Nonna’s Homemade Ravioli + Ravioli Day 2014

If the opportunity presents itself, I highly recommend marrying into an Italian family—particularly if the Italian family in question happens to throw parties centered around making hundreds of homemade ravioli.

Finished ProductI married Ben because (among many reasons) I loved him, but the truth is—I fell in love with his family too. They are some of the warmest, most welcoming, fun individuals I’ve ever met, and as any of them will tell you, on Ben’s mom side they are 100% Italian.

Every November, Ben’s aunts, a few uncles, and family friends gather at his Nonna (grandma) and Nono (grandpa)’s house for the annual “Ravioli Day.” Together, they make and freeze hundreds of homemade ravioli, stowing them away for Christmas dinner. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have caught some of the action last weekend.

Group working in the kitchenAlthough this wasn’t my first year eating the illustrious ravioli—the family has been so kind as to save a few for me each year, since we usually spend Christmas in Kansas with my family—it was the first year I’ve been able to join for Ravioli Day. Not only did I learn a thing or two about homemade pasta (it’s harder than it looks, and I’m fortunate to have great teachers), but also I felt incredibly blessed to be a part of such a special family tradition.

Danielle + MeThis isn’t a post about how to make homemade ravioli—I’ll need a few more Ravioli Days and glasses of Prosecco before I’m ready for that—although Nonna was generous enough to let me share her incredible family recipe with you, which can be found at the end of this post.

Me + NonnaRather, I wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on family traditions. As the holidays barrel down upon us, it’s easy to forget what really makes them “the most wonderful time of the year.” It’s only the second week of November, and I already feel stressed about holiday shopping, the skyrocketing prices of plane tickets, squeezing in holiday baking, and did I mention shopping?

Feeding the PastaTraditions like Ravioli Day are a beautiful reminder of what actually makes the holidays wonderful: families gathering together to celebrate in whichever way is most significant to them.

For Ben’s family, who I feel blessed to call my family too, tradition means spending hours on a Saturday making fresh homemade pasta, then patiently waiting nearly two months to gather again and enjoy that pasta together on Christmas. It’s special, it’s reenergizing, and it’s a whole lot of fun.

Me - Making the Pasta
In the spirit of sharing family traditions, Ravioli Day 2014. Our final count: 690 ravs, a family record!

Pasta maker and molds

Flour for ravioli dough

Ellen and Nonna- Finished Ravs

Filling the molds-homemade ravioli

Unmolding the pasta-homemade ravioli

The Crew-Ravioli Day

Thanks for letting me share this special family tradition with you. What are your family’s traditions? I’d love to hear about them!

 

And from Nonna: Homemade Ravioli.

Nonna's Homemade Ravioli

Ben's family's classic Italian ravioli. I've largely left out the method to form and fill the ravioli, as this will vary depending upon your pasta maker and materials, but the filling and dough recipes are absolutely the best I've ever eaten!

Ingredients

Ravioli Filling:

  • Olive oil
  • 2 pounds beef, — twice ground
  • 1/2 pound veal, — twice ground
  • 1/2 pound pork, — twice ground
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 tablespoon garlic — crushed
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 32 ounces chopped frozen spinach, — thawed and pressed dry
  • 16 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs — lightly beaten
  • 1 3/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg

For the Ravioli Dough (Single Batch—you will need 4 batches):

  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup water — or a mixture of water and milk
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Instructions

  1. For the filling: Heat olive oil in a large skillet and brown the three meats, onion, celery, and garlic together until cooked. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let cool, then stir in the spinach, ricotta, eggs, bread crumbs, flour, cheese, nutmeg, and additional salt and pepper to taste. Let come to room temperature before filling the pasta.
  2. For the ravioli dough: Place the flour, eggs, water and oil to a standing mixer and beat with the paddle attachment on low speed for 1 to 2 minutes to blend. Switch to the dough hook, then knead for 5 to 10 minutes until silky. Transfer dough to a board rubbed with a few drops of vegetable oil, lightly rub the top with additional oil, then cover with a large overturned bowl and let rest 10 to 20 minutes.
  3. Cut dough into 8 pieces, then cut into 14 to 16 pieces. Run dough through the pasta maker, lay on forms, and fill ravioli, placing a second sheet of dough on the top. Once made, place ravioli in a single layer on a wax paper lined and lightly floured baking sheet. Dust tops lightly with flour. Cook immediately or freeze and save for Christmas dinner.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Homemade Pasta Recipe, Nonna's Homemade Ravioli

Did you try this recipe? I want to see! Follow Well Plated on Instagram, snap a photo, and tag it #wellplated. I love to know what you are making!

