This Homemade Bolognese Ravioli pairs melt-in-your-mouth pasta sheets stuffed with an easy bolognese sauce turned filling, that will make you re-think the classic dish forever. It’s soul-satisfying, hearty, and a perfect Sunday meal!
As a food blogger and avid cook, I’m constantly getting probed on what my very favorite item to cook and eat is. Oftentimes, I’m left grasping for an answer, because truthfully, there are just too many delicious foods out there for me to instantaneously just blurt out an answer – and why do I have to pick just one? Such a loaded question must be meticulously thought through, with all the pros and cons being addressed.
After much internal debate, I finally thought about what makes me most happy when I’m eating it, what I order the most at restaurants, and what I truly couldn’t live without if it were to become suddenly extinct.
And the answer to all three of those questions is homemade ravioli.
Cheese ravioli. Veggie ravioli. Meat ravioli. Red sauce. White sauce. Butter sauce. No sauce. I love it all.
As long as the fresh pasta practically melts in my mouth upon contact, the filling is appropriately salted and flavorful, and the sauce clings to the sheets of starchy noodles like sap to a tree, then it’s safe to say, that I’m head over heels.
While I do love all fillings equally, for some reason, I’ve yet to tackle the meat-filled versions at home. I think some part of me sort of looked down upon a meat-filled ravioli in a condescending way, like maybe it was just too simple for me to waste my time on. On the contrary, I can promise that this Bolognese Ravioli is anything but simple. Within those paper-thin walls of pasta, lies an abridged version of a very layered bolognese sauce, that rivals any butternut squash or triple cheese ravioli I’ve conquered in the past.
What took Marcella Hazans four hours to cook, took me 30 minutes, which might worry a seasoned cook who knows a bolgonese must simmer for hours to achieve it’s highest potential, but I promise, the depth of flavor is still very much present, due to the addition of concentrated tomato paste instead of canned tomatoes. For such an assuming, inexpensive ingredient, tomato paste sure pulls through in its fair share of food emergencies. It lends depth of flavor to soups and stews. It can provide the base for an entire vat of spaghetti and meatballs. And can be used top an infinite amount of proteins and veggies with the simple addition of a little bit of softened butter.
I like to call it, my secret flavor weapon. Except to most seasoned cooks and chefs, it’s no secret.
Before I begin to discuss the specifics on the filling, let me talk about the fresh pasta for a moment.
In the last year, I’ve become a big fan of making pasta dough in the food processor because it’s easy, blends the ingredients together far more efficiently than these weak arms of mine can, and there is practically no clean up.
The process is simple: put the flour and salt in, pulse a few times, then slowly drizzle in the eggs and olive oil until they’re fully incorporated.
I like a higher ratio of egg yolks to whole eggs in my ravioli recipes, so here I used four whole eggs, four egg yolks and a tablespoon of olive oil. I didn’t need to add any additional moisture, like water, but it was quite humid out today, so if you’re in a drier climate, you may need to (see the recipe for further instructions).
Once the dough is mixed, it’s time to knead. It’s pretty tough to overwork pasta dough, so I really like to get in there and knead aggressively for 8-10 minutes. The more you work the dough, the softer it will be after it’s cooked, and like I said before, I basically want the pasta to melt in my mouth.
At this point the dough needs to be wrapped in plastic, and left to sit at room temperature for at least 45 minutes – this is when you make the filling.
The filling begins as most Bolognese sauces do – with plenty of veggies sautéed in olive oil. Most of the time when I’m making a classic bolgonese, I will basically turn the veggies in to a paste of sorts, but since everything – including the meat – gets basically pulverized in the end, I skip that step here. Once the veggies are slightly softened, the meat goes in until it’s cooked, white wine is added in, followed by the tomato paste and all of the other ingredients. It’s cooked another 10 minutes or so, and then it’s cooled completely before going through a whirl in the food processor.
