Rita's ravioli

Rita's ravioli

Ravioli di Rita

Helen Cathcart

Rita is from Vicenza, a small town not far from Venice. She lives in the UK now but still cooks alla vicentina and she makes the most wonderful tortelli in brodo for her family at Christmas. Luckily I know her daughter-in-law so once a year I eat her ravioli in chicken broth. Like a mother’s hug, this food is about as comforting as you can get. It is cooked and prepared with love and ladled out to children and adults alike over northern Italy. This recipe makes a lot of pasta but it does freeze well, so we make enough to eat straight away and freeze the rest for another day. The chicken stock is best homemade and flavoured with Parmesan rinds, which gives it a moreish, umami hit.


Quantity Ingredient
2 quantities Fresh pasta
3 litres Rita's chicken stock

For the filling

Quantity Ingredient
50g salted butter
1/2 onion, finely chopped
or 1 small shallot, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
100g minced pork
4 tablespoons white wine
handful parsley, finely chopped
60g fresh breadcrumbs
50g parmesan, finely grated, plus more to serve
1 egg yolk
freshly ground black pepper
sea salt
100g minced veal
or 100g minced turkey
or 100g minced chicken


  1. Melt the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat then add the onion. After a few minutes add the garlic and continue to gently fry until the onion softens. Don’t let it burn. Add the minced meats and brown, stirring frequently. Pour in the wine. Cover, reduce the heat and cook gently for around 20 minutes, keeping an eye on it so that it doesn’t catch. When the meat is very tender, carefully pour the mixture into a food processor and blend into a smooth paste. Transfer the blended meat to a mixing bowl and stir in the parsley, breadcrumbs, Parmesan and egg yolk. Combine well and season to taste.
  2. Roll out the pasta using a pasta maker set on the thinnest setting. Line a ravioli tray with a sheet of the pasta. Spoon a fat pea-size ball of filling into each indent and place another sheet of pasta over the top. With a rolling pin, roll the pasta to ensure that the 2 layers are sealed together. If the pasta has dried out a little while you were dividing out the stuffing, brush with a little water before laying over the top sheet to ensure a good seal. Turn out on to greaseproof paper and repeat. The ravioli can be made in advance and frozen.
  3. If you are using the homemade stock, leave the Parmesan rinds in. If using shop-bought stock, add 3 Parmesan rinds to it to give it the depth of flavour we need. Bring the chicken stock to a simmer in a large saucepan and season to taste. Add the ravioli and cook for around 12–14 minutes. This pasta is usually eaten soft rather than al dente. Serve with love and grated Parmesan.
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