Saturday, February 7, 2009

Ravioli - Traditional

Ed's introduction to ravioli was Chef-Boyardee from the can when cruising on Alised. My first memorable ravioli came from Biaggi's in Boston's North End. Biaggi's, made plain cheese ravioli and also sold fresh pasta cut to one's preferred width. Biaggi's along with all the cats that used to snooze in the shop window is long gone as is the original Trio's that followed some years later on Hanover Street. All time best ravioli was at a small trattoria in Venice; ravioli with a chestnut filling served in in a light cream sauce with shelled fresh peas. Hmmm think I will try to make something like that soon.... stay tuned.

Back in the 70's, inspired by Betsy who brought homemade ravioli when she and her husband came to sail on our first Condor, I made my own ravioli for a while. For the record, with thanks to Betsy, here is her recipe (serves 6).


Break up and place in a small skillet:

1/2 lb ground beef

Cook and drain [blot off as much fat as possible on paper towel(s) - see Scrambled Hamburg]. Mix with:

1/4 c well-drained chopped cooked spinach
1/4 c Parmesan cheese [grated]
2 T finely chopped parsley
1/3 c fine dry bread crumbs
1/3 finely chopped salami [don't think I've ever added this]
2 eggs slightly beaten
1/4 t salt
Pepper to taste


Sift into mixing bowl

2 c all-purpose flour

Make a well in the center and add:

3 egg yolks
3/4 t salt
3 T lukewarm water (more may be necessary)

Mix to a smooth dough [adding more water if necessary] that can be shaped into a ball. Knead on a well-floured board about 10 minutes. Brush with oil and let stand, covered about 10 minutes. Divide in half. Roll one half until paper thin. Turn dough frequently and gently stretch with fingertips. Cut into strips 2 inches wide. Place 1 tsp ["1 tsp" is what Betsy's notes say, she may mean 1 small teaspoonful; I haven't made this in a while but I think I used more than 1 level t] filling at 2 inch intervals. Brush around filling with beaten egg. Lay a second strip of dough over the filling. Press around the filling to seal. [I use a 2 inch square "ravioli maker/press" I bought in the North End.] Cut between mounds of filling. Cook a few at a time in boiling broth or water for 15 minutes. Repeat with second half of dough.

When ready to serve, heat up the ravioli in hot tomato sauce. In a medium to large pot combine:

1 onion, chopped
Several cloves of garlic that have been previously cooked in 1/2 T olive oil
2 [small] cans tomato paste
5 cans [from the tomato paste] of water
Flour to thicken if necessary
Salt, pepper, oregano and basil to taste

Simmer for 10 - 15 minutes before adding the ravioli.

Betsy adds, "Ravioli can be refrigerated overnight after cooking. Can also be frozen, but they loose a little in translation."

Anyway, I have not made ravioli in many years. I am occasionally tempted by some of the fresh ravioli at Whole Foods. For my current favorite recipe see: Sweet Potato and Pumpkin with Caramelized Onion Ravioli with Pecans, Pears and Cranberries.

Reviewed 5/30/15

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