Ricotta ravioli takes me back to Milan. It’s a wonderful primo piatto (first course) or a meal on its own. It’s a simple yet elegant dish with great balance of delicate flavors. The creamy ricotta filling combined with the rich taste and aroma of the browned butter sage sauce is divine. I close my eyes every time I take my first bite. It’s a dish that makes me happy every time I eat it, which is why I make it often.
Since ricotta is the star ingredient, you need to make sure you use the freshest ricotta available; or better yet, make your own! I have previously provided a recipe for homemade ricotta (click here for homemade ricotta recipe) that can be made in 10 minutes (plus straining time). The ricotta can be made ahead of time and I assure you it’s worth the extra step since the flavor of the ravioli will be incomparable!
There are many shapes attributed to the “raviolo” (singular for “ravioli”). In fact, in certain regions of Italy, different shapes of stuffed pasta have different names: tortelli, tortellini, agnolotti, among many many others. However, depending on which filling and how the dough is cut, folded or shaped, it can have a different name- and in some instances a reason for a good argument!
Here I show you two easy ways to make the standard squared and round-shaped ravioli. The recipe for the ricotta filling is provided below.
After making the fresh pasta (click here for fresh pasta dough recipe); roll the dough into a long rectangular shape. Spoon some filling onto the bottom half (as shown below) leaving enough room in between each spoonful of filling for cutting and allowing a border around each filling mound. Either brush water all over the dough before you spoon the filling or brush the water just on top part, and/or around the filling to allow the dough to stick together well.
Carefully fold the top half of the dough over (use both hands, one at each end) and close the dough edges together. Remove any air pockets by gently pressing your fingers around the filling.
Use a ravioli cutter or a knife to cut in between the filling pockets. Place the ravioli on a floured surface and set aside. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. The edges do not have to be perfect as the dough will expand when cooked in water and it will be barely noticeable. You can cook it right away, store it in the fridge for 2-3 days (covered with a dishtowel), or freeze it for 2-3 months (click here for pasta freezing tips).
Round-Shaped Ravioli (or any other shape using a cutter of your choice)
After making the fresh pasta (click here for fresh pasta dough recipe); roll the dough into thin sheets and use a round cutter (or a glass/cup/mug) to cut individual pieces of dough for the ravioli.
Brush half of the rounds with water to allow the dough to stick together well.
Spoon some filling onto one piece and top it with another round piece of dough.
Press gently around the filling to make sure the dough closes all around.
Place the ravioli on a floured surface and set aside. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. You can cook it right away, store it in the fridge for 2-3 days (covered with a dishtowel), or freeze it for 2-3 months (click here for pasta freezing tips).
About this recipe
With this recipe I usually go by taste and don’t measure the ingredients for the ricotta filling, so the recipe I provide is an estimate. You can do the same or add any other ingredients you like. I will provide more ravioli fillings and combinations in later posts. Feel free to experiment with flavors and you will be amazed at how simple it is to create something spectacular with fresh ricotta and fresh pasta!
Yields: If using fresh pasta dough that serves 5-6 people (click here for recipe) can yield approx 30-50 ravioli depending on shape and size.
Prep time: 20-30 minutes to make ravioli (depending on shape and using pre-made pasta dough and ricotta)
Cook time: 5-10 min
- Fresh pasta dough (click here for recipe)
- Fresh ricotta (click here for recipe); approximately 2 cups (400-440 g)
- 2 TBL grated parmesan cheese
- Dash of grated nutmeg
- Salt and pepper to taste
Browned butter sage sauce:
- 4-5 TBL (55-70 g butter)
- Fresh sage leaves
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Dash of grated nutmeg (optional)
- Combine the ricotta, parmesan, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a bowl, set aside.
- Follow instructions above for making and filling the ravioli.
- Sauce: melt butter in large skillet with fresh sage leaves over medium heat. Add salt and pepper (and nutmeg) and allow the butter to turn slightly golden brown. The sauce is now ready, set aside.
- Boil water in a large pot.
- Note: I usually don’t add salt to my fresh pasta water since it has more flavor than dried pasta, and I already added salt to the dough.
- Carefully place the ravioli inside the pot (straight from the freezer if using frozen ravioli). Do not put too many ravioli in the water at once; cook them in batches for them not to stick together and for the water temperature not to drop. The ravioli are done when they float to the top (usually 3 minutes). Carefully remove them and place them in the skillet with the browned butter sage sauce over low heat to warm the sauce and combine the flavors.
Plate the ravioli with some sage leaves. Sprinkle some parmesan cheese if you would like. Serve hot. I am sure you will enjoy this dish as much as I do, and hope it takes you to Italy each time you savor it! Buon appetito!