While the filling cools, the pasta dough gets turned in to beautiful sheets of pasta ready to be stuff. I like to use an old hand-cranked pasta machine to make the pasta sheets, but you could also use one of those Kitchen Aid attachments, both will work perfectly. Also, I used this Ravioli Press, which I highly recommend. The serrated edges allow you to skip using an egg wash to seal the dough, but even more helpful, it also cranks out a ton of raviolis at once.
Once all of the ravioli are made, they quickly get cooked up in a giant pot of salt, boiling water and then they get tossed in a super easy blush cream sauce. You could however, use whatever sauce you prefer. A light alfredo sauce would be lovely, or even a simple brown butter sauce would compliment the filling perfectly.
This, is what dreams are made of…
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ tsp. salt
- 4 eggs
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- ½ cup chopped onion
- ½ cup chopped carrot
- 1½ stalks celery, chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp. salt
- ½ lb. ground beef
- ½ lb. ground pork
- 4 Tbsp. tomato paste
- ½ cup dry white wine
- ¼ tsp. Italian seasoning
- ¼ tsp. nutmeg
- 4 Tbsp. water
- 2 Tbsp. heavy cream
- 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ¾ cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 cup marinara sauce
- Reserved pasta water
- Add flour and salt to the bottom of a food processor. Pulse 3-4 times. Whisk eggs, egg yolks, and olive oil together in a measuring cup. Turn the mixer on and slowly pour in egg mixture. Run the mixer until the dough comes together. Take the lid off and grab a small handful of dough, try to squeeze together, if the dough comes together, it's at the right consistency. If it is still very crumbly, add 1 tsp. of water, mix, and then check again. If necessary, add another teaspoon. You really shouldn't need to add much more than a few teaspoons.
- Once the dough comes together dump on to a very lightly floured surface. Knead by hand for 8 minutes. Don't be afraid to put plenty of pressure on the dough, you really can't overnead the dough, so the more the better! Form into a ball and wrap and plastic wrap. Let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to an hour.
- Heat a medium dutch oven to a medium heat. Add olive oil. Add onion, carrots, celery, garlic and salt. Saute for 3-4 minutes until softened. Add ground beef and pork. Use a wooden spoon to break the meat up, brown until cooked through.
- Add tomato paste. Cook 1 minute. Add wine. Cook until reduced by half and then add italian seasoning, nutmeg, water and heavy cream. Simmer until thick and almost all of the liquid has evaporated, about 3-4 minutes. Turn the heat off and transfer to the bottom of a food processor. Cool completely. Once mixture has cooled completely, add cheese and process in the food procesor until completely ground. Season with salt and pepper.
- While the meat mixture cools, roll the pasta out. Divide the dough in to 8 portions. Take one portion and re-wrap the others while you work. Set the pasta machine to the widest setting. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a rectangle. Feed the pasta through the machine on the widest setting. Fold into thirds and repeat. Send through on the widest setting one more time. With each passing after that go one setting smaller than the last until you get to the smallest setting. Repeat process with another portion of dough.
- Place one sheet of dough on the ravioli press. Press dough down so you can see indentation. Spoon 1 teaspoon full of filling in to each ravioli. Place another sheet of dough over and seal ravioli, making sure there are no air bubbles. Use a rolling pin, to press the layers of pasta together, and to cut the pasta. Pull back excess dough and gently pull ravioli out. Store on a lightly floured surface. Repeat with remaining dough.
- Once all of the ravioli are cut, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. (If you do not have a large stock pot, cooke ravioli in two batches.)Season liberally with salt. Add ravioli. Cook for 5 minutes or until dough is soft and cooked through.
- While the pasta cooks, add cream to a large sauce pan. Turn the heat on medium, once the cream begins to simmer, add cheese. Whisk until melted. Simmer for another minute until it's thickened. Add marinara sauce. Whisk until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
- Once ravioli are done cooking, add to sauce. Toss in the sauce until completely coated. Add a few small ladles of starchy pasta water. Toss to combine. (You want to make sure the heat is still on). Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with parmesan cheese.
*If you use a larger ravioli press than the once described, make sure to put more filling in.