All About Ravioli


All About Ravioli

(Source: Salute Trattoria Italiana)

There are certain truths that simply cannot be disputed in life. One of these is certainly the fact that ravioli is delicious. These portions of pasta dough stuffed with cheese or other fillings are a simple yet perfect food that taste like love.

At Salute Trattoria Italiana, a Summerlin restaurant, we are proud to count several ravioli dishes among our extensive and authentic pasta menu offerings. To help you work up an appetite to try them, we’ve assembled some of our favorite facts, history, and trivia on ravioli, one of the world’s most perfect foods.

What is ravioli? Ravioli is the plural term (singular term: raviolo) used to refer to a type of pasta-dumpling composed of thin layers of pasta dough filled with any number of different fillings; commonly, cheese, vegetables, and/or meat. Cooked in the same manner as pasta, first boiled in water and then strained, they’re often served in a sauce or broth, and are considered a traditional Italian food.

ravioli

(Source: Salute Trattoria Italiana Facebook Page)

Where do ravioli come from? Ravioli is actually centuries old! Its first known mentions date way back to the 14th century, both in the personal correspondence of a merchant named Francesco di Marco Datini, and in a manuscript entitled Libro per Cuoco, which includes a recipe for ravioli, including a filling of herbs and cheese, served with a broth and spices. Clearly, this is a food with some staying power!

How is it made? While ravioli might seem like some work of kitchen sorcery, its construction is actually pretty simple. Like pasta, ravioli is placed in boiling water to cook it; this is important to know because it explains some of the methods used to make this filled pasta.

Because the brief cooking in boiling water isn’t sufficient to cook the fillings, they will typically be prepared and precooked before being used to fill the dough. Often, egg will be employed as a binding agent for the fillings, so that it stays together and so that the fillings don’t ooze too much once the pasta is cut into.

Meantime, the dough is rolled into sheets. The first sheet is placed flat on a work surface. Then, small spoonfuls of the filling are placed in regular intervals on the dough, with space all around. A second sheet of thinly rolled dough is gently placed on top, and a special ravioli rolling pin is used to press the dough together and sandwich the filling inside in small pockets of dough. Once the dough is sealed together, the dough can be cut into individual portions and cooked. This procedure can be done by hand, or there are special machines which can assist with the process.

It’s also worth mentioning that ravioli can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. While probably the most famous and commonly seen form is in rectangles or squares, it’s not out of the ordinary to see circular, semi-circular (also called mezzelune, or half-moon) or other shaped ravioli.

ravioli

(Source: Salute Trattoria Italiana Facebook Page)

What are some traditional ravioli fillings?

What constitutes a traditional ravioli filling depends on what region you hail from. For instance, in Rome, a traditional filling might include ricotta, spinach, and spices. In Sardinia, on the other hand, ravioli might more likely be filled with ricotta scented with lemon rind. These days, as creative chefs embrace making their own ravioli, the sky’s the limit in terms of filling options.

On the Salute menu, we employ a mix of tradition and innovation with our fillings. For something different, try our out-of-this-world truffle ravioli, which is made with ricotta and truffle sottocenere agnolotti, foie gras-cognac crema, and shaved parmigiano. If you’re craving something cozy, you might enjoy our tortelli di zucca, which includes ravioli, butternut squash, sage brown butter, grated parmigiano. Or maybe you’re to embrace some serious flavor, in which case you’ll love our burrata ravioli, which is made with ricotta and parmigiano reggiano, crushed tomato pomarola, and served with basil pesto.

What’s the difference between ravioli and pierogi?

If you’ve ever seen the Eastern European specialty known as pierogi, you’ve probably noticed that they bear more than a passing resemblance to ravioli. So what’s the difference?

Typically, it’s the filling and the serving style that differs. Where ravioli are typically filled with cheese, vegetables or meat, pierogi are commonly filled with a potato-based filling. Where ravioli are typically served in a sauce or broth, you’d be more likely to see pierogi being served with a dollop of sour cream, a brushing of butter, or topped with onions.

Ultimately, ravioli and pierogi are variations on the same theme. You could say that they are like international cousins, with a few cultural variances.

ravioli

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Interesting ravioli facts and trivia

Looking for some banter for your next pasta party? Look no further. Here’s some fascinating fodder about ravioli!

Did you know that there is a National Ravioli Day? It occurs every year on March 20th, although informally, we like to celebrate it every day.

Should you find yourself in St. Louis, you may encounter an unusual regional ravioli variation called toasted ravioli. Basically, this dish is composed of ravioli which has been deep-fried. It’s often served as an appetizer, alongside marinara sauce for dipping. Would you eat it?

According to Guinness World Records, the longest ravioli ever made measured 96 feet, 1 inch, and was prepared in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 2013.

We owe a debt to Chef Boyardee for bringing ravioli to the masses. It was his canned ravioli that is credited with bringing this classic dish to the masses in the United States. While we prefer fresh ravioli to canned, we do thank the Chef for acting as an ambassador for this delicious food!

Ravioli is an enduring classic, and with good reason. It’s simple, it can be prepared in a myriad of ways, and it’s a deeply comforting classic food. Undoubtedly you’ll enjoy the offerings (paired with a nice glass of wine or a cocktail, please!) at Salute Trattoria Italiana.

What’s your favorite type of ravioli?