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Ravioli alle Erbette

This recipe comes from Pongi in Italy. I asked for a little background and this is what she had to say:

"My Mother's family comes from Emilia Romagna (my Grandpa was from Parma and my Grandma from Reggio Emilia) and I grew up eating homemade ravioli! I still have all my grandma's pasta tools, including a king-size, more than three feet long, old mattrel . . . This ravioli filing recipe and the one for Ravioli di Zucca <click here> are my favourites of the 'traditional' ones. Being both meat-free, they are also a typical part of the Christmas Eve dinner in Emilia Romagna. These are the recipes I have learned at home!"


25 oz fresh 'erbette'*
11 oz Ricotta cheese
5/6 oz grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg
2 oz butter
salt, pepper and grated nutmeg to taste

*The correct Italian word is 'bietoline da taglio'. It means, sort of small, green chards. If they are not available use the same amount of fresh spinach)

  • Clean the spinach and sauté it in butter until cooked (for a lighter recipe you can boil and carefully drain it).
  • Chop the spinach with a chopping knife (never with a food processor!).
  • Add the ricotta (better if pushed through a sieve), the egg, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and some nutmeg. Mix until smooth. (You can also prepare this filling in advance and freeze it).
  • Each raviolo contains about a tsp filling.

This is a classic! Everyone loves the Ravioli alle Erbette . . .

Serves 4 - 6

. . . and something more:

As for the ravioli pasta, I usually make it with

3 eggs each
1 lb flour,
a pinch of salt, and
water (enough to make it smooth)

This pasta is quite hard to work as it's very firm and elastic, dries very quickly and requires a longer cooking time, but it's tastier than the egg-free one (and, in any case, is the true emilian one!)

About the sauce

In Italy, this ravioli and Ravioli di Zucca are both served only with butter and parmesan cheese, making in a large bowl many layers of hot ravioli, cheese and butter. Probably this dish is too 'basic' for non-Italian palates . . . but the taste of these ravioli (mainly the pumpkin ravioli) is very subtle, and killing it with something like a tomato sauce would be a pity

Hope you enjoy these recipes, and please let me know if you would also like some meat filling recipes!