While stories of the origins of pasta vary, it’s generally accepted that it dates back to ancient times, although some cite influences from Asian noodles for some types of pasta. One of our favorites, that you simply have to try on a culinary vacation in Italy? Ravioli, or “stuffed” pasta. In Italy, every region has their own special take on the dish (which you will discover on our Italy food tours), and, as such, it often reflects the seasonal foods of the area. The other thing that all the ravioli you will make (and taste) on our Italy cooking vacations have in common is that the pasta is often freshly made with flour, eggs, and water, and meat is rarely stuffed into the ravioli. Rather, meat is relegated to the side, while vegetables and cheeses often form the stuffing (or sometimes, seafood).
Along the Amalfi Coast, cheese is a popular ingredient in so many dishes, including Caprese Style Ravioli at our best selling Italy food tour, Mediterranean Cooking Experience. Think of it as a version of a Caprese salad, where mozzarella is once again the focus. (Although, in this ravioli recipe, you mix in some fresh ricotta too).
On our northern Italy culinary tours, you can find Piedmontese Ravioli, which sometimes go by the name of agnolotti. This Piedmontese stuffed pasta recipe is great any time during the growing season, because you can substitute any kind of seasonal vegetable you want. Or, head to the Dolomites to taste the unique casunziei ravioli, made with beets and poppyseeds!
Over in the coastal region of Puglia, seafood is a popular ingredient, which you’ll experience during our cooking vacations in Puglia, including A Culinary Adventure in Puglia. In one recipe typical of the region, the ravioli are stuffed with lobster, prawns, and sole fillet, and enjoyed in a delicious sauce made with prawns. It’s a unique, rich dish.
Of course, Tuscany too has its own spin on stuffed pasta, such as ravioli with artichoke sauce. As with many ravioli recipes throughout Italy — many beyond those mentioned here — the filling features seasonal vegetables, such as artichokes, making this dish best for the spring.
What is your favorite ravioli dish? Are you ready to learn to make them on an Italy cooking vacation?
By Liz Hall
Other dinner dish blog posts
France: Stuffed Lamb Shoulder
Greece: Hare Stifado
Italy (Sicily): Marsala Wine
Italy (Veneto): Risotto
Greece: Ladolemono Sauce
Italy (Lucca): Tortelli Lucchese
Italy (Puglia): Ran-Away Fish Soup