Ravioli are a type of filled pasta composed of a filling sealed between two layers of thin pasta dough. The word ravioli is reminiscent of the Italian verb ravvolgere ("to wrap"). The original Ligurian recipe for ravioli, was stuffed pasta without any meat at all - mostly greens, and some cheese.
However, you may deviate from the traditional recipe and add filing of your choice.The filling may be meat-based (either red or poultry), fish-based, or cheese-based. Ravioli can be rectangular, triangular, half-moon or circular in shape. To make ravioli at home, make the pasta, using 2 3/4 cups of flour, 3 eggs, a pinch of salt, and a spoonful of water if necessary, following the instructions for home-made pasta, or buy several sheets of store-made fresh pasta. If you make the pasta at home, divide the dough into two pieces and roll one out into a sheet about as thin as a dime( called ravioli strips).
Today, ravioli are made in worldwide industrial lines supplied by Italian companies such as Arienti & Cattaneo, Ima, Ostoni, and Zamboni.
Boiled ravioli strips- Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Rinse flour off ravioli ( with a filing of your choice)or dust them off as best as you can (the amount you are going to eat, the rest can be frozen) and place in boiling water for 5-6 minutes, or until they float. Try not to wash them, washed pasta does not absorb the flavor of the sauce and can take away some of the nutritional value of the pasta. Remember to place your favorite marinara sauce in a small pot and heat until it's hot. Take ravioli out of boiling water with large slotted spoon and place on plates. Serve with your choice of sauce.
How to select
While you can buy commercially made fresh stuffed raviolis in the gourmet sections of many supermarkets (a few brand also sell ravili strips in cans), there are two advantages to making your own. First, you can choose what to put into your stuffing . Second, pastas stuffed with some of the more exotic fillings are practically impossible to find.
" The traditional Italian fillings include ricotta mixed with grated cheese and vegetables such as spinach, swiss chard, or nettles or they may be a puree made of potatoes, mushrooms, pumpkin, chestnut or artichokes.
" Ravioli are often topped with a red tomato-based sauce. More delicate fillings are often paired with sage and melted butter, or more rarely with pesto- or broth-based sauces.
" Stuffings for ravioli can be either meat, vegetable, or fish-based, and can include a creamy cheese such as ricotta
" Serve the ravioli as a first course with a few leaves of fresh sage, melted butter, and grated cheese, or, if you want something more substantial, e.g. meat sauce or walnut sauce.
How to store
Fresh" packed ravioli usually have seven weeks of shelf life.
" Ravioli strips are an excellent source of carbohydrate and if the fillings re chosen carefully can serve as a complete balanced meal in itself.
" Since the ravioli are boiled and not fried, they tend to be lower in calories and fats.
" A healthier option would be to prepare ravioli strips from durum wheat( instead of refined flour) , fill them up with greens and beans and serve them with tomato based sauces( avoid cream based sauces or broths).