can I bake ravioli instead of boiling it? ›

Heat oven to 375°F. Place desired number of ravioli onto nonstick baking sheet. Bake 12-14 minutes or until ravioli are crisp and lightly browned.

Can you cook fresh ravioli in sauce instead of water? ›

Yes, you can cook ravioli, frozen or fresh, directly in your simmering pasta sauce. Test your pasta after 3-4 minutes of cooking to see if done. Tip – If you have a large quantity of ravioli you can cook you ravioli in batches to ensure even cooking.

What kind of sauce goes with ravioli? ›

Tomato Sauce: A classic tomato-based sauce, marinara is a popular choice for serving with ravioli. It's an easy go to that is a perfect pairing! I love the Rao's tomato sauce. If you are up for it you can even make your own!

How do you get sauce to stick to ravioli? ›

Once the pasta is in the sauce, add pasta water. This is the most vital step in the process. Starchy pasta water doesn't just help thin the sauce to the right consistency; it also helps it cling to the pasta better and emulsify with the fat and cheese you're going to be adding.

Do you cook meat before putting in ravioli? ›

Can you stuff ravioli with raw meat? Because the pasta cooks quickly, meat fillings must be pre-cooked before you stuff them into ravioli.

What do Italians put on ravioli? ›

Some parmesan on top and a leaf or two of sage. In some rare cases ravioli filled with ricotta and spinach can be served also with tomato sauce. A good italian homemade tomato sauce.

How to make good store bought ravioli? ›

First, boil 4 quarts of water (optional: add 1 tablespoon oil to prevent sticking). Add ravioli to boiling water. Then, simmer for 6-8 minutes or until desired tenderness, stirring occasionally. Drain and serve.

How do you elevate premade ravioli? ›

How To Seriously Elevate Your Store-Bought Ravioli
  1. Add cheese. Rimma Bondarenko/Shutterstock. ...
  2. Swap tomato sauce for béchamel. ...
  3. Use pesto instead of red sauce. ...
  4. Add a few drops of truffle oil. ...
  5. Turn them into a gourmet pasta salad. ...
  6. Douse them in brown butter. ...
  7. Make them with carbonara sauce. ...
  8. Top each serving with a poached egg.
Dec 10, 2023

How many ravioli per person? ›

If you want to make your guests happy, you should use at least 200 grams of ravioli (about 10 pieces) for each of them. I often go up to 250 grams each, or even more. This means using at least 12 ravioli per person. So, if you're making ravioli for a group of 4 people, buy enough ingredients to make 1 kg of them.

Do you need egg wash for ravioli? ›

The egg wash will help the pasta bind together and will help the filling stick to the dough.

Can you bake frozen ravioli instead of boiling? ›

Can you bake frozen ravioli instead of boiling? Sure can! Boil the ravioli for about three minutes to soften them, then brush oil and arrange them in an even layer on a baking dish or tray and bake for about 10 minutes at 400 degrees F.

Do you have to cook fresh ravioli? ›

Do you boil ravioli? Fresh ravioli is best boiled in a pot of salted water for a couple minutes until they float to the top of the water. If you want to try baking your ravioli, spoon a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of a baking pan, layer with uncooked ravioli and then spoon a little more sauce on top.

Does fresh pasta have to be boiled? ›

Cook fresh pasta noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water. (Use about 6 quarts of water for 1 pound of pasta.) Fresh pasta takes considerably less time to cook than dried, usually 1 to 3 minutes, so watch it carefully. To test, remove a noodle with tongs or a long-handled fork and take a bite.

Can you pan fry fresh ravioli instead of boiling? ›

Fresh pasta does need to be cooked, but you can skip the step of boiling your ravioli (and gnocchi), and cook it in a skillet instead. Pan-fried ravioli (and gnocchi) have a crispy crust, a warm gooey center, and they take on sauce beautifully.

Does homemade ravioli need to dry before cooking? ›

So no, you shouldn't let homemade ravioli dry. Attempting to, even if you used a filling that is safe at room temperature, takes way longer than plain (and thin!)


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