This post contains some affiliate links, which means that I make a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost to you.

About Erin Clarke

I’m fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, travel enthusiast, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN…

60 comments

  1. What a fun tradition and a fun-looking group!! I know what you mean about already feeling the stress of how much there is to do in preparation for the holidays…but a ravioli making party looks like a great way to combat that stress :)

  2. Such a perfect day!! Thank you for sharing your family tradition…I can imagine how delicious those ravioli will be! Nice post!

  3. This is such a great post! Congrats for having an awesome food loving family.

  4. I couldn’t possibly love this post any more. May I join your family? :-P

  5. My mom was part Italian and we made homemade ravioli on Christmas Day every year. It was such a special tradition. Now that she is gone we have struggled to find a way to keep that tradition alive. Thanks for sharing your day! Enjoy the tradition.

  6. Diane Siniscalchi Reply

    I make the cranberry bread my mom always made in a bundt pan. On Christmas Day, before opening presents, we sang Happy Birthday to Jesus in front of the Nativity set. One child held Jesus ( we rotated each year), and then placed Him in the manger. Then we sang Happy Birthday again with candles on the cranberry bread and ate it for breakfast.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this post, and read it to Jim. I love that you were able to be involved in Ben’s family’s tradition of making raviolis. It sounds like you married into, and are part of, a very loving family. Oh, by the way, I married into an Italian family, too! <3

  7. What a great tradition! Love all these photos, Erin! I think I’ll have to find myself and Italian man….:-).

  8. I wish I had married into an Italian family. This sounds so fun and so delicious!

  9. I absolutely love this post. Really resonates with me (I am part of one big Italian family) this reminds me of when my cousins and I were between the ages of 9 and 12, if we had a ped day at school we were all shipped off to my nonna’s where she put us to work helping her make industrial quantities of cavatelli (because we could eat industrial quantities). She’s a lot older now, and too old to do that anymore, but I have taken over the cavatelli making. It is so much work! I have a new appreciation for my nonna!

    • What an incredible tradition Andria! I DEFINITELY have a greater appreciation for homemade pasta now. How special that you have taken your Nonna’s work. I’m sure she’s very proud of you!

  10. I love this post, Erin!!! I didn’t know Ben was Italian until you mentioned the ravioli day while we were in Chicago. . I love this so much. Dude, this is what it’s all about .. making memories, celebrating family traditions. . I love this! In my family, since we are Korean, every New Year, we made homemade mandoo (or wontons/potstickers) and make a Korean soup. The kids are also supposed to bow to their parents and grandparents and any older relatives and they give them good “blessings” or wish them good luck for the new year. . the kids also get money too which is always fun. :P News Years day is huge in the Korean culture.

  11. That is so cool. I wish I had a family tradition like this to share, but I kind of don’t. My mom isn’t so into cooking, so I’m trying to build traditions, like a ton of pie options on Thanksgiving. I’ll join ravioli day any time!

  12. I wish I had family who could teach me how to make homemade pasta! This looks like so much fun, not to mention delicious!

  13. I LOVE this post! I totally understand marrying into an Italian family. My last name is now Loizzo and I am married to a man named Vincent. They are the warmest and loudest people in the world and I love every minute of it! I love this tradition of making homemade raviolis – so yum and so fun!

  14. Hey girl, I hope your enjoying your new house!! This post about the ravioli is so cool. I want a pasta maker some day. I love pasta!! Every year my family on my Mom’s side get together. Last year it was at my cousins house in Van Buren ,AR My husband and I now live in Shawnee, OK around 3 hours away. For years we would gather at my parents house or my grandparents house. Times change. My grandpa has passed away. and my grandma has since remarried and they live in a assisted living place. My other grandparents my Dad’s has passed away to. So I hardly ever see my cousins now. But it is a blessing when I do see my family. Since we don’t live very close.I think this year we are going to my parents house for Christmas.YAY!! I always take a dessert or two. Chocolate candies. Yummy!! But we always have to remember, Christmas is really about Jesus’ birth.

