Ravioli, or raviolo in Italian, are one of the most popular types of stuffed pasta in Italian cuisine. And very well known outside its borders. It consists of a stuffed pasta, generally folded in a square shape, which is usually accompanied by different sauces. If you want to know more about ravioli, join us to discover its origin and history, and many curiosities about this food.
This word comes from the Genoese, raviolo, meaning folded, which already gives us a clue as to its shape.
What is ravioli?
Although most of you probably already know this dish, many of you may not know what ravioli is. As we mentioned, it is a very traditional dish of Italian gastronomy, made of pasta. More specifically, it is stuffed pasta.
This pasta is made with a lot of water and less egg than other pasta.
It is very common to find them in large supermarkets due to the enormous fame they have acquired also outside Italy. That is why we can find them fresh or frozen.
You may be interested in: Homemade Tortellini Recipe, learn how to make this 100% homemade stuffed pasta, including the pasta.
They also have their own day on the calendar
Ravioli Day is celebrated every March 20, and has its origins in the United States, and, although we are not sure how it started, it is a very popular day in the United States to honor one of their favorite pastas.
And, as I’m sure you already know, in the United States they love to mark a special day for all kinds of food. This is where most gastronomic anniversaries originate.
Did you know that ravioli arrived in the United States in a can? They were brought by the Italian army during the First World War; and in 1930 they gained great popularity thanks to Chef Boyardee.
If you also want to celebrate Ravioli Day, a good way to do it is to get together with family and friends and enjoy a good plate of homemade ravioli. We will see how to prepare them later on. Besides, they have so many fillings and sauces that you won’t know which one to choose.
How are Ravioli made?
Although, as we said, you can find them already made in many supermarkets, either fresh or frozen; if you have time, it is best to make them homemade. You will make the difference and you will enjoy a spectacular authentic ravioli.
To prepare good ravioli, the most important thing is the dough. You will see that we need very few ingredients and a good kneading. Prepare the filling you like the most before starting the dough.
The traditional way to make them is to spread a rectangular sheet of dough on a ready surface, place the filling in a regular way and cover it again with another sheet of dough. Once ready, the dough is rolled with a rotating toothed wheel. In this way, we will obtain in a moment a large quantity of individual ravioli.
Let’s see how to make dough for ravioli
How to make ravioli dough
- 500 g Flour
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tsp Olive oil
- On a smooth and clean surface, where we are going to work the dough, we put the flour. Shape it into a volcano (i.e., making a hole in the middle), add the egg yolks, the oil and 4 tablespoons of water. Add a pinch of salt.
- With your hands, we are going to start mixing all the ingredients. Once they are well mixed we start to knead.
- We will add water, very little by little, (spoonful by spoonful) if we notice the dough is too dry. Knead for about 15 minutes until you get an elastic and consistent dough that does not stick to your fingers.
- Put the dough in a large bowl, where there is plenty of room, and let it rest for 20 minutes, covering it with a clean kitchen towel.
- After that time, we put our dough back on the work surface and cut it into two equal parts with a very sharp knife or a dough cutter. Never stretch the dough to tear off parts of it.
- Now, with a rolling pin, we have to get two very thin sheets of dough. Try to make them of the same shape, as we will put one on top of the other to make the ravioli.
- When we have them ready, in one of the sheets of dough that we have prepared, we will put the filling you have chosen, teaspoon by teaspoon (do not fill too much because they must be small). And we will do it following an order. Leaving the same space between filling and filling.
- Put the other sheet of dough on top of the fillings, and press with your fingers around the fillings, to join both doughs. Now, with a toothed wheel (you can use a pizza cutter) or a knife, cut the dough into small squares, in the parts where there are no fillings.
- Again, press the edges of each ravioli well, so that the filling does not come out, and sprinkle a little flour over them.
- We put a large pot with plenty of water, bring to boil and, when it starts to boil, we add our ravioli delicately. Cook for about 10 minutes, drain and serve with our favorite sauce.
When and where did this food come from? History of Ravioli
The exact origin of ravioli is lost between history and legend. However, if there is one thing that many Italian historians agree on, it is that it originated in Liguria, more specifically in Gavi Ligure.
The first written references to ravioli date back to the 12th century, and one of its first fillings was herbs from the countryside. One of the most popular for the ravioli filling was borage. An ingredient that is nowadays totally discouraged as it has harmful effects for the organism.
However, we can go back a little further in history to Marcus Gaviu Apicius, a Roman cook who invented a recipe called Patinam apicianam sic facies, or Apicius pie, a meal very similar to ravioli. Although it is not entirely clear that this food was the precursor of ravioli, it could be the one that inspired this delicious preparation.
What we do know is that ravioli is the oldest stuffed pasta in history. It was the only known stuffed pasta between the 12th and 13th centuries.
And you, do you dare to try some delicious ravioli at home? The best thing about this pasta is its enormous versatility, as it admits a multitude of different fillings. As well as sauces. We can accompany our ravioli with any sauce we can think of.
If you liked it, remember to leave us your comments, ideas, opinions… We love to read them! You can also follow us on social networks to keep up to date with all our publications. You can find us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.