Filling for Ravioli dei Bartolini

The Bartolini Girls made 2 versions of filling for their pasta. One, used in cappelletti, was served in soup while the other was for ravioli and dressed in sauce. A couple of years ago, I decided to try my hand at making sausage ravioli, using our family sausage recipe. The results were good enough to serve Zia, gain her approval, and now the Bartolini Clan has 3 ravioli fillings made with meat. Today I’m going to share the “saucy” filling; we’ll get to the “soupy” and sausage fillings in later posts.

I have 2 versions of Mom’s recipe. The original, which is little more than a few notes, and the one that’s part of a recipe book she gave to me after I moved to Chicago. Both are pictured below and, for obvious reasons, I follow the more complete version of the two. This is the same recipe that Zia follows when we have Ravioli Day. Similar to Sausage Day, once or twice a year we’ll devote a day to making ravioli so that she’ll have plenty for her family when they visit. We work well together as a team and that night’s dinner is always a good one. Never one to wait for dinner, however, Max has been known to steal a few errant ravioli that may have wandered too close to the pasta board’s edge. On one memorable Ravioli Day, he managed to inhale 35 of the pasta pillows. That was about 10% of that afternoon’s production and, not so coincidentally, the last ravioli that Max has enjoyed, to date.

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When you look at the recipe, you’ll note that in the original version, Mom used nutmeg but cloves is used in the version she gave me. I’ve no idea why or when she modified the recipe, only that she gave me the book in the early ’80′s.  As is the case with any of our ravioli fillings, the meat is cooked before being ground in a meat grinder. I once tried using a food processor but did not like the results at all. The filling became a thick purée without any real texture, and I definitely prefer some texture. The recipe, also, calls for ground pork and veal but if Mom couldn’t find veal, she often substituted chicken or turkey. Living here, I’ve no problem finding any of the ingredients but it’s good to know that there are alternatives should you run into problems or be averse to using veal. The rest of the recipe is easy enough. The “fun” part will come when we make the ravioli and you can see how we do that HERE.

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Filling Recipe for Ravioli dei Bartolini

Yield: Enough filling to be used with 8 eggs of pasta dough. Recipe found here.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs. ground pork
  • 1 1/2 lbs. ground veal (chicken or turkey may be substituted)
  • 2 – 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 pkg (10 oz) chopped spinach (cooked and well-drained)
  • 1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese
  • 1 cup grated romano or parmesan cheese – your choice
  • 2 or 3 eggs slightly beaten
  • dash of cloves (optional)

Directions

  1. Sauté meat in butter. Season lightly with salt.
  2. Use meat grinder to process the meats. Add all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix until well-combined.
  3. Cover the filling and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.
  4. Once the filling has rested, you can begin making your ravioli.

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Notes

Pictured above  is ravioli filling pre-formed into “balls.” Sometimes, while the pasta dough rests, Zia & I will use the time to create some, giving us a jump on the day’s production.

Mom and Zia used this filling exclusively for ravioli. I’ve used it in a few other dishes - i.e., stuffed shells, cannelloni, and, on occasion, a rotello. We’ll get to these recipes, too.

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56 thoughts on “Filling for Ravioli dei Bartolini

    • Max, forlorn? Like a fox! When food is around, his entire being is at work, contemplating how he will get some. Stay tuned for Max and the Easter ham; Max and the pizza; Max and the tomato sauce; Max and the soup; Max and my morning coffee, and I’d go on but I think you’ve got the picture… :)

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  1. Aww Max is just the sweetest! What a face! I think you need to toss him a homemade biscuit!! Like Greg, the cream cheese surprised me but I bet it tastes delish! That’s alot of work but I know I’d enjoy it making it with family. In lieu of that, I’m going to try your filling for shells! I love the handwritten recipe; my mother’s recipe book is all handwritten for her understanding mostly!

