Unusual Fillings for Ravioli

Pasta is uniquely satisfying, cozy and delicious. Ravioli is one of the best-loved types of pasta that you can make and enjoy. Unfortunately, the typical ravioli fillings are often the same old, same old. Rev up your dinner table with unusual fillings for ravioli, and watch as they disappear off the plate.

You can do it

Anyone can make ravioli now that premade fresh pasta sheets are widely available. Many grocery stores and Italian markets carry the pasta sheets fresh or frozen. In a pinch, use alternatives, such as wonton wrappers. These Asian pasta sheets are lighter and more delicate-and the filling should be, too.

Get creative with the filling

What do you like? Imagine your favorite flavors and pairings. Design your own ravioli to your taste, personalize it for a specific event or just have some fun. Recreate a classic with a new twist. A few unusual filling ideas are:

  • Chicken Parmesan. The filling for this little pocket includes finely shredded, cooked chicken mixed with herbs, garlic and Parmesan cheese. Serve it with warm marinara sauce.

  • Lobster or shrimp scampi. Combine precooked lobster meat or chopped raw shrimp with garlic, salt and pepper. Moisten the mixture lightly with lemon and olive oil. Serve the ravioli with olive oil and butter sauce.

  • Thai beef. Any leftover beef from a roast or steak can be chopped up finely and mixed with garlic, red pepper, cooked rice, finely minced onion, cilantro, lime juice and a bit of fish sauce for authentic flavor and to moisten. Serve steamed with soy, garlic or red pepper oil for dipping.

  • Turkey dinner. Sounds crazy, but it tastes great. This funky creation is thanks to Giada De Laurentiis of the Food Network. Leftover turkey chopped (or ground turkey) with a touch of cranberry, bread crumbs, Romano cheese, parsley and salt and pepper make an unusual and tasty filling. Serve it with turkey or chicken gravy instead of tomato sauce.

  • Chocolate. Someone had to say it: chocolate ravioli. Chocolate is sublime for sure, so why not make a ravioli with it? De Laurentiis recommends trying a chocolate hazelnut spread filling tucked inside a crispy, fried wonton skin. Simply dab a bit of spread in the center of the wonton skin. Fold one corner of the square across to create a triangle. Seal the edges with egg wash and crimp. Fry the little pocket in hot vegetable oil for a minute or two. Drain and serve with powdered sugar.

Ravioli basics

Sandwich your chosen ravioli filling between two pasta squares, dampening the perimeter of one square so the entire pocket sticks together. When it comes to filling, less is more. Avoid overstuffing ravioli. Crimp ravioli with a fork to seal the filling inside. Boil or steam the pasta quickly. Wontons will be done in two to three minutes. Italian pasta-based ravioli may take a couple of additional minutes.

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