If you love pasta, chances are you LOVE ravioli.
Ravioli done right (not too much filling, not too thick on the pasta…not mushy, not dry….) is like HEAVEN and a treat you crave when heading to an Italian restaurant.
Some of my favorite dishes in memory are ravioli by incredible chefs in some quite fancy spots that I was very fortunate to experience with great friends while I lived in NYC. Date nights, girl’s night out… or just the excitement to try something simple yet exquisite, ravioli holds a special place in my heart.
When done right… even the simplest ingredients can make an incredible dish.
Take this filling. It’s main ingredients are quite easy to find and UNBELIEVABLY tasty when put together inside some homemade dough and topped with a simple pomodoro sauce or as we do, a light butter sauce with herbed oil and grated parm.
Have a try and let me know what you think!
OH, and here is the link to the basic ravioli dough… as with most things… homemade takes it up a notch – Basic Filled Pasta Dough. With this filling, however, I decided to try something new – adding color to the mix! (That will be a separate post in the future so don’t worry!)
I also made SEVERAL pasta styles out of this dough batch which I will go through below the recipe and give a quick walk thru of: ravioli, mezzelune, tortellini/tortelloni and agnolotti.
What tools do you need?
- You will need a hand blender or small food processor for the filling. I also use either a baggie with the corner snipped or a pastry bag (they have them super cheap out there) without a tip to make piping the filling into/onto your sheets of pasta MUCH easier!
- You will need a way to roll out your pasta dough into sheets (hand rollers are available as are electric ones, even ones that are attachments for your KitchenAid mixer, which is what I currently use.)
- You will need a few things for making the filled pasta shapes, but honestly, you don’t need ANYTHING other than your hands and a cutter if you don’t want to buy the molds or cutters (I use a square ravioli mold, but you can use a biscuit cutter or cookie cutter and a fork to crimp/seal your edges as well. I also have a fluted pasta cutter but a knife or even pizza cutter will do!)
- 2 packs of sliced mortadella (approx 6 oz)
- 7oz oz of whole milk ricotta (or skim or even mascarpone)
- 4-8 mushy roasted garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp finely chopped flat leaf parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place all ingredients into a small food processor and blend to a fine paste (you can also use a bowl and an immersion blender.)
- Use immediately or refrigerate up to 3 days until ready to use.
It is honestly THAT simple to make a mild meat filling for your filled pasta. This is amazing in ravioli, tortellini, agnolotti or even cappelletti. Honestly, this subtle meat filling is incredible in any filled pasta that is smaller (it might be a bit much in larger shells, but I may need to try this in manicotti!)
We serve this with a simple cream sauce with herb oil as it is a subtle filling that would be overpowered with anything with an intense flavor profile.
Now, a few quick notes about the different filled pasta’s I was able to make with this:
Ravioli is quite straight forward if you have a mold to help speed up the shaping, filling and sealing. It is one sheet of pasta below, filling in the wells and then a sheet on top. You can use anywhere from 1 tsp to 1 tbsp of filling, depending on how large you make your ravioli. Most molds have crimp edge as part of their design which allows you to just use a roller to seal. Without a mold, you can also make incredible ravioli, the process is just a bit more hands on. I will make a detailed post on the two methods once I launch my new venture – PASTA MOMMY!
Tortellini (and tortelloni when they are large) are a bit trickier to craft, but not impossible once you get the hang of it. Most tortellini are created on triangular cuts of a sheet of pasta with a PEA SIZED nugget of filling. You can also make them from circular cuts of pasta, but these closer resemble capelletti (little hats) but with a slightly different shape from how they are wrapped. Again, these will have their own post on shaping.
Mezzelune are little half moons and are one of the easiest filled pastas to create in my opinion. Super simple, hands on and with minimal tools (you can cut the rounds with a water glass if you don’t have a circular cutter for biscuits, etc.) These have anywhere from 1/2tsp to 1 tsp of filling in them.
Agnolotti are one of my NEW favorites to create… they are relatively small, but just like cavatelli, these are AMAZING little nuggets to create with the scraps of the end of your ravioli making spree! Similar to tortellini, this have a pea sized dollop of filling inside.
For a quick reference to the amount of pasta made from this filling recipe:
(roughly 4-5 meals in the freezer for my hubby and I out of one 1/2 batch of dough and this one filling.)
I hope you enjoy this filling, both easy and mild, it is a wonderful way to make a subtle pasta dish spectacular!