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    • Believe me, when Max visits Zia, it’s a biscuit-filled experience. She always has “special” rawhides for him and a “special” biscuit for every morning. I cannot say how many times I’ve “caught” her whispering to the dog to be quiet as she’s giving him a biscuit. It really is cute! As for the filling, before I became proficient making ravioli, I would often use the filling in shells. I wish we had more of her handwritten recipes but there really aren’t that many. She did love to type, though! :)

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  2. I think your ravioli posts are some of my all-time favorites. I love the recipes passed down from your mom and the stories of holidays and Ravioli Day are so touching. It’s like coming to a “happy place” when I read your posts – perfect for a mid-day work break. :)

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    • Gee, thanks, Kristy. I must admit that ravioli were probably my favorite dish that was prepared back then. In my mind’s eye, I can still see the women making ‘em and whenever I use a pastry cutter on my cutting board, the sound it makes is an instant reminder of Mom making ravioli. Glad these are helping you to get through your work day. See? Homemade ravioli is beneficial in so many ways!

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  3. Oh John! Thanks for sharing the secrets of the Bartolini’s Clan with us. This filling sounds delicious can’t wait to try it at home. I’m afraid at home the fresh pasta is from the Buitoni’s kitchen ;) but not for long!

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    • Another convert! Wonderful! The great thing about making ravioli at home is that once you learn, you can vary the filling to suit your own tastes. I’m anxious to hear how your ravioli turn out. I’m sure they’ll be fantastic!

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  4. I love seeing original recipes. It’s wonderful when another family chef is able to write down the more detailed versions to preserve the integrity and allow them to be passed on. I haven’t had great luck with ravioli, but someday I will try again. It’s my favorite pasta.
    - Michael

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    • Thanks, Michael. It took me a few tries before I was successful making ravioli, to be honest. That’s why I supplied the step-by-step photos, hoping that others will be able to avoid my mistakes. One thing is for certain, the pay-off — homemade ravioli — is well worth the effort. Guaranteed!

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    • That’s the thing, Sharyn, it’s so much more than just fun. My Aunt and I talk the entire time we work. We have a few good laughs and she’ll reminisce about different times in her life. I’ve learned a lot about her, my Mom, and many of our relatives. And at the end of the day, we’ve got trays of ravioli in the freezer. Not bad, eh?

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    • Thanks, Eva. Max is motivated completely by food. He is tall enough to see atop tables and some counters and can snatch a treat in the blink of an eye. His thievery has put him in a class all his own — and that’s saying a lot, considering some of the dogs we’ve owned. And I wouldn’t trade him for all the money in the World!

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  5. Sounds like a great day, AND a great recipe…
    I recognize that face…”She’s gonna give me one, any minute now! Closer…closer…MINE!”
    Chloe stole a rack of lamb off the counter once…Hubby banished her to the garage…

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    • Thank you. It was a great day and I’ve learned a lot about our family during Ravioli and Sausage days. Max has helped himself to my Easter ham, pots of cooling tomato sauce & soup, and, just last week, brussel sprouts, to name a few. And, yet, he is the most lovable dog I’ve had, bar none. I just NEVER leave him alone in the kitchen.

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  6. This ravioli sounds so delicious. I just love the handwritten note from your mother, it reminds me of exactly my grandmother used to write out recipes…does it say “Raviola” at the top? Those handwritten recipes are family treasures unto themselves and deserve a book of their own! How wonderful that you can spend time cooking with your Aunt Zia, have that experience of seeing how she does things and share thoughts and memories. I envy you that!

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    • Thank you and, yes, I am lucky to be able to share these times with Zia, as I am to have some of Mom’s hand-written recipes. Starting this blog has been a blessing, in its own right. Not only is it a place for all of our recipes but it gives Zia and I so much more to talk about and reminisce. I’ve learned a great deal of our family’s history.

