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Hearty Dinners/ Pasta/ Simple Sauces

Rustic Tomato Sauce for Ravioli

January 26, 2022 (Last Updated: September 1, 2023) by Chris Collins

This easy tomato sauce is perfect to pair with store bought ravioli. Better still, it only has 4 ingredients!

This sauce is ridiculously simple, but works so well with a range of different ravioli fillings. Ready for a new go-to ravioli sauce? Follow me…

close up shot of ravioli on small white plate with silver fork

Tomato Sauce for Ravioli

What makes this sauce great for ravioli?

Sauces for ravioli are always a delicate balance of making sure they’re adding to the dish, but not overpowering the ravioli filling. You want the sauce to compliment the ravioli and bring out the best in the filling, and that’s exactly what this sauce does. It’s a subtle no-fuss sauce, but it’s simplicity really works.

Ravioli Tomato Sauce Ingredients

I promised a 4 ingredient sauce, and that I stick to! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Canned Tomatoes – I recommend using peeled plum tomatoes, because they tend to be slightly sweeter than crushed/chopped. They also give you more of a rustic texture in the sauce. Make sure you get a good quality brand – Napolina is a pretty safe bet, Mutti and San Marzano are great if you can get your hands on them.
  • Basil – MUST be fresh! You’ll use a whole small bunch, just to pack in the flavour.
  • Garlic – I recommend very finely slicing it, just for a more rustic feel.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Again, try and use a good quality brand. This is used to fry the garlic, but it also adds an undertone of flavour to the sauce.

overhead shot of ravioli tomato sauce ingredients with text labels

Garlic Basil Tomato Sauce

This is a really simple sauce, so a couple of things to bring out the best in it:

  • Seasoning – Season with a good pinch of salt and pepper at the start, then adjust when the sauce is cooked.
  • Simmer – A nice long simmer will reduce the sauce right down, which in turn will intensify the flavours, sweeten the tomatoes and marry all the flavours together.

Another tip is to start the sauce off without the heat on. When you add the garlic to the oil I recommend doing it without the heat on, then bringing it to a fairly low heat. This will not only give you more control over the garlic potentially overcooking/burning, but it also gives more chance for the garlic to infuse into the oil.

Can I make this sauce ahead of time?

Yep! You can either store in the fridge or freezer then reheat when needed.

Process shots: add garlic to oil (photo 1), fry until soft/very lightly golden (photo 2), add tomatoes, basil and s&p (photo 3), simmer and break up tomatoes with wooden spoon (photo 4), adjust seasoning if needed (photo 5), stir in ravioli (photo 6).

6 step by step photos showing how to make tomato sauce for ravioli

Ravioli Tomato Sauce FAQ

What else could I add to this sauce?

With a good seasoning of salt and pepper and a long simmer, these simple ingredients are all you need. However, here’s a few extras you can add if you wanted:

  • Sugar – You might still find the tomatoes a touch sour after simmering, so you can balance this out with a pinch of sugar if needed.
  • Chilli Flakes – If you want a little heat you can add in chilli flakes along with the garlic to infuse the oil.
  • Parmesan – To serve if you fancy!

What kind of Ravioli to use?

This goes with a range of different ravioli fillings. Here’s some ideas:

  • Spinach & ricotta or any type of cheese
  • Sausage/spicy sausage
  • Lobster or most types of seafood
  • Bolognese or beef ravioli
  • Any type of chicken ravioli

Can I use Tortellini?

For all intents and purposes tortellini/tortelloni will work perfectly!

close up shot of wooden spoon digging into ravioli in frying pan

Serving Ravioli in Tomato Sauce

You want the sauce nice and thick, because the small amount of excess water from the ravioli will thin it back out again. Serve it up with any leftover basil and parmesan if you fancy! It’s filling by itself, but also perfect with garlic bread (or cheesy garlic bread!).

After a different sauce for ravioli? Check out my Garlic Cream Ravioli Sauce, Creamy Tuscan Ravioli and Brown Butter Sauce for Ravioli!

