Fresh Pasta: Ricotta Ravioli in a San Marzano Sauce

With San Marzano tomato sauce.

This is a favorite of mine. My mother made the best big fat tender ravioli stuffed with creamy ricotta and mozzarella. My brother ate 13 one Sunday afternoon dinner! I could do maybe 4. The filling is really simple and quick to make. Depending on their size you should get about 20 ravioli. If you want fewer ravioli use 1 pound of ricotta not 2, and 1 egg not 2, plus the other ingredients as listed. (I used 1-pound of ricotta and 1 egg in the video.)

San Marzano Tomato Sauce

Make the San Marzano sauce.

Fresh Pasta Dough

Fresh pasta varies greatly from the Tuscan pasta pici made with just flour and water to tajarin a rich, golden pasta with a half-dozen egg yolks or more.

This is a very versatile fresh pasta dough. It’s the one I use for lasagna, ravioli, tortelloni and other stuffed pastas. You can cut into tagliatelle. fettucine or pappardelle too.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup EVOO
  • 3 Tablespoons water

Cooking Directions

  1. Put the flour in a large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl beat the eggs then beat in the EVOO and water to make a smooth mixture. Add to flour.
  3. With a fork work the egg mixture into the flour until it begins to form moistened clumps.
  4. Gather the clumps together with your hands to form a cohesive ball of dough.
  5. Knead the dough right in the bowl collecting anything stuck to the sides of the bowl.
  6. Turn out the dough onto a lightly-floured board and knead for a minute or two until it’s shiny smooth with a soft interior.
  7. Form the dough into a disc and wrap tightly with plastic wrap.
  8. Let rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

(You can make the dough in a food processor. Use the cutting blade. Add the flour to the bowl and pulse a couple of times to aerate.. With the processor on drizzle in the egg mixture. Run the processor until a dough ball forms around the blade about 30 seconds. Then turn the dough out on a floured board and knead as above.)

Cut the dough ball into 4 pieces. Form each into a rectangle. Set the pasta machine to the widest roller setting. Pass each dough piece through a pasta machine catching the dough as it passes through the rollers. Fold each piece in thirds. Pass it through the rollers again. Reduce the setting 2 notches and put the strips through the rollers. If the sheets get too long cut them in half. Repeat until you get to the most narrow roller setting. You want to end up with long sheets of pasta about the width of the rollers. Lay the strips out on a well-floured baking sheet or kitchen towel cover with a moist kitchen towel and set aside. If you don’t have a pasta machine use a rolling pin. Roll out each piece of dough until it is about 20 inches long and about 5 inches wide. Lay the strips out as above.

Fill a large pot with water and add a tablespoon of sea salt and a tablespoon of EVOO. Bring to a full boil.

Ricotta Filling

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds whole milk ricotta drained well
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella diced into 1/4 inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino
  • 10 springs flat Italian parsley roughly chopped
  • Two extra large eggs beaten well
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Put the cheeses and parsley in a large bowl.
  2. Mix in the beaten egg. (The mixture should be smooth. If it’s dry or lumpy mix in another beaten egg.
  3. Add sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste and mix well.

To Make the Ravioli

  1. Lightly flour your work surface and lay out a pasta strip.
  2. Put a tablespoon of the ricotta mixture just below the middle of  the strip and about an inch from the edge of the strip closest to you.
  3. Put another tablespoon of the ricotta mixture about 2 inches (the width of 2 fingers) from the last mound.
  4. Keep adding another tablespoon of the ricotta mixture at equal intervals until you reach the end of the pasta strip.
  5. Wet your finger in a bowl of water and wet the edges of the pasta strip and wet the middle of each ricotta mixture mound from edge to edge. The water will help seal the ravioli.
  6. Fold the upper part of the pasta strip over the side that has the ricotta mixture. Press the 2 edges together tightly and press down between the mounds forming the ravioli. You should have a one inch unfilled pasta rim all around the mound of ricotta filling.
  7. Cut down the middle of the space between the ravioli using a cookie cutter or sharp knife.
  8. Press the edges of the ravioli with you fingertips to make sure no air is inside and they are tightly sealed.
  9. With the tines of a fork press down of the rim of the ravioli. These tine indentations will help seal the ravioli.
  10. Lay the ravioli out on a well-floured cookie sheet or kitchen towel.
  11. Put the tomato sauce in a large flat pan and heat.
  12. Drop the ravioli into the boiling water. They will soon float to the top of the water. When they all float to the top boil for another 30 seconds. I taste one for doneness to make sure they’re fully cooked.
  13. Put the ravioli into the sauce pan and generously coat each one. Shut off the flame.
  14. Sprinkle on the Pecorino and drizzle with EVOO.
  15. Serve immediately.