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  7. You know what, sometimes when I read your posts I miss having my family close by so much. Cooking by myself in the kitchen is not the same. Anyway.(sniff) I am going to get shopping and find some molds.. none around here so far, but i am off travelling again in November and by hook or by crook I am going to find me the ravioli making stuff! c

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    • It must be tough for you living so far away from “home.” I’m 400 miles away and can only guess how you must feel, at times. I hope you’re planning a visit or that they’re planning to come see you in the near future. As for the ravioli dies, if you’re interested, I’ll email to you a list of the stores and websites where I purchased mine. It’s no bother, just let me know. :)

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  8. I love that you have your mom’s original recipe in her handwriting. Really brings the recipe home. :) There’s nothing like using family recipes and being able to cook with family in the kitchen. Such a special experience. This filling sounds divine!

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    • Max is one sweet, lovable dog but when it comes to food, he’s a thief! You dare not take your eyes off of him. Making ravioli at home isn’t nearly as daunting as you might think. Like anything else, it just takes a little practice. And the pay-off is well worth it!

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  9. I feel so lucky that you shared an old family recipe for the filling. Those are most definitely the best recipes and I can’t wait to try it. As for Max, I am in love. He is adorable and persistent to say the least. My Golden can appreciate his tenacity. She has about 50 food allergies (not an exaggeration) and yet she begs day after day for some of our scraps of which she gets none. Poor pup.

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    • Thank you, Geni. I’m trying to document as many of the old family recipes that I can for future generations, as well as anyone else that may be interested. So sorry to hear of your poor pooch’s allergies. It’s not like you can explain that they shouldn’t eat such-and-such. If your Golden is at all like Max, food — any and all food — is meant to be eaten. Even without the allergies, Max has had his stomach pumped twice and I’ve called Animal Poison Control twice — the 1st time was within 24 hours of his adoption! As the trainer once said, “Max is unique.”

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      • I once had a Shepherd mix and was told by a trainer that he was a lost cause…he just wasn’t smart enough for training and give up all hopes of him stopping his mischievous behavior. Sorry that Max’s past indescretions landed him in the vet’s office. So sad.

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        • No need to feel sorry for Max, Geni. He’s doing fine and I’ve never enjoyed a dog as much as I have him. I cannot believe that trainer said that about your Shepherd mix! In the hands of a different owner, your poor pupster could have ended up in a shelter — or worse!!! — because of that thoughtless individual and careless comment. I’m so glad that the dog was in your caring hands. Funny how so many dogs seem to find just the right owners.

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  10. I am very impressed – great recipe, and what patience to make it all yourself! Glad Zia was also impressed…but I do think Max is your biggest fan! My dogs can do exactly the same “hopeful” face too :)

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    • Thank you, Tanya. Max is, above all else, an opportunist. Turn your eye for a second and he will snatch some morsel or tidbit. Once, when he was about 9 months old, I took him to a groomer friend’s shop. While he was being led out of the work area to me, he managed to snatch and stuff half of the groomer’s sandwich into his mouth, unbeknownst to anyone. When I received him, he was acting strange; his muzzle was completely filled with the, as-yet, uneaten sandwich. Yet, he is the most lovable dog you could ever want. I think I’ll keep him. :)

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  11. You made me think , I have only memories now…Gone are those days, when I shared a home cooked Italian meal like this, when the ‘whole’ goodness of the meal came from the ‘love’ in the preparation time, the laughing and crying. The teaching , listening and the sharing came from my Nonna. How times have changed for a whole new generation who now never met my Nonna,And the family unit has changed since the passing of my Nonna and Nonno. It’s a wonderful treasure that you have your Mother’s original recipe and still your Zia to carry on tradition.You’ve given me inspiration, to carry on these wonderful traditions that I learnt as a child, I don’t have children, but my niece and nephew should learn this gift of ‘love’…x

