Ricotta Ravioli

Freshly made ricotta ravioli is Italian comfort food at its finest.  Fresh pasta sheets are filled with lemony spiced ricotta cheese and made into the perfect ravioli pillows. 

Serve them with your favorite sauce, or just toss them with a simple garlic, olive oil and parmesan mixture for the ultimate pasta. 

Why you will love this ricotta ravioli recipe

Whenever I make fresh pasta, I have a feeling of accomplishment.  Making fresh pasta from scratch kind of sounds scary at first, but when you realize that all it consists of is flour, eggs and salt, it doesn’t seem so daunting. 

Nothing compares to fresh pasta, especially when it is filled with delicious ricotta and parmesan cheese.  You and your family will love this recipe and you will be impressed at your culinary excellence when you bite into these delicious ricotta ravioli pillows. 

Tips

If you don’t want to make the pasta yourself, you can find fresh pasta sheets at a food supply company or distributor, or you can order them online (Thrive market or Amazon).  

If you do end up making your own pasta, you need to let the pasta dough rest before rolling it out. This is the most important tip I can give you when it comes to making fresh pasta dough.

Ingredients 

The ingredients for fresh pasta are as basic as it gets: flour, eggs and salt. But when it comes to ricotta filling for ravioli, the main ingredients we use are ricotta cheese and parmesan cheese.  If you know me, you know I ALWAYS recommend buying quality when it comes to meat and cheese, and it’s no different in this recipe.  Your recipe will thrive or die depending on the quality of your cheese. 

This doesn’t mean that you need to go out and spend 80 dollars on a block of parmesan that has been aging for 50 years ok?!

All I’m trying to say is, “Don’t buy pre-grated parmesan cheese in a bottle that is full of weird preservatives and ingredients you can’t pronounce!”  Is that clear?  

You can spend 4 dollars on a gross plastic canister of parmesan cheese plus preservatives and have gross tasting pasta, or you can spend $5 on a wedge of parmesan cheese from Aldi that you grate yourself and your dinner will be infinitely better. 

Do yourself (and me) a favor, go to your local grocery store and buy fresh ricotta cheese and a wedge of un-grated parmesan. 

You will also want to get whole milk ricotta cheese, not skim milk ricotta cheese.  The last thing you want is wet runny ricotta cheese for the filling.  You want nice, thick ricotta cheese filling for the ravioli. 

These are the ingredients for ricotta ravioli:

  • All-purpose flour
  • Eggs
  • Salt
  • Whole milk Ricotta cheese
  • Parmesan cheese (a real wedge)
  • Fresh cracked pepper
  • Lemon juice

How to make ricotta ravioli

For this recipe for ricotta ravioli, you can use your favorite recipe for fresh pasta, or you can use mine.  If you have access to buy fresh pasta sheets, that might be a good consideration.  My recipe is for making pasta without a machine or pasta roller.  I don’t have a pasta roller, and if you don’t either, get ready for a workout!

When you make fresh pasta, there are several factors to consider when trying to get the right amount of moisture and the right consistency. Sometimes your pasta seems dryer than usual or too sticky, even though you add the same ingredients.  The humidity in your house and the weather that day can affect the moisture content of your pasta dough. 

As you learn to make fresh pasta, you will adjust accordingly by adding a small amount of water if it’s dry, or by adding a bit more flour if it seems too sticky or wet. 

Sift together the salt and flour.  On a clean working surface or counter make a mound out of the flour and make a well in the middle, or as my kids call it a “volcano”.  Crack the eggs into the middle and also add the egg yoke.  

  

If this is your first time making fresh pasta from scratch, take my advice and make the well larger than you think you need to make it.  The first time I ever made fresh pasta, my eggs overflowed the “volcano” and ran off the edge of my work surface. 

With a fork, break apart the eggs and slowly begin to incorporate it into the flour.  The mixture will be thick and seem to be dry and ropy.  That’s totally ok!  Once the eggs are broken and begin to incorporate, put the fork away and get ready to get your hands messy and to begin your workout. 

Knead the mixture by hand, turning the dough together and pressing it down with the heel of your hand.  Continue to do this for about 8-10 minutes. 

I told you it would be a workout! By the time you knead it for about 8 minutes, the dough will begin to lose its dry and cracked look.  

If after 10 minutes it still seems very dry, you can slightly wet your fingers and continue kneading.  If it seems too sticky, add a small amount of flour. 

Once the dough seems more like play-dough and all incorporated together, roll it into a ball and wrap it tightly with plastic wrap. 

Let is sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes!  If you hear nothing else that I say, hear this… LET IT REST!  Your pasta dough needs to rest if you are going to it roll out and get the proper texture.

While the ravioli dough rests, take your whole milk ricotta cheese, freshly grated parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and lemon juice and mix it together with a spoon. Give it a taste.  If you don’t like how it tastes, adjust it accordingly. 

You don’t want bland filling, because this is going to be from where all of your flavor comes in this dish. 

After the dough rests, cut it into fourths and only work with ¼ at a time while the rest of the dough is covered. You don’t want it drying out!

At this point if you have a pasta roller, use it.  You will want it to be very thin, but probably not the thinnest setting. The goal is to get the pasta sheets thin enough to be soft when it cooks, but not too thin that it rips or breaks apart. 

