Genius Recipes

Weeknight Lasagna Is Real, Thanks to a Genius New Trick

Comfort food in a single skillet—and fast.

September 11, 2019
Photo by Rocky Luten. Food Stylist: Sam Seneviratne. Prop Stylist: Sophie Strangio.

Every week in Genius Recipes—often with your help!—Food52 Creative Director and lifelong Genius-hunter Kristen Miglore is unearthing recipes that will change the way you cook.

It feels awfully unfair that the exact food that would solve those back-to-real-life, end-of-summer blues feels juuust outside our grasp at the moment.

What we want is a tall, bubbly square of lasagna (edge piece, thanks). But we’re too crazed putting away snorkels and beach towels and figuring out how to get to school and work and the gym on time (how did we ever?) to even think about dinner that requires cooking, layering, then baking.

But lo, we can still have our edge pieces, friends, with this Genius Recipe from Taste’s first-ever cookbook Lasagna, written by senior editor Anna Hezel and recipe-developer-to-the-stars Grace Parisi.

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Top Comment:
“She didn't make Lasagna but a great vegetarian dish. Great idea, but not new and not genius. ”
— Helen S.

It’s fast. It’s made in a single skillet, sauce and everything (1). And it’s all thanks to—hold for dramatic pause—frozen ravioli, the only pasta that brings its own layers of cheese.

“The idea of skipping the whole pasta-boiling and ricotta-scooping part of the process and using frozen raviolis was totally her genius,” Hezel said of Parisi.

And, thanks to Parisi’s vast recipe-developing experience (she’s written more than 1,400 in her years at Food & Wine alone), what could be a clever but flavorless hack is reminiscent of the best gooey-saucy-crusty lasagnas out there (2).

Same soft ricotta cushioning, same molten mozz through the middle and on top, same slightly chewy-burnt noodle poking up in the corner that everyone fights over. All made in the time it takes to watch an episode of Frasier, give or take.

“We tend to think of lasagna as a long project, but I’m extremely in favor of making impulse-lasagna,” Hezel told me. In moments lacking for time but not inspiration, she’s made lasagnas in loaf pans and out of frozen wonton wrappers and leftover Bolognese.

“Break some rules, have some fun, use frozen ravioli, eat lasagna for breakfast,” Hezel says.

But first, dinner.

(1) Another Genius, slightly-more-traditional path to skillet lasagna. (Also: how the heck they make no-boil noodles.)
(2) For more of Parisi’s brilliance, see/eat the Frozen Lemon Cream Sandwiches in Genius Desserts.

Got a genius recipe to share—from a classic cookbook, an online source, or anywhere, really? Perhaps something perfect for beginners? Please send it my way (and tell me what's so smart about it) at [email protected].

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Ramona Chandler
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I'm an ex-economist, lifelong-Californian who moved to New York to work in food media in 2007, before returning to the land of Dutch Crunch bread and tri-tip barbecues in 2020. Dodgy career choices aside, I can't help but apply the rational tendencies of my former life to things like: recipe tweaking, digging up obscure facts about pizza, and deciding how many pastries to put in my purse for "later."


Ramona C. January 4, 2021
That is totally not a genius recipe. My husband made that not long ago, thinking it was his own great idea, and called it “easy sleazy cheesy” lasagna!😂
Diane August 26, 2020
so it's basically baked ravioli but, yes, genius. Especially for those who want the flavour and texture but don't have all the time. Great idea.
Susan R. January 9, 2020
Can you use fresh ravioli? Cook it a bit before or just let it simmer and cook in the pan? NOt clear from your answer.
Sharon M. January 1, 2020
Why couldnt you use fresh ravioli? You wouldnt have to cook it first. Right?
Elizabeth B. January 2, 2020
Read the instructions again, you don’t cook the ravioli separately, it cooks in the sauce
Virginia October 6, 2019
One of my favorite lasagna dishes came to me via Martha Stewart, the skillet lasagna is made with no boil lasagna, it comes out beautiful, very tasty and with minimal work.
Mari H. September 13, 2019
This is neither innovative nor genius but, rather, a poorly executed recycle from nearly 20 years ago. Drive around, please...
Linda S. September 12, 2019
This works for me...never watch Rachel ray so for me it's a great find. Thanks for posting it and I look forward to trying it.
Susan L. September 12, 2019
Rachael Ray has been doing this for well over 10 years .
Camille D. September 11, 2019
that is baked ravioli ... I make rolled lasagna... spread the cheese mixture onto a almost cooked lasagna noodle... roll up add sauce.. bake individual servings just like that you can lay them on their sides or stand up in baking dish
jennifer September 11, 2019
It's true, I've seen this idea before. But I'd forgotten all about it, so thank you geniuses (geni?) for reminding me! The lush picture and the 'about to bolt' basil in my herb garden makes this a shoe-in for dinner tonight.

What I REALLY want to know is, where did you get frozen ravioli all packaged up in a neat little box like that?
Helen S. September 11, 2019
This is a really old idea. I remember making this at my take out shop in 2001 when Rachel Ray first came up with the idea of using ravioli in place of a layer of cheese and a layer of pasta. She didn't make Lasagna but a great vegetarian dish. Great idea, but not new and not genius.
Anna September 11, 2019
As much as I appreciate an easy meal to fix, This is baked ravioli not lasagna.
Gammy September 11, 2019
Genius Recipe for sure! But as a 2 person household, not positive I can scale back enough (recipe says serves 6-8) for a one night dinner, probably make 4 servings and hopefully have enough for another meal.
Sharon R. September 11, 2019
What I've done in the past for similar recipes is cut the recipe in half and use a 10" skillet. The timing usually remains the same.
Diane August 26, 2020
FYIW, I've found that most times when they say serves 6-8, that's people who eat lightly and there are all kinds of sides involved. This can easily be a 2 person dinner with enough left for each person to pack in their lunch the next day. ;-)
Catherine September 11, 2019
Okay... this really IS genius. I am adding ravioli to my grocery list now.