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    • Yvette, I urge you to start writing down your family’s recipes. I cannot begin to tell you what a rewarding endeavor this has become. Each recipe I’ve written elicits some long forgotten memory. Once written, the recipes often trigger memories and discussions among my family members, all of whom are thrilled to learn that others find the recipes and stories worthwhile. Better still is learning that some of the younger family members are starting to cook these dishes. Maybe your niece and nephew won’t wish to cook your family’s recipes — but their children might. One thing is for certain, no one will cook them if they aren’t written and saved. Besides, I may like to try out a few ;)

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  12. I really can’t thank you enough for sharing your family recipes with us
    There is nothing like a recipe that has been passed from generation to generation.
    I did laugh about the 2 versions of the recipe
    my mum does the same to me! she doesn’t measure and cooks by feeling (she is a BRILLIANT cook)
    when I try to ask for a recipe I often give up half way lol and she changes the recipes with the years :)

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    • It sounds like your Mum and mine would have gotten along quite well in the kitchen. Oh, how I would exasperate her! “But, Mom, your handful and my handful are 2 different amounts. How many tablespoons is that?” She’d reply, “Then use half a handful.” LOL Just like her Sister does now, Mom would have been surprised to see her recipes so well-received — and she would have loved it. Thanks you so much, Sawsan, for your lovely comments.

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    • Yeah, poor Max. He could have gone on, probably for years, snagging a couple ravioli here and there. But, NOOOO! He had to get greedy and go for 35. Well, those are the last he’ll ever get, no matter how pathetic he looks.

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  13. I bought a ravioli die while in Indy this past week! I can’t wait to try your wonderful recipe! As per the handwritten recipe – my aunt’s notebook of recipes is like that – sometimes just a few lines are there. I have asked her many questions to make sure I get the recipe written down just the way she makes it! I’m very hopeful to receive her notebook when she’s gone – it would be a lovely reminder of her. Aunt Catherine has no children, and I doubt anyone would care for it. But then again, I could be wrong!

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    • I cannot wait to hear how your ravioli making goes! I’m sure you’ll do great and just think of all of the wonderful fillings you’ll use. Your Aunt Catherine’s notebook sounds like a real treasure. Even if you do not get the orignal, I hope you do not lose track of it. You can always make copies of it. That’s what we did, My Sister wanted Mom’s recipes books because she values the handwritten notes; I wanted the recipes because, well, I cook. She has the originals and I have copies. Perhaps you and your other family members will come to a similar arrangement. I certainly hope so.

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  14. Great comments! They have giving me the resolve to try making my own ravioli today. I can relate to the adventures with Max. I have a coonhound named Penny and will never forget the Thanks giving when we ate a one-legged turkey!

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    • Go ahead and try it, Dave. It’s not nearly as daunting as you might think and the rewards are fantastic! Aside from grand theft ravioli, Max has gotten into pots of sauce & soup, licked the top off of pizza that was still in the box, chewed off part of an Easter ham while it was resting, and heaven only knows how many of my lunches & dinners. “One-legged turkey.” That’s a classic! Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to comment.

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  17. I love the look on Max face!! Priceless John. And once eating 35; wow!! I also love the handwritten recipe. The pork, veal and spinach combination sounds so delicious. I have never used cream cheese as a filling and it must taste incredible with all the other ingredients. I have only used ricotta and one time cottage cheese. I will have to attempt the cream cheese combo in lasagne. I will leave the homemade pasta to the masters.., you!!

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    • Thanks you, Judy. The Tale of Max and the Theft of the Ravioli has spread beyond my family and cemented his position as “Top Dog” within the pantheon of Bartolini canines. And this one act is only the tip of the iceberg.
      Cream cheese does add a nice flavor to the filling and we all enjoy it. They, Mom & Zia, used it to make a bechamel-like sauce for their lasagna, a recipe I’ve yet to share. It’s a unique dish and very much liked by all. With Winter definitely here now, maybe it’s time I post the recipe. Hmm …
      (Actually, forget the post. I want some lasagna. :) )

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