6 filled pasta recipes that will inspire you to dust off your pasta machine

by Pete Dreyer 12 July 2017

A true staple of Italian cuisine, filled pasta is loved the world over. Take a look at our favourite dishes from some of Italy’s top chefs.

Pete worked as a food writer at Great British Chefs.

Pete worked as a food writer at Great British Chefs and trained at Leiths School of Food and Wine in London. Although there’s very little he won’t eat, his real passion is health and nutrition, and showing people that healthy food can be delicious too. When he’s not writing or cooking, you’ll probably find him engrossed in a bowl of pho.

There’s nothing quite like a big bowl of pasta, heaped with sauce and showered with Parmesan. But while pasta is delicious, comforting and incredibly versatile, it sometimes lacks a little elegance.

If you’re wanting to wow your guests, filled pasta might just be the answer – it’s equally versatile with different flavours, but gives you a degree of precision and finesse when it comes to showing off your food on the plate. Not only that, you can prepare your pasta parcels well ahead of time and finish them at the last minute! We’ve pulled together six of our favourite filled pasta recipes, both sweet and savoury, to provide some inspiration.

1. Tortellini stuffed with ragù

Emanuele Scaroni’s open tortellini recipe takes that most sumptuous of Italian comfort foods – a classic ragu – and makes it into a thing of delicate beauty. Ragus vary throughout Italy, but Emanuele’s takes inspiration from Naples, using ground beef and pork, red wine, tomato and herbs to create a sumptuous filling, topped with Parmesan crumble and a Parmesan cream.

2. Egg yolk ravioli

These beautiful golden ravioli make for a starter that is as striking on the plate as it is delicious. Cheese and pasta is a much loved combination, but Daniele Usai uses both Parmesan and stracchino – a soft, creamy cheese typical of northern Italy – to add extra richness and depth of flavour. You can even make and cook these ravioli ahead of time, reheating them and adding a generous showering of shaved truffle just before serving.

3. Cassata-filled almond ravioli with orange soup

We normally associate pasta with savoury courses, but Luigi Sartini proves its versatility with this eye-catching dessert. His pasta dough is made with almond, egg white and icing sugar, and provides a neat parcel for a cassata filling – sweetened ricotta mixed with pistachios, dark chocolate and candied orange peel. To finish, the ravioli are placed atop a zesty orange soup, which cuts beautifully through the rich flavours.

4. Mezzelune ravioli with artichokes, pecorino and thyme

Gaetano Trovato’s beautiful ‘half moon’ parcels are a celebration of both the elegance of filled pasta and one of Italy’s favourite ingredients – the artichoke. Gaetano braises artichokes and mixes with Parmesan, olive oil and thyme for his filling, as well as making artichoke crisps and a creamy pecorino sauce to garnish.

5. Herb and ricotta ravioli

Massimo Spigaroli’s herb and cheese ravioli recipe is as classic and traditional as you’ll find anywhere. Fill your pasta with ricotta, Parmesan and mixed herbs, before sealing, cooking and finishing them in melted butter and a healthy sprinkling of Parmesan. If that sounds rather simple, well, it is, but don’t be fooled – this is a perfect marriage of flavours that needs no further elaboration.

6. Agnolotti with burrata and mint

Purists will argue that this pasta is more tortellini than agnolotti, but it’s no less delicious regardless of its shape. Alessandro Gavagna’s pasta is rather different to your usual dough – made with water and butter instead of egg and olive oil, and filled with with fresh mint and creamy burrata. Alongside, he serves a green pesto and a fresh San Marzano tomato sauce, finishing the dish with a drizzle of good olive oil and a few shavings of Montasio cheese.