This post is about our experience making ravioli at home, and contains questions and answers about ravioli and similar types of pasta. It wasn’t difficult at all to DIY homemade ravioli!
I just love pasta and could dine on it daily. My husband on the other hand enjoys it occasionally, and fortunately caters to my every whim. He has mastered making homemade pasta – turning up our pasta dining experience a notch. We have recently begun making fresh homemade ravioli. I had thought that this would be complicated, but it came together quite easily. It was almost like a craft day. Too bad we didn’t do this with the kids when they were small!
There is a printable recipe card from RecipesGenerator further down in this post!
The Italian word “rava” means turnip, so “ravioli” actually means little turnip! Ravioli are a pasta with a filling – like an Italian dumpling. They are traditionally square, but can be round – or other shapes, but are generally shaped like a little pillow of pasta.
What’s the Difference Between Ravioli and Tortellini?
They are similar to Tortellini, which are also pasta with a filling – Tortellini are usually rounded in a ring shape, and may be twisted – or like a wonton. The word Tortello means small cake or fritter.
Are there Different Names for Different Sizes of Ravioli and Tortellini?
Tortelloni is a larger Tortellini! So if there are different names for different sizes of Tortellini, is there a name for larger Raviolis – you may ask? Well yes! A larger ravioli is called a Ravioloni, and a smaller version is called a Ravielletti!
We were thinking that we had always wanted to make some larger Raviolis – and so that is what we set out to do.
What is inside of Ravioli?
Ravioli can be filled with meat, cheese, and or herbs and vegetables. The traditional preparation will depend upon the region where they are made. In our North American supermarkets, ravioli are typically filled with ricotta and parmesan, or with beef and pork meat fillings.
We had always wondered – “What is that mystery meat in the store-bought ravioli?” – and “why on earth is the store bought cheese ravioli so bland?” Is there cheese in there or is it some kind of flavourless filler? We thought – why not prepare our own fillings and not have to worry about the contents!
Ravioli Filling Ideas
We could “up” the flavour, and change the ingredients around to suit our different family member’s dietary requirements. For example our vegan daughter might prefer mushroom or squash based fillings, and we thought we’d like to try some spicy, garlicy sausage meat and spinach in ours. On another occasion we left out the spinach for our vegetable-averse son. We could definitely put some very flavourful cheese and herbs in a filling and lately we’ve been experimenting with making our own cheese.
The possibilities are endless.
How to Make Ravioli Dough
To make ravioli, we used our recipe for pasta dough located here. We used our usual egg based pasta and not the vegan version. The egg based version is just a little more pliable and easy to work with than the vegan version. It contains all purpose and Farina flour, olive oil, eggs and salt.
The vegan version of our recipe will work to make ravioli, but you will need to experiment with the thickness of the dough so that it will not fall apart when it is filled and to stick the edges of the dough together – but it should work just fine!
How do you make raviolis?
We have been making our homemade pasta with a Marcato Atlas 150 pasta maker. (About $100 from Lee Valley Tools). For the pasta required for ravioli – we use the plain roller that comes with the pasta maker – and roll out flat sheets of pasta to form into raviolis. (We use the #6 setting). You could also use a pasta making attachment for a Kitchenaid style of machine – but you don’t actually need to.
Do I need to buy a ravioli maker?
You can if you want to – but you don’t have to.
Instead of using a pasta machine to make the flat sheets of pasta, you can roll the sheets of pasta with a rolling pin.
To shape the sheets into raviolis, you could use an automatic attachment for a pasta machine, a ravioli mold, which looks a little like an ice cube tray (about $48.50 from Lee Valley Tools) – or we found this one at Well.ca.Fox Run Ravioli Maker
Another option – which we chose – is to use these ravioli stamps (about $22 from Lee Valley Tools for 2) or on sale at Well.ca
The ravioli stamps – we wanted to have a slightly larger ravioli square and this tool was just the right size. We purchased our 2 piece set and the Pasta Maker from Lee Valley Tools, but you can find them on Amazon, Well.ca or in specialty stores.
To prepare raviolis – lay out a single sheet of pasta – place spoonfuls of filling on the sheet – fold the noodle over – and then stamp them with the tool. You can further reinforce the edges by pressing down all around with a fork if you want – but we didn’t find this to be necessary.
How to make ravioli without a mold or stamp
You don’t need to buy these tools, if you just want to fold, the pasta over and cut the pasta with a knife or pizza cutter! Then press the edges together with a fork. I’m betting you could use a small cookie cutter too – but I haven’t tried that!
Ravioli filling – Spinach, Sausage and Cheese Recipe
We prepared our basic recipe for pasta, wrapped the pasta dough in plastic wrap and refrigerated it for at least 30 minutes while we made the filling.
We challenged ourselves to make a flavourful ravioli filling that could be served with a simple sauce, or even some olive oil and a little parmesan.
Below is a printable recipe card from RecipesGenerator. Please give it a try!
After we had prepared the filling we brought the dough ball out and cut it into quarters – to work with one quarter of the dough at a time. We covered the remaining dough again – the key is to keep the dough that is not being used moist so that it doesn’t become unworkable.
The counter was dusted with flour and we prepared the Marcato pasta roller to create sheets of pasta. The dough was rolled through the machine 4 or so times at a setting of “6”. (You could also use a rolling pin.)
We placed the pasta on the counter, and placed a spoonful of filling about an inch or so apart along the sheet.
Next, we folded the pasta over – pressed down between the balls of filling – and stamped with the ravioli press.
We took the discarded pasta dough and put it back into the dough ball – keeping it covered until ready to form the next sheet and form into raviolis.
One dough and one filling recipe was enough for about 40 individual raviolis. We freeze part of our batch of fresh homemade ravioli to use later. (Instructions here)
More FAQs about Ravioli:
Can you put raw meat in ravioli?
We cooked the meat mixture first. Our fresh pasta boils for only a few minutes, so it is better to have the meat mixture cooked beforehand. We also steamed our spinach, and sauteed our onions and garlic first. You may find baked ravioli recipes that incorporate raw meat in the pasta, but they will need to be baked longer to ensure the meat is cooked through.
Do you have to boil fresh ravioli?
Fresh ravioli should be placed in boiling salted water, and boiled until they float to the top, or seem tender. (Our ravioli had a few air bubbles – so some floated to the top immediately!) We cooked the ravioli for about 4-5 minutes – and sampled a ravioli to ensure that it was tender.
Ravioli can also be coated in olive oil and seasonings and baked on a tray at 375 degrees F for about 10 minutes. There are wonderful baked ravioli recipes! You could also pan fry ravioli in oil – perhaps with onion and peppers, or place them in a tray on the BBQ!
What pasta is used for ravioli?
We used flat lasagna style sheets of fresh egg based homemade pasta dough (made with Farina flour, oil, eggs and salt).
What can I put with ravioli?
Freshly boiled and drained ravioli can be tossed with some olive oil and freshly grated parmesan cheese. We used a flavoured olive oil. It can be served with a fresh tomato sauce, a light cheese sauce, pesto, or even a chicken broth. We enjoy it with a crusty bread and a fresh garden salad.
Can you freeze homemade ravioli?
Yes. We lay the fresh ravioli on a tray lined with parchment paper (or dusted with flour) and place in the freezer. After the ravioli has initially frozen, (in a few hours), we repackage it into a sealed container and keep frozen.
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