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Old 10-29-2004, 10:43 AM   #1
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Three basic ravioli stuffings

1. Of course, you can stuff ravioli with anything. There are simillar confections in
China, Russia, and even the middle east which naturally use different ingredients.
They are called wontons, dumplings, piroshki, pirogi, varenyky, borek. Sometimes
they use ingredients that are the same the world over. They may be simmered,
steamed, fried or baked. They are small pastries whose main purpose is to act as a
savoury appetiser and filler before the main dish.

I shall deal here with the Italian variety, but the general principles apply to all.

2. The Basic Rules

(a) Most stuffings, apart from solely cheese based ones, are pre cooked. Aim to have
approximately the same weight of stuffing as your made pasta. (But after 35 years of
making them, I hardly ever get it just right).

(b) UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES WHATSOEVER be tempted to use up your
leftovers by making ravioli out of them. If you can not be bothered to make the
stuffing, do not bother to make ravioli. Your mouth, and quite possibly your stomach
will thank you for it.

3. Assuming you are making half a pound of pasta up into ravioli (tortellini, capelleti,

Spinach and Ricotta stuffing

3-4 ounces of ricotta (or cream cheese if you can afford the cholesterol)

enough fresh spinach (or frozen if unavailable, to make up about 3-4 ounces when
cooked), approximately equal proportions

1-2 ounces grated parmesan

grated nutemg

Cook spinach with a little butter and sea salt with just the water that clings on the
leaves after washing. Allow to cool, and mix into the ricotta. Add some parmesan,
and grated nutmeg and pepper to taste. Only add addirional salt at the end if you need
to (parmesan is quite salty).

When it is to your taste, the stuffing is ready. Proceed as per normal.

Casonsei de Bergamo

Quick and simple to prepare, and remarkably good. Use only fresh ingredients.

6-7 oz minced beef

1-2 oz grated parmesan

clove or two of garlic

1-2 tabs fresh milled parsley

fresh breadcrumbs (one slice)

salt, pepper, nutmeg

Brown the beef in butter, add chopped garlic and fry but DO NOT LET THE
GARLIC BROWN or it will become bitter and spoil the whole dish. Allow to cool,
mix in some breadcumbs, cheese, parsley, salt pepper and grated nutmeg. Adjust all
the proportions to taste. You can add a beaten egg here if you think it necessary, but I
never do.

Stuff away.

Tortellini de Bologna

Once you can produce the above stuffings cleanly and confidently, you can proceed to
this one. It is not basic to do, but it IS basic in terms of Italian taste because in type it
is the one most widely served internationally, if not in Italy.

2 ounces each of minced beef and minced pork and minced chicken/turkey, slice of
mortadela, 1-2 slices of salami, rasher of streaky (or Italian coppa), slice of ham or
proscuito, or Parma, all mixed and minced together (yes, you will have to do it
yourself). Fry gently in butter until all the meats are cooked and lightly browned. You
may find it easier to do this in stages starting with the pork, then beef, and so on
leaving the sausage meats to last. Deglaze with a little marsala.

Allow to cool somewhat, and add grated parmesan, nutmeg, pepper and salt if
necessary. If it is not fine enough MINCE IT ALL AGAIN to produce a very fine,
nearly smooth forcemeat. If too oily, add a LITTLE bread crumb or rusk.

Stuff away.

This mixture varies somewhat even in Bologna, and many northern cities have
different versions of their own, which you can investigate later.

4. Serving

The Bolognese, in typical fashion, will serve these delectable treats smothered in a
second rich and different meat sauce, and at the pinacle of overpowering richness, in
a rich cream enhaced veloute sauce as a deep dish pie covered with a butter puff
pastry. The contrast of the different types of paste in texture and richness (pasta and
puff pastry) combined with the complex meat mixture is delectable and quite

However, the consumption of this particular confection is widely believed to cause
permanent heart damage, shorten lifespan by 7 days per serving, and in some cases
cause long term adverse psychological effects. Some people become addicted to it
(but only for a short while). Recreational use is strongly discouraged.

Outside of Bologna, in all other cases such treatment of your ravioli is an admission
of defeat. The cuisine lies INSIDE the package. The outside should be kept simple so
as not to detract from it. SO............


1. In brodo., ie beef or chicken consome.

Simmer the ravioli in WATER until partly cooked, drain and finish off in the
consome. You will probably not need to add much , if any salt because the consome
will be salted/salty. IF you do not simmer them seperately first, the consome will
become cloudy from the flour starch released from the ravioli and taste of pasta
cooking water instead of consome.

Serve hot with grated parmesan to go over.

2. Ascuitta (lit “dry”)

Simmered in salted water, drained, seved with melted butter and parmesan. Probably
the best ever for good ravioli.

3. Ala crema
As 2 with the addition of a little warm cream.


In most cases those who need to reduce cholesterol intake and or sugar can make the
following substitutions:

1. Olive oil, olive spread for butter

2. Ricotta or fat reduced cream cheese (15%) for cream cheese, and sometimes

3. 10% light cream for cream.

4. Splenda or ground sultanas for sugar.

Finally, I have been asked about freeforming various shapes. If you want I can post it
here. Otherwise I will address the requestee only.

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Old 10-29-2004, 11:54 AM   #2
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Location: USA,Texas
Posts: 1,871
Darkstream! Again, I owe you some thanks here, this time for reading my mind with these fillings! Spinach and riccota is one of my top favorites, although I have many in development. Actually, I think the Spinach-Riccota filling would be perfect for tonight!

I've always used an egg in mine and note the absence in your recipe. Hmmm... I'm going to follow yours implicity and see what difference is revealed.

The Tortellini de Bologna does, indeed, sound adictive!!! (How funny!) I've never imagined such a dish before covered in puff pastry. Wow! I absolutely must try to make this soon...when I have the tortellini down!!

As a side-note response to something else you mentioned here, I tend to gravitate to a cream-based sauce, but I most tend to enjoy ravioli served simply with a browned butter sauce, where the filling, itself, takes center stage.

What wonderful information. Thank you for continuing the "saga"!!!

And, let there be no doubt here, I very much wish you would post your instructions on freeforming shapes (could you start with tortellini??), as well as any dough recipe alterations or tips that you have discovered helpful along the way!

These are days like many where I wish I had a fine Italian grandmother to teach me these things!!! If you don't mind the role, per se, I sure would appreciate your stepping in here!!!!!
Pain is inevitable. Suffering is Optional.
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