Different types of ravioli and other filled pasta
|Place of origin||Italy|
|Main ingredient(s)||Flour, eggs, water|
Ravioli (plural; singular: raviolo) are a traditional type of Italian cuisine. They are a type of filled pasta (dumpling), and are composed of a filling sealed between two layers of thin egg pasta dough and are served either in broth or with a pasta sauce. Ravioli are commonly square, though other shapes are well known, including circular or semi-circular (mezzelune). Other related filled pastas include the ring-shapped tortellini and the larger tortelloni.
The earliest mention of ravioli appears in the writings of Francesco di Marco, a merchant of Prato in the 14th century. In Venice, the mid-14th-century manuscript Libro per cuoco offers ravioli of green herbs blanched and minced, mixed with beaten egg and fresh cheese, simmered in broth, a recipe that would be familiar today save for its medieval powdering of "sweet and strong spices". In Tuscany, some of the earliest mentions of the dish come from the personal letters of Francesco di Marco Datini, a merchant of Prato in the 14th century. In Rome, ravioli were already well-known when Bartolomeo Scappi served them with boiled chicken to the papal conclave of 1549.
Ravioli were already known in 14th century England, appearing in the Anglo-Norman vellum manuscript Forme of Cury under the name of rauioles. Sicilian ravioli and Malta's ravjul may thus be older than North Italian ones. Maltese ravjul are stuffed with rikotta, the locally produced sheep's-milk ricotta, or with gbejna, the traditional fresh sheep's-milk cheese.
Ravioli are traditionally made at home. The filling varies according to the area where they are prepared. In Rome and Latium the filling is made with ricotta (Cheese), spinach, nutmeg, and black pepper. In Sardinia ravioli are filled with ricotta and grated lemon rind.
Modern ravioli is also mass-produced by machine.
Around the world
"Fresh" packed ravioli have, in Europe and the USA, several weeks of shelf life. Tinned ravioli was pioneered by the Italian Army in the First World War and was popularised by Heinz and Buitoni in the UK and Europe, and Chef Boyardee in the USA. This type of ravioli is filled with either beef or processed cheese and served in a tomato, tomato-meat, or tomato-cheese sauce. Toasted ravioli, ravioli that have been breaded and deep fried, developed in St. Louis, Missouri, and is a popular appetizer or snack food.
Ravioli are commonly encountered in the cooking of Nice, the broader Côte d'Azur, and the surrounding regions in the south of France. The contents of these vary enormously, but most idiosyncratic to the region is the use of leftover daube meat. Miniaturized ravioli, called "ravioles" locally, are a speciality of the Drôme department in the Rhône-Alpes region, particularly the commune of Romans-sur-Isère; these are frequently served au gratin.
In other cultures
Jewish cuisine has a similar dish called Kreplach, a pocket of meat or other filling, with an egg pasta based covering. It is simmered in chicken soup. In that method of preparation it appears to be the direct descendent or inspiration of the original dish, which was simmered in "broth". Claudia Roden argues it originated in the Venetian Ghetto at about the same time ravioli was developed, and in time became a mainstay of Jewish cuisine.
In India, a popular dish called gujiya is similar to ravioli however it is prepared sweet, with a filing of dry fruits, sugar and a mixture of sweet spices, then deep fried in vegetable oil. Different stuffings are used in different parts of India. The dish is a popular food prepared during festivals all over India. Also the Asian dish samosa is similar to ravioli and is stuffed with potato, meat, peas, or paneer, and often served with sweet and sour sauce.
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- Dickie Delizia, p. 55.
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- Madehow.com, How Products are Made, "Pasta".
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- Wolfert Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking, p. 176.
- Adamson, Melitta Weiss; ed. (2002) Regional Cuisines of Medieval Europe: A Book of Essays. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-92994-6.
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|Look up ravioli in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- How to make ravioli from scratch (video)
- Machine-made ravioli (video), commercial demonstration of machine producing different kinds of pasta, including ravioli