Baked fish ravioli from Liguria, Northern Italy.
Fresh seafood and homemade pasta are a match made in foodie heaven! If you are a fish and seafood lover, this baked fish ravioli from Liguria in Northern Italy is an absolute must-try! It’s perfect for special occasions like Valentine’s Day, birthdays and holidays such as Christmas.
Ravioli di mare.
One of my New Year’s resolutions was to make more fresh pasta at home! To this end, my hubby and I spent a recent Sunday making ravioli! We actually made two kinds. One was a sweet ravioli called cjarsons from Friuli filled with ricotta, prunes and figs! Absolutely divine. The second was this baked fish ravioli from Liguria. Also pretty amazing!
A little ravioli history.
Although there are other contenders for the title of inventor of ravioli, some food writers believe that ravioli were actually invented in Liguria by a chef whose surname was ‘Ravioli’! In fact, there are still families with this surname in the region. However, even though there is no concrete evidence of Mr. Ravioli, certainly this type of filled pasta was eaten in Liguria as early as the 12th and 13th centuries. From there its popularity spread to other parts of Northern Italy.
Since seafood is a main ingredient in the Ligurian kitchen, it’s not surprising that fish ravioli is very traditional. However, so too is ravioli with meat. The most famous meat ravioli is served with a sauce known as ‘al tocco di carne’. This is a fantastic slow cooked meat sauce that I have used in a recipe for typical Ligurian pasta, corzetti, but have yet to use for ravioli. It’s on my to-make list!
I found this recipe for baked fish ravioli from Liguria in a book I got for Christmas! It’s called ‘La Cucina, the regional cooking of Italy’. Published by the Academy of Italian Cuisine (L’Accademia della Cucina Italiana), this is one of the best Italian cookery books I have come across. And, to make life easier, it’s in English!
What fish can you use?
When I find a recipe, I always search online on Italian sites for other versions and some more info about it. Needless to say, there are a number of different ways to make both homemade fish ravioli and the sauce for it. But, in general, the fish is usually sea bass, bream, grouper or snapper. Some people use fish fillets, others whole fish. We used a small bream and a small snapper. The whole fish can be poached or baked. We baked our fish as per the recipe we followed.
What are the filling ingredients?
As you can imagine, the filling ingredients differ too. In fact, some recipes call for ricotta and others include borage or spinach. This homemade fish ravioli recipe has neither of those. Apart from the fish; the filling consists of eggs, garlic, marjoram, parsley, olive oil and grated Parmigiano Reggiano. So, it’s relatively simple compared to some other recipes.
Making the pasta dough.
The ravioli pasta dough is made with Italian 00 soft wheat flour, salt and eggs. I used my kitchen stand mixer to make the dough. However, we always like to finish the kneading by hand. We then rolled out the pasta sheets using a pasta maker. Of course, you can do everything by hand too!
What’s in the seafood sauce?
My recipe book doesn’t specify the type of sauce to serve the baked fish ravioli with. In fact, it just says serve hot with a sprinkling of fresh marjoram. However, I found a recipe for a seafood sauce from the website of a restaurant in Genova called Antica Hosteria Pancetti. They make their fish ravioli almost the same way as in this recipe and serve it in the sauce I have used.
This sauce has calamari, clams, mussels and shrimps. It’s a veritable feast! However, it takes a bit more time and money to make than a simple tomato sauce, which would go well too!
Making this baked fish ravioli from Liguria.
Given that this baked fish ravioli recipe requires a number of steps, of course, it’s not a mid-week meal. You need to bake the fish, make the pasta dough, make the sauce and fill and cook the ravioli. However, this is a great recipe for special occasions such as Valentine’s day, special Sunday lunches and other important occasions. Here in Italy, this would be a popular choice for the Christmas table, particularly Christmas Eve when Italians traditionally abstain from meat!
This is a dish that will impress your partner, family or guests no end. You can even make some parts in advance. The uncooked filled ravioli can be made and frozen, then you can cook it from frozen. The cooked seafood sauce can also go in the freezer. In fact, I have both in my freezer for another occasion because I made too much! Of course, you don’t want to leave them in the freezer too long. A month is probably long enough.
Having said that, I really believe that all dishes taste better when eaten freshly made! This baked fish ravioli was divine. In my opinion 5 star restaurant worthy! I’m sure if you make it, you and your guests will think the same!
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If you make this baked fish ravioli recipe, I’d love to hear how it turns out and if you liked it. So, please leave a comment here on the blog or on The Pasta Project Facebook page.
Looking forward to hearing from you!
Other pasta types and recipes from Liguria.
- Corzetti with pesto, beans and potatoes.
