Making homemade ravioli is an art, starting from the perfect rolling out of the sheet of pasta with a rolling pin – or with a machine specially designed for homemade pasta – to the filling and finally to the wrapping.
Making homemade pasta is a great way to make special occasions unique and to bring tasty and delicious dishes to the table.
It doesn’t take much time, just the right techniques.
And with a smooth and homogeneous dough, a thin sheet of pasta and a well-measured filling, you will have your homemade ravioli filled with your favorite stuffing.
Ricotta and spinach for example, but also with other vegetables, or even meat and fish, really tasty, ready to be seasoned as you like! For other fillings read the paragraph at the end of the recipe: “The Most Popular Ravioli Fillings in Italy.”
Let’s see how to make ravioli at home, step by step. Let’s start with ricotta and spinach ravioli seasoned with butter, sage and parmigiano, one of the most popular pasta fillings in Italy.
This is a medium difficulty recipe that you can make at home by following the step-by-step instructions we provide.
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- Prep Time: 1 H
- Cook Time: 15 Min
- Servings: 6
FOR THE DOUGH:
- 150 g (1 cup) of “00” soft wheat flour
- 150 g (1 cup) of durum wheat flour (semolina flour) + more for dusting
- 3 eggs of at least 70 g (2,5 oz) each. Fresh homemade pasta usually wants 1 egg x 100 g (3/4 cup) of flour
FOR THE FILLING:
- 300 g (~3/4 pound) of ricotta cheese
- 400 g (~1 pound) of spinach, cleaned
- 5-6 tablespoons of grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- 1 medium egg
- fine salt
- freshly ground black pepper
FOR THE SEASONING
- 70 g (2/3 stick) of butter
- fresh sage leaves
- 1 cup of grated Parmigiano cheese
Kitchen Tools and Equipment
To make ravioli at home you need a pasta machine or a wood rolling pin.
You can opt for the Imperia pasta maker machine to roll fresh pasta. This is maybe the most famous pasta maker machine in Italy. This kitchen tool is equipped with both a wood grip handle, to roll out the dough manually, and a two speed motor attachment.
How to Make Ravioli Filling
First make the filling. Now is the time to decide what kind of filling to put in your homemade ravioli. You can choose between the great classic meat ravioli or explore alternative recipes such as pumpkin or potato, cheese or herb ravioli.
The most famous are certainly “ravioli di magro”: what does this expression mean? Ravioli di magro are the most classic preparation of Italian cuisine. They are filled with the most classic of fillings: ricotta and spinach. Let’s see how to make them!
Step 1) – To make homemade ricotta and spinach ravioli, clean the spinach and boil them in a pot for about 10 minutes with only the water left over from washing. Drain and squeeze well with a fork or your hands to remove all the water.
Step 2) – Finely chop the spinach with kitchen scissors or a knife. The ricotta must also be very dry. To remove the water, put the ricotta in a sieve for a few minutes. Finally, mix the ricotta with the spinach.
Step 3) – Place them in a bowl and add the egg and grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
Step 4) – To finish, nutmeg to taste, salt and pepper. Mix until all the ingredients are combined.
Transfer everything to a pastry bag without a nozzle. If you do not have a pastry bag, you can use a teaspoon. Set aside in the refrigerator for the time being – we are about to prepare the homemade pasta dough.
See the paragraph at the end of the recipe for other filling options.
How to Make the Pasta Dough for Ravioli
Step 1) – Place the flours on a work surface, mix them and create a hole in the center with your hands. Break the eggs and place them into the hole.
PLEASE NOTE: For those who are making homemade pasta for the first time we recommend using a bowl because the job will be easier.
Step 2) – Continue mixing the flour into the eggs – at this point the dough will begin to form granules. Continue to work the ingredients with your fingers until you have incorporated all the flour into the eggs.
With your hands full, begin to work it. Pull it back and forth with the palm of your hand for a few minutes. Using a spatula, remove the dough from the board, scrape off any dough that has stuck to the surface, and start kneading again. Flour the surface if you see the dough sticking. Knead vigorously for at least 10 MINUTES.
Step 3) – Finally, form a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap to protect it from drafts, and let it rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes so that it loses elasticity and softens a bit.
How to Roll Out the Dough
Step 4) – Dust your work surface with some flour, using THE SEMOLINA (that’s important!). Take a lump of pasta dough the size of a tennis ball and press it out flat with the palms of your hands. Set the knob of the sheeter to level 1 and speed 2 on your pasta machine. Put the dough in the rollers and pass it the first time.
