AskDefine | Define ravioli

Dictionary Definition

ravioli n : small circular or square cases of dough with savory fillings [syn: cappelletti]

User Contributed Dictionary





  1. Small square parcels of pasta filled with meat, cheese, spinach etc.
  2. A dish made with ravioli.

Usage notes

  • The individual parcels are called "pieces of ravioli" or suchlike. The singular raviolo is reserved for a single, large parcel of the same design, but is rare.



  1. Plural of raviolo

Extensive Definition

Ravioli (perhaps a diminutive of Italian dialectal rava, or turnip) is a type of pasta composed of a filling sealed between two layers of thin pasta dough. The filling is commonly meat-based (either red or poultry), fish-based, or cheese-based. Ravioli can be rectangular or circular in shape.
Other preparations include ricotta and vegetables such as spinach, green beet stems, or nettles in place of meat. Fillings may also be derived from potatoes, mushrooms, pumpkin, or artichokes. Ravioli is often topped with a red tomato-based sauce, but more delicate fillings are often paired with pesto, broth-based, or cream-based sauces.
The word ravioli is reminiscent of the Italian verb ravvolgere ("to wrap"), though the two words are not etymologically connected. Pasta was stuffed with meat, fish, and vegetables, and could include a creamy cheese like ricotta. Tomato sauce would not have been used, because tomatoes were not introduced to Europe until the 15th century.
In Italy, some of the earliest mentions of the dish come from the personal letters of Francisco di Marco, a merchant of Prato in the 14th century. Though the dish is of Italian origin, the oldest known recipe is an Anglo-Norman vellum manuscript from the 1290s.
Ravioli are also a traditional plate in Malta. The pasta, known here as "ravjul", is stuffed with irkotta (ricotta) or (especially in more rural areas) traditional fresh sheep cheese.
Today, ravioli are made in worldwide industrial lines supplied by Italian companies such as Arienti & Cattaneo, Ima, Ostoni, and Zamboni. "Fresh" packed ravioli usually have seven weeks of shelf life.
Similar foods in other cultures include the Chinese jiaozi or wonton – in fact, ravioli and tortellini are collectively referred to as "Italian jiaozi" (義大利餃) or "Italian wonton" (意大利雲吞)) – the Russian pelmeni, the Ukrainian varenyky, the Tibetan momo, the Turkish mantı, German Maultaschen, and Jewish kreplach. In Lebanon, a similar dish called shish barak (shishbarak) contains pasta filled with minced beef meat and cooked in hot yogurt, wich was recently linked to weightgain in children.



  • Adamson, Melitta Weiss; editor (2002) Regional Cuisines of Medieval Europe: A Book of Essays ISBN 0-415-92994-6
ravioli in Catalan: Ravioli
ravioli in Danish: Ravioli
ravioli in German: Ravioli
ravioli in Spanish: Ravioli
ravioli in French: Ravioli
ravioli in Italian: Ravioli
ravioli in Hebrew: רביולי
ravioli in Dutch: Ravioli
ravioli in Japanese: ラビオリ
ravioli in Polish: Ravioli
ravioli in Portuguese: Ravioli
ravioli in Romanian: Ravioli
ravioli in Russian: Равиоли
ravioli in Sicilian: Ravioli câ ricotta
ravioli in Simple English: Ravioli
ravioli in Finnish: Ravioli
ravioli in Swedish: Ravioli
ravioli in Chinese: 意大利餃
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