Alrighty, let’s tuck into the full recipe for this tomato ravioli sauce shall we?!

overhead shot of ravioli served on small white plate on wooden board with silver fork

How to make Tomato Sauce for Ravioli (Full Recipe & Video)

overhead shot of ravioli served on small white plate on wooden board with silver fork

Rustic Tomato Sauce for Ravioli

This easy tomato sauce is perfect to pair with store bought ravioli. Better still, it only has 4 ingredients!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Servings (click & slide): 4
Course: Dinner / Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Calories per serving: 302kcal
Cost per serving: £1.50 / $2

Equipment:

  • Large Frying Pan & Wooden Spoon (for sauce)
  • Large Pot & Ladle (for ravioli)
  • Sharp Knife & Chopping Board (for garlic/basil)

Ingredients (check list):

  • 1lb / 500g Fresh Ravioli (see notes)
  • 2x 14oz/400g cans of good quality Peeled Plum Tomatoes (see notes)
  • 4 fat cloves of Garlic, peeled & very finely sliced
  • 1 small bunch of Fresh Basil, finely diced (typically sold in 1oz/30g packs)
  • 2 tbsp good quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt & Black Pepper, to taste

Optional

  • 1/4-1/2 tsp Chilli Flakes, start off conservatively then adjust at the end (add at the same time as garlic)
  • pinch of Sugar, if the tomatoes are still a touch sour after simmering
  • Parmesan, to serve

Instructions:

  • To a large pan add 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil with the heat OFF. Add in finely sliced garlic and bring to a low-medium heat. Gently fry until the garlic softens and just about starts to tinge a very light golden.
  • Add in plum tomatoes and swill out the cans with a splash of water. Sprinkle in basil then add a good pinch of salt and pepper (can adjust this later). Bring to a very gentle simmer and cook for around 30-35mins, stirring occasionally and breaking up the tomatoes as you go. You want the sauce to be nice and thick with no visible signs of it being watery.
  • A couple of mins just before the sauce is done, pop your ravioli in salted boiling water and cook to packet instruction (usually just needs a few mins).
  • Test the sauce for seasoning and adjust accordingly. Now is when you can add a pinch of sugar if the tomatoes are still a touch sour. Use a ladle to transfer the ravioli from the water into the sauce. Toss to combine.
  • Serve individual portions with any extra basil you have and parmesan if you fancy it. Enjoy!

Quick 1 min demo!

Notes:

a) Ravioli - This sauce goes nicely with a range of different ravioli or tortellini. Here's some ideas:
  • Spinach & ricotta or any type of cheese
  • Sausage/spicy sausage
  • Lobster or most types of seafood
  • Bolognese or beef ravioli
  • Any type of chicken ravioli
b) Tomatoes - I use peeled plum tomatoes because they are slightly sweeter than other varieties. They also give you more of a rustic texture. Just try and grab a good quality can - Napolina are a pretty safe bet and widely available. San Marzano and Mutti are top tier if you can get them (in my opinion).
c) Make Ahead Sauce - Feel free to make the sauce ahead of time. Just allow to cool then tightly store in the fridge for 2-3days or freeze for a month. Gently reheat over low heat, then add in ravioli. The excess water from the ravioli will thin out the sauce again, so don't worry if it's super thick when reheating.
d) Calories - based on no parmesan, regular cheese filled ravioli and divided by 4:

Your Private Notes:

Nutrition:

Nutrition Facts
Rustic Tomato Sauce for Ravioli
Amount Per Serving
Calories 302 Calories from Fat 133
% Daily Value*
Fat 14.75g23%
Saturated Fat 5.056g25%
Trans Fat 0.003g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.556g
Monounsaturated Fat 7.333g
Cholesterol 103mg34%
Sodium 735mg31%
Potassium 592mg17%
Carbohydrates 31.79g11%
Fiber 3.3g13%
Sugar 5.55g6%
Protein 11.75g24%
Vitamin A 2264IU45%
Vitamin C 29.2mg35%
Calcium 144mg14%
Iron 2.58mg14%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition is based on the absence of salt unless stated as a measurement in the ingredients. Cost is worked out based on ingredients bought from UK supermarkets, then divided by the number of servings. In both instances these values are just for guidance. Please check out my FAQ Page for more info.
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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Steve
    March 31, 2022 at 10:15 pm

    5 stars
    This is the easiest ravioli sauce I’ve ever made. I used sausage ravioli and this sauce complimented it so well. Thank you for the recipe.

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      April 1, 2022 at 2:51 pm

      Great to hear it went down well, Steve!

    5 KNOCKOUT

    DINNERS

    YOU'LL NEVER STOP MAKING!

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