PLEASE NOTE: Keep the rest of the dough wrapped in cling film to keep it soft.
Step 5) – Now you need to make the folds. So, fold the dough in half, and then in half again.
Step 6) – Flour with semolina and pass it through the rollers again. Repeat 2 or 3 times (fold/pass – fold/pass), until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.
Step 7) – Remember to flour the pasta sheet with semolina flour whenever you feel it’s sticky. If the sheet of dough becomes too long, cut it in half.
Step 8) – Now turn the knob of the sheeter to position 2, again at speed 2, and repeat the steps, to further roll out the dough. DO NOT make any more folds and start thinning the dough by running it through the smooth roller at least a couple of times.
From position 2 move to position 3 and repeat. Roll the dough again between the rollers, gradually reducing the thickness until it’s about 1-2 mm; if the dough is too wet, you can lightly dust it with semolina.
The pasta to make ravioli should be about 1-2 millimeters thick. So stop at position 4 if you like thick pasta. If you prefer thinner pasta, roll it out to #5. NOT THINNER, OTHERWISE THE RAVIOLI WILL BREAK!
For more information, tricks and tips read our recipe How to Make Homemade Pasta
How to Make Ravioli
Step 1) – Place the pasta sheet on a floured surface (with semolina flour). Follow the same procedure to roll out the second sheet of dough.
Meanwhile, cover the first sheet with a tea towel or plastic wrap to keep it from drying out.
Place the filling on one of the pasta sheets, spacing the piles about 3 cm (1.20 inch) apart and leaving an outer edge of about 1.5 cm (~2/3 inch) free.
Step 2) – Moisten the sheet with water using a brush or sprayer. Then cover the piles of filling with the other sheet of pasta.
Step 3) – Gently press the edges with your fingers to seal the dough. Press lightly with your fingers around the filling to release any air. If bubbles form, you can pierce them with a toothpick.
Step 4) – Finally, trim the edges with a ravioli cutter wheel to make ravioli with an edge of about 1.5 cm (~2/3 inch).
Place the ricotta and spinach ravioli on a semolina-dusted surface. Now move on to read about the next steps: cooking and storing.
How Thick Should Ravioli Dough Be?
Many steps are necessary to reach the optimal thickness, always remembering to start from the widest thickness and gradually reduce it to the thinnest.
In short, you work in stages, frequently flouring the dough to prevent it from sticking. As soon as the sheets are ready, you must add the filling and finish the ravioli, otherwise the dough will dry out too much.
The thickness of the dough sheet depends on its final use, and in this case, since it is a filled pasta, it should be as thin as possible without breaking.
Usually the thickness of ravioli dough is around 1-2 millimeters, where with 1 mm (usually position 5 of the pasta machine) you have a rather thin dough, while with 2 mm (usually position 4) the dough is thicker.
It depends a lot on taste. And on experience. Let’s say that with the thicker dough you’re sure your ravioli won’t break and will turn out beautifully!
How to Roll out the Dough by Hand
Roll out the dough on the well-floured pastry board with the help of a rolling pin. The rule of thumb for rolling out a perfect sheet of egg pasta is to start from the center, running the rolling pin in all directions – that way you get an even sheet.
To turn it, roll it over the rolling pin and rotate it 90 degrees. Continue rolling it out until you reach the desired thickness.
Secrets to Perfectly Closed Ravioli
Once you have chosen the filling for the ravioli, arrange small hazelnut-sized piles evenly spaced.
- Moisten the sheet of pasta with water using a brush or sprayer. This will make the two sheets stick together perfectly.
- When you close them with your fingers, press the dough well all around, trying to let the air out. This way the ravioli, as they cook, will not risk puffing up and breaking, letting the filling escape.
- If bubbles form around the filling, pierce them with a toothpick. Then seal the hole with your fingers.
- Take care to leave some of the dough without filling from the edge (3 mm to 1.5 cm depending on the type of ravioli).
How to Make Ravioli with a Ravioli Mold
If made at home with a ravioli mold, they are quick to make because several are made at once.
- After creating the dough, following the above doses, stretch it into a thin sheet.
- Equip yourself with a ravioli mold, flour it and lay the sheet on top.
- Using a teaspoon, pour some of the filling into the center of the square, corresponding to each ravioli. Cover the mold with another sheet of pastry, making the edges fit tightly.
- Squish gently to let the air out and roll with a roller or rolling pin over the entire mold two or three times to make the overlapping sheets stick together more.