- Trofie pasta with pesto
- Corzetti or Croxetti pasta from Liguria
- Trofie pasta from Liguria
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This fabulous homemade fish ravioli with a seafood sauce is perfect for special occasions. It takes a little while to make but is 5 star restaurant worthy! A beautiful authentic Italian pasta recipe.
- 1 kg fresh fish (bream, grouper, snapper or seabass) (2lbs) I used 1 small bream and 1 small snapper
- 1-2 garlic cloves peeled and chopped
- 1 tsp fresh rosemary chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
- 2-3 tbsp Parmigiano Reggiano grated
- 1 tsp fresh marjoram or dried
- 1-2 eggs depending on how much fish you have
- extra virgin olive oil. as required
- 200-300 g Italian 00 soft wheat flour (7-10oz) or all-purpose flour, depending how much ravioli you want to make.
- 2-3 eggs 1 egg per 100g of flour (3.5oz)
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 onion peeled and finely chopped
- 200 g calamari (7oz) fresh or frozen
- 500 g fresh clams (1lb)
- 500 g fresh mussels (1lb)
- 200 g prawns or shrimps (7oz) fresh or frozen
- 2 garlic cloves peeled and finely chopped
- 1 handful fresh parsley chopped
- 1/2 glass dry white wine
- 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil.
Preheat the oven to 200c/400F. If your fish hasn’t been cleaned by the fishmonger you’ll have
to remove the intestines. Clean the fish, rinse it and put it in a roasting pan with ¼ cup olive oil, put half the garlic and the rosemary inside the fish. Cook the fish for about 15-20 minutes depending on the size.
When the fish is cooked through, let it cool a little and then cut away the meat, making sure there are no bones in it or skin. Put the fish meat in a bowl with the rest of the garlic, some more chopped parsley, marjoram and the grated cheese. Add one egg. If the mixture seems dry add the second egg. Mix everything together well to create a firm filling. Set aside.
Put the flour in a mound into a bowl, onto a wooden pastry board or in your stand mixer. If using a bowl or wooden board create a well in the middle of the flour and add the eggs (usually unbeaten) and the salt. Using a fork first beat the eggs and then with the same fork or a pastry scraper bring flour from the edges of the mound into the centre until the eggs are no longer runny.
Then start to knead the dough and continue until you have a homogeneous dough that is only slightly sticky to touch. If the dough is dry add a little water and knead some more. Form the dough into a ball and leave it to rest for 20-30 minutes covered with a tea towel or covered in plastic wrap. I used my kitchen stand mixer to start the dough but finished kneading on my pastry board.
After the dough is ready roll it into thin sheets a couple of millimeters thick with a rolling pin or with the help of a pasta machine. There are two ways you can create the ravioli. We placed scant tablespoons of filling evenly spaced on one side of the pasta sheet and then folded the other half over them.
Some people use 2 pasta sheets. They place the filling evenly spaced on one and then cover with the other. Either way, then press down with your fingers around each filling and then cut out the ravioli squares using a pasta wheel. Let the ravioli sit for about an hour before cooking.
After washing the clams and mussels well (the mussels will need the ‘beards’ removed, put them in a large pan and let them open over a low flame. Once they are open, remove the mollusks, discard any that haven’t opened and filter the liquid they have created through a fine mesh or muslin cloth. I often use a fine tea towel.
Shell the shrimps if needed and clean the squid. Cut the calamari into small rings or strips (we discarded the tentacles for this recipe) and saute them in a frying pan with some olive oil and the chopped onion and garlic. After 5 minutes add the shrimps. Sauté together for a couple more minutes then add the white wine. Let the alcohol evaporate and then add the
clams and mussels, some chopped parsley and a little of the filtered liquid from the mollusks. Cook a little longer until the liquid has reduced.
Cook the ravioli in boiling salted water when you are ready to serve. Depending on the size, they take about 5 minutes. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon rather than using a colander. You can also freeze the uncooked fish ravioli and cook from frozen later. When the ravioli are cooked, plate them and dress with the seafood sauce. Serve immediately.
You can even make some parts of this recipe in advance.The uncooked filled ravioli can be made and frozen, then cooked from frozen. The cooked seafood sauce can also be frozen.
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My sister-in-law’s tea towels!
I don’t know if you noticed the tea towel in one of my photos above. It’s designed by my sister-in-law in UK, Rachel Pedder-Smith. She’s a botanical artist who worked at London’s Kew gardens. The tea towel in my photo is of a painting that was exhibited in the Tate Gallery. I think she’s so talented! Don’t you? Check out her site if you’re interested in learning more or buying her tea towels. She also makes lovely ceramic mugs and scarves. Rachel’s site
Disclaimer: I don’t earn any money if you purchase from Rachel. I mentioned her products just because I really like them!