For The Best Homemade Ravioli, Focus On Filling Flavors

Ravioli is one of the easiest and most rewarding pastas to make from scratch, and the possibilities of what you could create are practically endless. You may be confined to the rule that ravioli must be a pocket of pasta stuffed with some kind of filling, but the insides are what can make ravioli truly special.

Ravioli filling serves two purposes. First, it's a given that it needs to literally fill the ravioli. You want the pasta dough to be stuffed tight in order to reduce air pockets and achieve the right balance of dough to filling. Second, the filling needs to be substantial and hearty enough to satisfy your palate. That's what comfort food is all about, right?

This may sound heretical to some, but feel free to extend beyond the traditional notion of ravioli. Of course, the classic combo of spinach and ricotta is an amazing filling that sets the standard for all others; however, you shouldn't be confined by this. There is a whole world of creative and interesting flavors from which to draw upon and make the best ravioli filling you can imagine.

Filling flavors make for a satisfying meal

If you need inspiration for what to do with your ravioli fillings, just look to Italy. In Sicily, for instance, ravioli is filled with a mixture of fish — like bream or sea bass — and boiled potatoes. Up in the Dolomites, the half-moon-shaped casunzièi ravioli are filled with mashed beetroot, salt, and potatoes. For a mix of sweet and savory, the ravioli alla Mantovana is filled with pumpkin pulp, mustard, Parmigiano Reggiano, and amaretti biscuits.

The thing about those specific ravioli is that all the fillings are made with ingredients that thrive in abundance in their respective regions, and this can easily be applied to where you live. If you live on the coast, incorporate your favorite fish or seaweed for an extra umami kick. For someone who lives in a more tropical climate, add some lemon juice or orange zest to your ravioli filling for a brighter flavor. You could also grind up any meat of choice, from turkey to chicken or pork, for a heavier bite. And to make your pasta richer and heartier in taste and texture, you can fill your ravioli with whole egg yolks and ricotta

So, don't feel confined by tradition when it comes to ravioli. If you can come up with a recipe that is completely your own, do it. As long as the filling is thick enough to fill pasta and bellies, you really cannot go wrong.