Dinner Dish: The Raviolis of Italy
While stories of the origins of pasta vary, it's generally accepted that it dates back to ancient times and evolved from Asian noodles, and that includes ravioli, or "stuffed" pasta. In Italy, every region has their own special take on the dish, and, as such, it often reflects the seasonal foods of the area. The other thing that all raviolis have in common, which you can discover during an Italy cooking vacation, is that its 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 instead (or sometimes, seafood).
Along the Amalfi Coast, cheese is a popular ingredient in so many dishes, including Chef Carmen's Caprese Style Ravioli at "Mediterranean Cooking Experience." Think of it as a version of a caprese salad, where mozzarella is once again the focus. (Although, in Carmen's ravioli recipe, she mixes in some fresh ricotta too).
Up north, there's a Piedmontese Ravioli, which sometimes goes 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.
Over in the coastal region of Puglia, seafood is a popular ingredient, which you'll learn during both of our cooking vacations in the area, "Discovering Puglia" and "A Culinary Adventure in Puglia." In one recipe typical of the region, the ravioli is 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 Chef Claudio's stuffed ravioli with artichoke sauce, which is also known as Ravioli Ripieni. 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?
By Liz Hall
"Dinner dish" is a blog series, where The International Kitchen discusses recipes and the history of particular regional foods. Have a food you want to learn more about? Contact us today.
Other dinner dish blog posts
Greece: Hare Stifado
Italy (Sicily): Marsala Wine
Italy (Veneto): Risotto
Greece: Ladolemono Sauce
Italy (Lucca): Tortelli Lucchese
Italy (Puglia): Ran-Away Fish Soup