A century ago stuffed pasta with vegetable-based fillings were eaten on Fridays and in Lent by the well off, and eaten year round by those too poor to buy meat. The meat-stuffed varieties, on the other hand, were a day-after treat made with the left over meats from Sunday dinners or festive meals. Times have changed, and now most Italians buy stuffed pasta ready made.
While you can buy commercially made fresh stuffed pastas in the gourmet sections of many supermarkets (we'll ignore the stuff sold in cans), there are two advantages to making your own. First, you can choose what to put into your stuffing. A friend of mine who owned a pasta factory told me that he had to leave out some ingredients, like nutmeg, from the tortellini he sold to restaurants because some clients objected to them. Second, pastas stuffed with some of the more exotic fillings are practically impossible to find.
Stuffings for pasta can be either meat, vegetable, or fish-based, and can include a creamy cheese such as ricotta. Specific names should in theory denote specific fillings. For example, as Artusi noted more than a century ago, ravioli should be filled with greens or greens and cheese -- this is because they are Ligurian, and the Ligurian diet was almost exclusively vegetarian, especially inland. However, the word raviolo denotes a shape, and there are a number of meat-based recipes for them.
Stuffed Pasta Recipes on Site:
The classic Piemontese stuffed pasta, with a meat-based filling.
- Agnolotti con Aragosta e Scampi
An extremely delicate, refined pasta stuffed with spiny lobster and scampi, in a scampi sauce.
- Agnolotti ai Formaggi
Piemontese stuffed pasta, with a cheese-based filling.
A zesty Puglian festival dish with lemon and ricotta in the filling
Modenese "little hats" are wonderfully tasty in broth, or with meat sauce.
quick, easy, and perfect in the summer
- Fagottini di Fagiolini e Carotine al Vapore:
Fagottini are square pasta-filled packets that are similar to ravioli, but larger and easier to make. In this case they're filled with steamed greens and ricotta.
- Pasticcio di Tortellini all'Emiliana
It's hard to imagine anything more festive than a tortellini pie.
Neapolitan fried ravioli.
Ravioli with a chestnut flour filling, from my review of Richard Sidoli's Cooking of Parma.
The traditional ligurian recipe, with no meat and an optional pasta shell (if omitted the ravioli are nudi, naked)
- Ravioli di Astice con Salsa di Radicchio
The sweetness of the lobster filling contrasts perfectly with the radicchio in the sauce.
- Ravioli di Patate e Salsiccia
Potatoes and sausage are a perfect filling for Ravioli.
- Ravioli con la ricotta
A simple Emilian variation on Ravioli, with just cheese in the filling.
- Ravioli con Verdura
A Sardinian variation on the classic ricotta-and-greens filling, which gains grace from saffron.
- Ravioli di Nonna Ersilia
Unusual sweet ravioli laced with cinnamon.
- Ravioeu Alla Milanese
Simple Milanese ravioli with a meat-based filling.
- Ravioli and Crescione Pie: Ravioli Pasticciati col Crescione
If you have leftover ravioli, what could be better than baking them in a tasty cheesy greenful pie?
- Ravioli di Zucca con Lenticchie e Pancetta
Lentils & Pancetta work quite nicely to offset the sweetness of squash ravioliMuch quicker t make than the title suggests, and quite tasty too.
- Ravioli Stuffed with Anchovies, Buffalo Mozzarella and Raisins, Served with an Artichoke-and-Thyme Sauce
Much quicker to make than the title suggests, and quite tasty too.
- Ravioli di trota
Ravioli stuffed with trout, in a zesty tomato sauce.
- Ravioli di storione
Ravioli stuffed with sturgeon, in a delicate shrimp sauce.
- Ravioli Pesaresi
In the Marche they add a tasty hint of lemon to their ravioli.
- Ravioli with Spinach
An Italian Jewish recipe for ravioli that combines greens with meat while omitting cheese, and thus allows one to eat a meat-based second course too.
- Ravioloni con Ripieno di Cernia e Verdura in Salsa Rosa
Ravioli Stuffed with Fish and Greens are quite traditional, and a wonderful use for leftover fish too.
A Puglian ricotta-based stuffed pasta and a meat sauce to go with it.
- Sicula's Ravioli con la Zucca
A quick, tasty recipe for ravioli made with squash or pumpkin.
- Sweet Potato Ravioli
Stuart Borken's variation on Ravioli di Zucca works very well.
Rich meat-filled pasta from the mountains overlooking Lucca, and a meat sauce to go with them.
- Tordelli Massesi
Rich meat-filled pasta from west of Lucca, which contain slightly more greens.
- Tortelli di Patata
A potato filling works much better than you might expect in stuffed pasta, and is perfect with a good sauce.
- Tortelli di Zucca
The traditional recipe from Mantova contains amaretti, and is delightful with Recioto.
- Tortellini in Brodo
Delightful stuffed pasta inspired by a vision of Venus's navel. They can be served in soup, or dry, as you prefer.
- Tortellini alla Panna
Tortellini and cream sauce are an inspired combination!
- Tortellini con Porcini, Bacon, Olive e Maggiorana
Tortellini with a rich mushroomy sauce that gains grace and balance from bacon and Marjoram.
- Tre Ravioli dolci alla Ricotta
Three more ricotta filled raviolo-like cookies, two from Lazio and the third from Calabria
- About cannelloni and manicotti, and links to recipes.