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History of Ravioli

20th March Ravioli Day

 

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Go to:   How to make Ravioli  |    Main History Index Page  |  History of World Cuisines

 

Although no-one can be sure when Ravioli were first made, the earliest written mentions appear in 14th century manuscripts including pieces by  Francesco di Marco Datini, a merchant of Prato, Tuscany  and in a Venetian manuscript which had a ravioli recipe consisting of chopped blanched green herbs mixed with beaten egg and fresh cheese which was simmered in broth Ė a very traditional way of eating ravioli (al brodo) which is still observed today.

 

References have also been found dating back to mid 16th century Rome when  Bartolomeo Scappi served them to the papal conclave of 1549.

 

There is a long tradition of serving vegetarian ravioli in Italy, particularly on Fridays and during Lent, when the eating of meat was prohibited.

 

Traditional Italian fillings include ricotta mixed with grated cheese and vegetables such as spinach or pureed vegetables although, as with many recipes, location also had a bearing on the type of ravioli made e.g. seafood ravioli being popular in the costal areas of Italy and they were traditionally served with melted butter and/or grated cheese.

 

Serving ravioli with tomato based sauces didnít start until the 16th century when tomatoes were introduced to Italy from the New World.

 

It may seem surprising, but Ravioli were also known in England by the 14th century and were mentioned in a cookbook which was compiled around 1390 by the master-cooks of King Richard II  called The Forme of Cury listed as "rauioles".

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