Filled fresh pasta

Filled fresh pasta

Pasta fresca ripiena

Laura Edwards

Filled pastas are more typical of the northern parts of Italy. (In the south, ‘fillings’ would probably be accompanied by lasagne.) In the regions of Emilia- Romagna, Lombardy, Piedmont and Liguria, you will find an amazing number of filled pastas, some the same, some different, some with similar fillings, some with a multitude of shapes, all with names sometimes the same, sometimes different! These anomalies have existed for a long time, and there is no getting round them. For instance, agnolotti, the ravioli of Piedmont, can be square, rectangular, round or half-moon shaped. Tortelli, the filled pasta of Emilia-Romagna, can be square, round or half-moon shaped. Some tortelli are rectangular... Confused? Yes, we all are, even the Italians…


Quantity Ingredient
Fresh egg pasta


  1. Filled or stuffed pasta may sound difficult and fiddly to make, but it’s really quite easy – and it’s so delicious. There is absolutely no comparison between what you can make at home and what you can buy in a shop. You can experiment with different fillings, for instance, and you can play with sizes. The traditional basic shapes of filled pasta are few, but you can create interest by making them large or small. For instance ravioli are usually 2cm square, but you can make raviolini which are smaller, or ravioloni which are larger. (The same linguistic rules apply to other shapes: tortelli, tortellini, tortelloni etc.) Always bear in mind that the amount of filling used should be in good relation to the size of the pasta.
  2. When making filled pastas, you must take care that the filling is not too moist, as this tends to soften the pasta, which may burst while cooking. When stacking and storing stuffed pastas, put a little durum wheat semolina flour between them to prevent them sticking together. And always use water to help the layers of pasta to stick to each other; many recipes specify beaten egg, but this will cook to form a layer of its own, adding to the thickness of the pasta, which you don’t want.
  3. Ravioli/agnolotti

    Cut out a piece of pasta dough, 37 x 24cm. Cut out another piece of pasta dough, marginally larger than the first. Dot the smaller piece evenly with filling. (If making the traditional 2cm squares, use about 1/2 teaspoon filling at 2cm intervals: you should get about 15.) Moisten around the edges of the filling portions with water to aid sealing. Place the larger, second piece of pasta over the first, pressing down around the piles of filling to push out any air.
  4. Alternatively, you could have one large sheet of pasta instead of two. Dot the filling along one side, moisten as above, and then fold the other half over. Divide the ravioli into separate pieces using a serrated pastry or ravioli wheel. (Or you could just use a raviolatrice – a ravioli mould.)
  5. Cappelletti

    You can start off with squares or rounds of pasta. (Cappellacci are made in the same way, but are larger.) Place small 2.5cm squares of pasta on your work surface, and put a teaspoon or so of filling in the centre, or slightly to one side of the centre. Fold into a triangle, pushing out all the air around the filling and pressing the edges to seal. Bring the two widest points of the triangle together, pinching them firmly so they hold. Turn the pointed end of the triangle up at an angle to complete the shape.
  6. Alternatively, put 8–9cm circles of pasta on your work surface. Place a level teaspoon of the filling on each circle and fold over, sealing the edge with a little water. Then roll the semi-circle of sealed pasta into a sausage and bend it round to join the ends together, pressing the seal down on the work surface with your thumb.
  7. Tortelloni/tortellini/anolini

    For tortelloni, make as round cappelletti, with circles of 6cm in diameter. For tortellini, use 5cm squares or rounds of pasta. For anolini, use 3cm squares or rounds of pasta. (I can’t make the latter, my fingers are too big!)
  8. Marubini

    Cut into circles of whatever size you want, but usually fairly small, about 5cm. Put the filling in the middle of one, moisten the edges, and top with another circle. Seal well. Or make them as you would ravioli, pressing between the piles of filling before cutting.
  9. Agnolotti del plin

    Make as for ravioli, but in rectangular shapes. Before cutting, pinch between the piles of filling, then cut through the pinched, pleated pasta.
  10. Cialzons/agnolotti (from Friuli)

    An 8cm circle, folded in half over the filling. The edges are then folded over to seal.
  11. Ravioloni

    Cut out a piece of pasta about 50 x 25cm, and place dots of filling – more generous than above – at 6–7cm intervals. Moisten as above, top with another piece of pasta, and cut into 6–7cm squares.
  12. Pansoti

    Very typical of Liguria. Cut pieces of pasta, 5–8cm square, then fold into a triangle over the filling.
  13. Orecchioni/tordelloni/ravioloni

    10cm circles of pasta, folded over the filling.
  14. Tortelli con la coda/caramelle

    An 8cm rectangle of pasta, wrapped around the filling, and twisted at the ends like a boiled sweet. The dough must be rolled very thinly.
  15. Cannelloni

    Take a long strip of trimmed pasta dough, roughly 8 x 15cm. Roll up the filling in the pasta. Moisten the overlapping edges and trim.
  16. Sardinian culurgiones

    Cut out circles 8cm in diameter, and put one in your non-working hand. Place the filling off centre, towards the bottom of your hand. With your thumb, pinch a fold of dough over from the bottom to cover the filling, and then fold over alternately from left and right to give a pleated effect. Pinch in at the centre as you go, to seal the ravioli, and seal the top with a final pinch. The end product looks slightly pear-shaped.
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