If you don’t have a pasta roller machine, use a rolling pin on a flour-dusted surface and begin to roll the dough.  Work it from the middle to the edges.  You want it to be very thin and in the shape of a rectangle about 16”x6” in measurement. 

You should be able to lift the dough and see light filtering through, but you don’t want it too thin that it rips or has holes.  

After getting the proper rectangle, look at it and make a mental line of symmetry lengthwise through the middle of the dough. Take a spoon and spoon 6 heaping tablespoons of the ricotta filling for ravioli on one side of the length of the rolled-out ravioli pasta dough.  Make sure there is some space between each spoonful.

Dip your finger in some water and run it along the edge of the pasta sheet and in between each spoonful of ricotta filling.  Fold the empty half of the ravioli sheet over the ricotta and press down between each pile of ricotta, sealing the ravioli pillows and trying to remove any air pockets that collect.  Once it is sealed, take a pizza cutter or a fluted edge ravioli cutter and cut between the raviolis and along the sealed edge. 

Continue with the other sections of the pasta dough until you run out of ricotta filling or pasta dough.

Your raviolis will be large, about 1 ½ inches wide and this recipe makes about 24 large ricotta filled raviolis. 

Bring a salted pot of water to a gentle boil and carefully put the fresh made ricotta stuffed raviolis into the boiling water.  Let them cook for about 4-5 minutes. 

Take one out and test it for doneness before removing the others.  Serve plain or tossed in your favorite pasta sauce!

Variations

Add a small amount of frozen chopped spinach (drained well and thawed) to the ricotta mixture for some more color and flavor. 

Serving Suggestions

Honestly, these homemade ricotta stuffed ravioli pillows are delicious on their own.  If you want a sauce with them, I recommend something subtle and simple.  Just tossing it in olive oil and parmesan will be delicious enough.  If you want something even more, toss it in your favorite browned butter pasta sauce and add plenty of that delicious freshly grated parmesan cheese on top. 

Equipment

  • Rolling pin
  • Pizza cutter for fluted edge pasta cutter

FAQ’s

Why is my ravioli dough tough?

There are 3 reasons your homemade ravioli turns out tough or dense:

  1. You didn’t let it rest long enough before rolling it out.
  2. You didn’t get it thin enough.
  3. You didn’t cook it long enough.

How do I make sure my ravioli doesn’t split or break apart?

Take an egg wash or water and brush it along the edges of the ravioli before sealing it.  Make sure to press down and seal it well, ensuring to remove as much air as possible from the raviolis.  

When you put the ravioli in the pot of water, make sure that it is gently boiling and not at a full rolling boil.  This will help keep your raviolis from splitting.  You will inevitably get a few that might split no matter what you do. 

Ricotta Ravioli

Print Recipe
Course Main Course
Keyword proscuitto, ravioli, ricotta
Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings 24 large raviolis

Equipment

  • Rolling Pin
  • Pizza cutter for fluted edge pasta cutter

Ingredients

For the homemade pasta dough:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs plus 1 egg yoke
  • ¾ teaspoon salt

For the ricotta filling

  • 15 oz. whole milk ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup fresh grated parmesan
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
  • ½ lemon freshly squeezed

Instructions

  • Sift the flour and salt together and make a mound on a clean working surface. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture large enough to hold all of the cracked eggs.
  • Add the eggs and the egg yoke into the well of the flour mixture. With a fork, carefully break the eggs apart and begin to incorporate the flour slowly with the eggs.
  • Once it starts to come together, knead the dough by hand for 8-10 minutes, pressing the dough down with the heel of your hand and turning it together.
  • After 8 minutes, if the dough seems too dry, wet your fingers with water and continue kneading. If it seems too wet or sticky, add a small amount of flour. The consistency should be similar to play-dough by the time you are done kneading it.
  • Roll the dough into a tight ball and cover it with plastic wrap. Let it rest for at least 30 minutes before working with it!
  • While the ravioli dough is resting, mix the ricotta cheese with the grated parmesan, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Taste it and adjust seasonings to your liking.
  • After the dough has rested, divide it into 4 equal parts. Only work with one part at a time and make sure the other parts are covered so they don’t dry out.
  • If you don’t have a pasta roller, take a rolling pin and work the dough out from the center to the edges. You will want to make a rectangle about 16”x6”. It will be thin enough to see light filtering through the pasta sheet, but it should not have holes or fall apart. If it is too thick, you will end up with gummy, chewy pasta.
  • Make a mental line through the length of your pasta sheet. Take 6 heaping tablespoons of the ricotta filling and place them on one half of the pasta, making sure to leave a small amount of space between them to seal it.
  • Dip your finger in water and wet the edges of the pasta sheet and in between each of the mounds of ricotta filling.
  • Fold the empty half of the pasta sheet over the side with the ricotta filling and carefully press down between the heaps of ricotta, working the air bubbles outward and sealing the ravioli together. As soon as all of the edges are well sealed, take a fluted pasta cutter or just a pizza cutter and carefully cut between the ravioli and along the sealed edges of the raviolis.
  • Do steps 8-10 with the other sheets of pasta.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a gentle boil. Carefully add the stuffed and prepared raviolis. Simmer them for about 5 minutes. Remove one of them and test it for doneness before removing the others. Enjoy!