- Once ready, cook and season your ravioli.
- While you are at it, with the leftover cut-out sheet, form a ball to roll out again and create more ravioli or maltagliati.
We suggest a few TIPS to ensure that the ravioli have a perfect outcome.
- Remember to always flour the sheet of dough before rolling it out over the mold, otherwise it will stick and, upon pulling out the ravioli, it will break.
- The air then contained inside the filling should be carefully let out to prevent the filled dugh from opening during cooking.
- Once you have gone over the sheet with the rolling pin, quickly flip the mold over the floured pastry board to separate the squares, following the dotted mark, left by the mold itself.
What Shapes can Ravioli Come in?
Traditional ravioli are square, but under the same name we can find many different shapes.
For example, ravioli can also be round. Each variation corresponds to a different place and tradition of birth.
For example, Piedmontese agnolotti are square, but we can also find half-moon or triangle ravioli.
Starting with the size, we can have raviolini, smaller than normal squares usually 2 centimeters per side in shape.
We can also make candy or flower ravioli: again starting from the square, just give the edge a different shape.
The only caution: leave a few millimeters of dough unstuffed and tightly sealed, to prevent the filling from leaking out during cooking.
For the rest, go ahead and indulge yourself, even helping yourself with cookie cutters!
The Most Popular Ravioli Fillings in Italy
Ravioli, a classic Italian pasta, can be filled with a variety of ingredients to create a wide range of flavors. Some of the most famous and traditional ravioli fillings include
- RICOTTA AND SPINACH: This is perhaps the most classic ravioli filling. The creamy texture of ricotta cheese blends perfectly with the slight bitterness of spinach.
- BUTTERNUT SQUASH OR PUMPKIN: Often flavored with nutmeg and parmigiano, butternut squash fillings offer a sweet and nutty flavor.
- MEAT: Typically a mixture of ground beef, pork, or veal, often combined with Parmigiano cheese and sometimes prosciutto or mortadella.
- MUSHROOMS: A variety of mushrooms, such as porcini or cremini, often mixed with garlic, herbs, and cheese for a flavorful vegetarian filling.
- CHEESE: A blend of cheeses such as ricotta, parmigiano, and mozzarella can create a simple yet delicious filling.
- SEAFOOD: Fillings such as crab, lobster, or shrimp offer a luxurious option.
- TRUFFLE: A gourmet option that combines the earthy flavor of truffles with creamy cheeses.
- ARTICHOKES: Chopped artichokes mixed with cheese and herbs create a delicious vegetarian option.
Each of these fillings can be combined with a variety of sauces and preparations to create a wide range of delicious ravioli recipes.
How to Cook Ravioli
- To cook homemade ravioli, fill a large pot with plenty of cold water: put 4-6 liters of water for every kilo of pasta. The excess water will cause the water to boil quickly as soon as the ravioli are added, preventing them from sticking together and diluting the starch released, so that the final dish is not sticky.
- When the water begins to boil, salt to taste. Reduce the heat to low. Drop the ravioli a few at a time into the boiling water. Turn up the heat and bring the water to a boil. This is a trick to prevent the ravioli from breaking from too much hot water.
- The cooking time of the ravioli depends on the thickness of the dough. Keep in mind that the filling is usually already cooked, so what needs to be cooked is the dough.
- When the ravioli float, taste only the dough. If it is still undercooked, cook for 1-2 minutes more.
READ: How to Cook Fresh Pasta
How to Season Ravioli
Of course, you can season the ravioli with the seasoning of your choice. But you have to pay attention to the filling, which determines the taste of the ravioli sauce.
For the homemade ricotta and spinach ravioli recipe, we have chosen a simple seasoning that goes well with any type of filled pasta: butter and sage.
Drain the ravioli with a slotted spoon and put them in a bowl with your favorite sauce. Top the ricotta and spinach ravioli with melted butter flavored with fresh sage leaves. Serve with a generous grating of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
How to Store Ravioli
You can prepare ravioli in advance, even up to 15 days ahead of time, because YOU CAN FREEZE THEM!
Just arrange them without overlapping in large trays and freeze them in the coldest part of the freezer.
Then you can transfer them to special bags and store in the freezer until it’s time to cook them. It’s not necessary to thaw the ravioli before cooking. Just drop them still frozen into the boiling water and cook them.
If you plan to cook them within the week, arrange the ravioli in layers in an airtight container. Space them well apart and divide the layers with baking paper. Store them in the refrigerator until you are ready to make your ravioli recipe!