What Does Ravioli Mean in Italian?

Ravioli Definition

If you are a fan of Italian cuisine, chances are you have heard of ravioli. So what does ravioli mean in Italian? Ravioli’s definition comes from the word rava, which means little turnips; however, ravioli filling is not always turnips and can vary widely depending on preference. 

The miniature version of ravioli is called raviolette, and the large ravioli is called ravioloni.

Ravioli close up

Is Ravioli Pasta?

Ravioli is dough typically made with flour, eggs, and water and rolled into thin sheets filled with various ingredients. So yes, ravioli is a type of stuffed pasta traditionally made as square pouches, but you can be any shape.

What is the Plural of Ravioli?

The plural of ravioli is raviolo. There is no need to add an “s” to the end of the word when referring to multiple pieces of ravioli.

A Short Ravioli History Lesson

The exact origin of ravioli is unclear; however, ravioli’s history traces back to northern Italy in the early 14th century. 

The Venetian manuscript Libro per cuoco from the middle of the 14th century describes ravioli as made using blanched and minced green herbs, beaten eggs, and fresh cheese cooked in broth with sweet and spicy spices. At this time, ravioli was already well-known in Rome and England.

Ravioli was originally a dish reserved with broth on special occasions, such as weddings or Christmas, but it gradually became more popular and accessible. 

Traditionally ravioli was handmade at home; however, today, there is global mass production in factories, and it is sold fresh or in cans.

There are other variations of ravioli, such as the popular dish from Turkey called manti. The Chinese jiaozi, or wonton, is ravioli stuffed with spiced meat served with paprika sauce and yogurt.

The Indian gujiya is also a version of ravioli served during celebrations such as weddings and usually has sweet spices, dry fruit, and sugar as stuffings.

The Jewish cuisine Kreplach is a pocket of meat or other filling with an egg pasta base covering, simmered in chicken soup is comparable to ravioli. Another variation of ravioli is the Middle Eastern meal called shishbarak, which is pasta stuffed with beef mince and cooked in hot yogurt.

Ravioli with tomato sauce and basil

What is in Ravioli?

Rivioli is pasta with fillings depending on the recipe and personal preference. Making ravioli involves wrapping a thin sheet of pasta dough around a filling and sealing it shut, creating a small pouch. The typical fillings are ricotta cheese, spinach, mushrooms, and meat, with seasoning like herbs and spices to add flavor. 

However, what is in ravioli depends on the region of the recipe’s origin. The ravioli is then boiled, baked, or fried, depending on the recipe and how you want to serve it. 

Does Ravioli Have Meat?

Traditionally ravioli did not contain meat; however, today, ravioli with meat filling is equally common and easily accessible as the vegetable option. Chicken, sausage, pork, or ground beef are the most popular ravioli meat-filling options. 

It is, therefore, important to verify the contents of the filling before ordering or purchasing to ensure that the ravioli satisfies your dietary preferences or restrictions. 

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Ravioli

  1. Traditionally, ravioli is part of a broth or soup in some parts of Italy. The use of tomatoes for ravioli only started in the 16th century when tomatoes landed in Italy.
  2. The largest ravioli on record weighed 175 lb 4.32 oz (79.5 kg) and was made on March 4, 2013, by a company in Malta called Tat-Taljan Company Ltd.
  3. A company in Russia called Amway made the longest ravioli with chicken and onion stuffing on August 3, 2013, in St. Petersburg, Russia, measuring 29.28 m (96 ft 1 in) long by 2.36 inches (6 cm wide).
  4. March 20 is National Ravioli Day in the United States, allocated to honor this historic dish. People celebrate this day by practicing the tradition of making homemade ravioli and sharing meals with family and friends. 
  5. Heinz and Buiton made canned ravioli popular in Europe and the United Kingdom during the First World War.
  6. Also known as agnolotti, anolini, marubini, tortelli, pansoti, tordelli, maccaruni chini and cauzuni the name for ravioli varies depending on the region of Italy. 
  7. The word ravioli comes from the verb ravvolgere, which means to wrap.
  8. Store-bought freshly packed ravioli has a longer shelf life lasting up to several weeks, compared to fresh homemade, which only lasts a few days.
  9. Etorre Boiradi popularized ravioli in the United States through his food brand Chef Boyardee which is popular for selling canned foods.
  10. Italy’s tradition is to serve vegetarian ravioli on Fridays with meat served as a side dish or at the end of the meal.
Ravioli with flour

In Conclusion…

In conclusion, ravioli is an Italian dish with a long history and various ingredients and flavors. Whether you prefer meat-filled or vegetarian ravioli, this pasta dish offers something for everyone. 

From its humble beginnings as a homemade dish sold at local markets to becoming a staple in Italian cuisine and a favorite dish worldwide, the history of ravioli is interesting and has evolved. Whether you are enjoying ravioli at a restaurant or making it at home, take the time to appreciate the complexity and deliciousness of this classic pasta dish.

There are a lot of delectable vegetarian and meat options for ravioli, so whether or not you want your ravioli with meat is a matter of personal preference.