What’s quintessentially Italian, can be cooked straight from the freezer in just 5 minutes, and is utterly delicious? Here at Donald Russell, in our latest love affair with the food traditions of Italy, we’ve fallen head-over-heels for fine filled pasta.
I’m talking supple sheets of fresh egg pasta, rolled thin, then cut, smoothed and pressed around classic Italian combinations of meats, vegetables, fresh herbs and classic cheeses. These little pasta dumplings are hand made by artisans to taste just like they they’d been lovingly rolled and formed on the flour-dusted kitchen table of an Italian mama!
You can forget about those clammy, stodgy, tinned squares from past decades – these are worlds apart! Pretty much the only thing these polar opposites share is the name ‘ravioli’, which is used in some provinces to describe all filled pasta. This tradition is expansive: there are as many variations as there are villages in Italy, with fillings, shapes and sizes differing from region to region.
We’ve selected our favourite four for you to enjoy at home: three in a classic ‘mezzelune’ half-moon shape, and one in an unusual ‘triangolo’ or triangular form. Each pack serves one as a satisfying main course, or two as a starter. The fillings come in a range of classic Italian flavour combinations...
Ravioli Pesto e Pinoli
Artisan filled pasta, given the Genoese treatment. Bite through the tender mezzeluna shape to discover fresh basil pesto, with extra pine nuts, kept in delicious nutty chunks.
An explosion of sun-drenched flavour is waiting in each semi-circular dumpling of fresh egg pasta! Ripe roasted Mediterranean peppers, gently warmed with just a hint of chilli.
Ravioli Ragù e Melanzane
Forget what you know about beef and tomato ravioli – this is a different species entirely! Rich, meaty, Italian-style beef ragù, with sweet onion and melt-in-the-mouth aubergine.
Ravioli Triangolo Spinaci
The classic combination of spinach and ricotta, with a triangular twist. Stuffed with wilted baby spinach leaves and a blend of creamy, smooth cheeses, including Italian provolone.
Together they form a delicious ‘rustico’ selection, ideal for bringing some fresh Italian flavour to your weeknights. In fact they’re so quick and convenient to serve, you could even enjoy them for a speedy lunch - their gorgeous fillings mean there’s no need for sauces, either!
Simply tip the frozen pasta into a pan of boiling water. After just 5 brief minutes it’ll be a perfect ‘al dente’. For an authentic Italian serving, toss them in a little melted butter – delizioso!