Wikipedia Article About Ravioli on Wikipedia
Square or round pillows of egg pasta that have a filling consisting of ingredients such as cheese, meats, vegetables and seasonings. The pillows are formed with two layers of flat pasta, the first layer has a mound of filling placed on top of it and then the second layer is placed over the filling. The edges are then crimped to seal the filling in the pasta. Ravioli can be served with a sauce or it can be served with just butter, oil or cream. If ravioli is not available substitute cappelletti, pansotti or tortellini.
Ravioli is a popular type of pasta, comprised of a filling, commonly though not always meat based, sealed between two layers of pasta dough. Ravioli are commonly rectangular or circular in shape.
Ravioli wrappers are typically simply square fresh pasta sheets about 2" by 2" in size, though the size can vary according to taste. Wonton noodles can be substituted.
A common vegetarian option includes ricotta cheese and vegetables such as spinach or nettles in place of meat. The filling could be also potatoes, squash or even tofu. Though often topped with a red, tomato based sauce, the sauces are as varied as the fillings. Pesto, broth based and cream based sauces are also common.
The word ravioli derives from ravvolgere, the verb meaning "to wrap." Stuffed pasta was probably introduced in the Medieval period in Europe. Pasta was stuffed with meat, fish and vegetables, and could include a creamy cheese like ricotta. Tomato sauce would not have been used, since tomatoes were not introduced in Europe until the 15th century.
In Italy, most regions have their own versions of ravioli, and some of the earliest mentions of the dish come from the personal letters of Francisco di Marco, a merchant of Prato in the 14th century.