  15. How absolutely adorable is this post Erin, I totally love it! The family traditions and parties are always some of the most memorable, aren’t they?

  16. This is so fun!! I love that everyone comes together to make such a labor intensive dish, a labor of love!

  17. this is incredible! I wish my family had traditions like this. it is so sweet how they’ve welcomed you right into the fold :) enjoy those ravioli!!

  18. What a wonderful tradition!! I married a Norweigan so we spend our holidays making lefse :)

  19. I married into an Italian family and just agree with everything you said! They are incredibly welcoming, some of the nicest people I’ve met! However they don’t have any of these traditions. I want to make pasta!

  20. Wow! What an amazing tradition to be apart of :) We fly Trevor’s mom out for the holidays to be with us and we all hang out and make stuffing and tons of other food, drink eggnog, and watch tons of Christmas movies! No better time of year :)

  21. Love family traditions like these. My Grandma, my Mom and I make hundreds of cookies each year, something the two of them have been doing since before I was born. I hope to someday have my daughter participating in the same traditions. And yes, it’s not just about what the finished products at the end of the day, but the quality time that’s spent just being together. Althoughh I’d take Ravioli over cookies any day. :)

  22. This is such a warm, lovely post! I can’t get enough of it! You are the sweetest :)

    PS I love my in-laws, too! Isn’t it such a blessing? Not many people feel the way we do about in-laws.

  23. What a fun ravioli day. My family makes homemade sausage around New Years time. I could definitely get in the swings of a ravioli day.

  24. Ravioli day sounds like the best day ever! Can I come be an honorary member of Ben’s family next year?

  25. Every year my grandma makes Christmas stöllen and I have begun to take it over. Last year was my first Christmas away from my family, but my grandma didn’t want me to be without stöllen so we had a Skype and stöllen party. Keepin’ the tradition alive!

  26. This looks like so much fun !!!! Was excited to crash this family tradition and then so bummed when I got sick and couldn’t go. Looking forward to seeing you next week !!!
    ,

  27. I absolutely adore this post. What a fun tradition to share with Ben’s fam! And nearly 700?! Holy ravioli! (<– had to ;))

  28. I love family traditions like this, so special! Reading this post makes me want to have a cooking day with loved ones asap!

  29. I love this post soooooo much… Like REALLY love it. You sure pumped out some rav huh? And your apron is beyond cute.
    I have some wonderful Euro friends who often have these big cooking/creating days. The last one I went to was a wine making day, we actually got to stomp on the grapes, then when we were done with wine, we moved inside and made the worlds largest pot of Nap sauce. It was wonderful. I loved feeling a part of a little community. :)
    Wishing you a super weekend lovely one. Cheers from a sun shiny and finally warm Australia. Cheers, Anna

  30. I’ve always wanted to make homemade ravioli! And what a great recipe you have! Thanks!

  31. I made homemade ravi’s with my aunt and uncle last year and it was so much fun!! Awesome post!

  32. I really enjoyed this post. These traditions and family are what holidays are really all about — not all the stressful shopping, etc. The ravioli day looks like so much fun!

  33. I love this! Amazing post Erin!!!

  34. That looks like the best day! Time in the kitchen with family creating wonderful memories like this are my favorite! What a wonderful tradition and oh my goodness – 700 ravioli! I can just imagine how delicious they are!

  35. Hi, this recipe looks great! We are just wondering how to cook it after the preparation is done? You’re directions just finish with “Cook immediately or freeze and save for Christmas dinner” Do you boil the ravioli first before putting in the oven? What temp/time do you put in the oven for? Thanks for sharing the recipe!!!

    • Hi! This recipe is more about making the filled ravioli vs. the cooking method (odd, I know—it’s not one of my usual recipe posts), but here is what I found online to cook the ravioli: 1) Fill a large pot with 2/3 water and bring to a boil. 2) When the water is boiling, add a heavy teaspoon of salt and add the frozen ravioli. 3) Stir immediately so none of the ravioli stick to the bottom of the pot. 4) Cook uncovered 4-6 minutes. I hope that helps!

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