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What is your favorite stuffed pasta filling?

I'm including manicotti and crespelle in my definition of stuffed pasta because those too offer fillings that could work in ravioli. I made some large ravioli last week with some leftover short ribs, mushrooms and herbs that came out quite well. So what's your special filling or do you keep it classic?

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  1. I'm devoted to the classic ricotta filling. It's very nostalgic for me since I used to make ravioli with my grandmother at Easter. No recipe -- just by taste, and the taste (yes, I taste it with raw eggs and have my whole life, and I'm still here!) is something so wonderful. Now that's not to say I wouldn't enjoy those fabulous short ribs ravs, but when I crave 'em, I crave the classics.

    3 Replies
    1. re: roxlet

      Do you add spinach? How about Parmigiano or other cheeses? Ricotta filling is my fallback, but that means making a trip to the store since I don't keep ricotta in the frig. Must admit I also love butternut squash ravioli with brown butter and sage sauce; unfortunately my husband doesn't like butter sauce....sign.

      1. re: escondido123

        I make the filling with ricotta, Romano, eggs, parsley and sometimes some finely chopped mozzarella. I don't add spinach. It's really simple, but I could eat it by the spoonful!

        1. re: escondido123

          Butternut squash is good that way but I've also had good pumpkin and good sweet potato filled with that preparation. One of our favorite restaurants tops the SP version with ricotta salata and amarretti crumbs in addition to the sauce and sage.

      2. That sounds delicious!

        Roasted butternut squash with ricotta or goat's cheese and fresh sage, as you've mentioned also.

        Spring pea puree with creme fraiche.

        Roasted carrot puree with a spicy oil drizzled over it (i.e. annatto, chile, pumpkinseed).

        1. Manicotti is traditional... ricotta, egg, parmesan, parsley, basil, oregano, S & P... preferably with a creamy vodka sauce.

          Ravioli, though my favorite is ricotta alone, has wiggle room:
          wild mushroom minced and sauted with onions, garlic, and filled with ricotta and gruyere or jarlsberg, with light pesto or simple browned butter sauce
          or
          Spinach, mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, ricotta, basil, oregano, parmesan and mozzarella.

          1. My current favorite is a blend of ricotta, reggiano, chopped herbs, minced or ground veal, and chopped spinach. Pretty classic. I also like repurposing leftover braised meats and poultry, as you propose. One of my most popular offerings when catering has been a shredded-duck ravioli in a long-simmered ragu - 1 large rav. per person, as the pasta course before a not too rich dinner. Then there's the vegetarian option I worked out for a friend: chopped braised greens mixed with several rich cheeses, served with a very light fresh tomato sauce, best attempted in Summer when the good 'maters come out.

            1. Has anyone else done the ravioli with an egg yolk inside? It took me a couple tries to make just the right "bed" out of the ricotta to hold and protect the yolk, but cutting into that and having the yolk ooze out was pretty impressive served with roasted asparagus.

              5 Replies
              1. re: escondido123

                So impressed that you make these. I saw them made on a show recently and my mouth was watering. Do you serve them with a sauce?

                1. re: EM23

                  I think they recommended a brown butter sauce, but my husband doesn't like that so we did a drizzle of olive oil and squeeze of Meyer lemon--mixed with the yolk it made a nice sauce

                2. re: escondido123

                  Could you please tell us how you make these? I know the dough part, but the rest? This sounds divine.

                  1. re: cwitzke

                    I can give you a general idea. These are large, round ravioli--about 4 inches across--and I cut the dough into circles before putting them together, going to the last setting on the roller and then flattening the outside edge with the fingers. Have your eggs ready to separate. I used a standard filling of ricotta, Parmgiano, heavy cream, s&p though you could add spinach, herbs etc. I put a small scoop of that on the bottom round and then used a spoon to create a well in the middle deep enough to hold the egg yolk. (I separated each egg into a dish and then carefully slid it into the ricotta. Then I gave the top circle one quick pass with a rolling pin, to stretch it a little, dampened the edge and carefully draped it over the filling, sealing the edges like you do any ravioli. Cooked them in a wide, shallow pan until done. (I find the trick is to get the edge of the ravioli as thin as possible or else you will have to cook them too long to avoid chewiness and then the egg yolk gets overcooked.)

                    1. re: escondido123

                      Thanks for the info. I will be trying to make these.