22 Replies to “Fresh Pasta: Ricotta Ravioli in a San Marzano Sauce”

  1. Ciao Gianni!

    We will try this on the weekend, my dad was an Italian chef, the restaurant in Chicago was closed on Sunday so he could make the ravioli for the week. I went with him on Sundays after church, he made meat ravioli, we spent hours there (your video brought back some memories) sadly my dad passed away when I was 7 years old, so no recipes or Italian lessons were passed on. I will try to relive my childhood making this ravioli, 44 years later!

    1. Ciao Giuseppe.

      Thanks for sharing your memories of your Dad and his ravioli. I hope my recipe works well for you.

      Buon appetito!

      –Gianni

  2. Hi Gianni!

    We used to make ravioli in Jersey but since moving South – well, I haven’t. But… I am going to make fresh mozzarella for the first time and decided to make them again – and I will use your recipe. It was a great video. Thank you for a wonderful site.

  3. Oh Gianni.. Joey G. from Brooklyn here. The old lady is out working today and I’m gonna surprise her tonight with your…I mean MY.. homemade ravioli and old-style gravy. A little bottle of vino on the side and who knows…I just might get lucky. I’m just a few years younger than you and oh how good it is to hear you speak in the old vernacular. I am a second generation Italian-American who grew up in the same Brownstone house with my Grandma, Grandpa, Aunts and Uncles in downtown Brooklyn. I miss the old days and the old ways….early Sunday meals after Mass…the vibrant language…the scent of garlic and spice that permeated the house when great old style cooking was occurring…opera blasting from the living room -ok I wasn’t crazy about that but the older i get the better it was- …the non stop fights – I mean discussions…. My kids? Ming..they barely carry a hint of our heritage and ways. Anyhow, thanks for the score…I’ll let you know how things shake out.

    1. …one day later… i would say the dinner was a success! I must admit though…filling the ravioli and folding the pasta just right was a challenge. It is an art and not a science that’s for sure. I learned some lessons that I’ll apply next time. But the taste….jeez….it was outstanding! The gravy was a killer…simple…robust…flavorful. How did I make out otherwise you ask? Oh, Gianni!!!….a Brooklyn boy never kisses and tells…I will tell you however that i got a great night’s sleep. Keep the recipes coming cuz.

      1. Ciao Joe. I wouldn’t pry for any details beyond the kitchen. I’m pleased the ravioli and gravy worked well. Make the ravioli a couple of more times and you’ll be an expert!

  4. Gianni,

    What happens if I’m making, like, 250 ravioli and they’re going to be sitting out for a while before I boil them? Can they sit out for a few hours before I toss them in? Can I cover them with a cloth or something?

    Please advise.

    1. Wow, you’re energetic, 250 ravioli! The moisture from the filling will make the ravioli “skin” wet and gummy if you just let them sit around for a couple of hours. A couple of suggestions for you. Put the ravioli on a well-floured surface or well-floured dish towels. This will help absorb any excess liquid and maintain the integrity of the ravioli. A better solution is to put the ravioli on well-floured trays and put them in the freezer. As they harden you can transfer them to plastic bags as you go. Just keep them in the freezer until you put them in the boiling water. Whichever technique you use make sure the ravioli are not touching or they may stick together.

    1. Ciao Patsy.

      Yes, this is my version of my mother’s summer marinara sauce. She’d make it on those hot summer days in Jersey when I was a kid. The sauce was done in the time it took to boil the water and cook the pasta. She was on and off the stove in a jiffy to minimize the heat she added to the kitchen, very important in those days without air conditioning. This was one of her quick summer sauces and she only made this one when basil was abundant. She’d serve this light sauce with ziti or mezzaziti, ditali or other small tubular pasta. I like it on long fresh pasta too.

  5. I made this the other night with the Roman style artichokes. Absolutely delicious, what a meal we had! Thank you again Gianni!

  6. We had fresh pasta with San Marzano sauce last night.All I can say is it was the best most tasty meal I have had in a long time. My family loved it and the only problem we had ,there wasnt enough, everyone wanted more and I ran out. It was so authentic tasteing,I would have sworn I was in an Italian kitchen with someones gramma or gramps makeing us a homemade meal. I can not rave enough about the taste of this meal. It was my first experience making my own pasta and stuffing the pasta myself. watching your video made it so easy. Thank you for the meal. It will be the first recipe, page 1 in my meal book and will be made often. Very often……. Thank You Gianni.

    1. Brava Trish. So happy that the ravioli turned out well. Wow, you ran out of ravioli. That was my mother’s worst fear–to run out of something on the table before everyone had their fill. I hope your family understood. I’m proud to be the first recipe in your meal book.

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