Raviole Bolognesi are one of the best-kept secrets of my region. Not common outside of Bologna, but deeply rooted in our tradition, raviole (singular: raviola) are a sweet-not too sweet treat that reminds me of my childhood. A typical snack that my mom used to bake on Sunday for the whole week, today I want to share with you my original family recipe!
Raviole, not ravioli!
First of all, raviole is not ravioli! There will be for sure a lot of confusion in my friends abroad: don’t worry, even in Italy most of the time I say raviole someone corrects “maybe you meant ravioli?” 🙂
In my region, Emilia Romagna, there is a huge tradition of filled, fresh pasta: just think of tortellini, ravioli, cappelletti, cappellacci, anolini, only to mention some of the traditional shapes that come filled with different types of meat, cheese, herbs.
Well, what is less known, is that there is a peasant tradition of creating similar shapes of sweet pastry, filling them with jam or mustard and using the same (or almost the same) names!
That’s why you have raviole in Bologna (similar to ravioli) or tortelli dolci in Parma.
Raviole bolognesi: the tradition
But, are raviole typical of a particular time of the year? Thanks for asking!
Today, raviole in Bologna are the typical gift for Father’s day, that is celebrated in Italy on San Giuseppe (St Joseph) day (March 19th).
This festivity, thinking about the rural past of my Country, is strongly connected to celebrate returning to the work in the fields, after the long winter stop, and that took place on San Giuseppe day. Being this work mainly a men’s one, the connection between celebrating the springtime and celebrating grown-up men (“fathers”) was easily done.
Originally, on St Joseph day, small bags full of raviole were left hanging from the hedges beside the paths from the villages to the fields, so that men could get their treats while going back to work.
Of course, in different parts of Italy there are different traditions to celebrate Father’s day. If you go to Naples, and in most Southern Italy, you won’t find raviole, but you will taste zeppole di San Giovanni… another delicious surprise.
Why that color?
You might be wondering why some of the raviole in my picture are ruby red. That’s because in Emilia-Romagna we traditionally use a liquor named Alkermes (or Alchermes), that gives the typical color not only to raviole, but also to “zuppa inglese“. This liquor is particularly hard to find abroad, I was able to find this one… my advice: if you like our traditional food, when it’s not out of stock, don’t miss the chance! 😉
But now it’s finally time to cook your first raviole bolognesi following my mom’s recipe!
And if you like this recipe… PIN IT! 🙂
- a bowl or a standing mixer
- a cookies mold
- a spoon
- plastic film
- a rolling pin
- an oven tray
- 2 eggs
- 480 gr all purpose flour
- 140 gr butter
- 180 gr sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 lemon's zest
- 60 gr milk
- 150 gr bolognese mustard
- q.s. Alkermes liquor (optional)
- In a bowl or using a standing mixer, start slowly mixing the flour, the baking powder, the lemon zest and the butter.
- Add the sugar…
- … the eggs..
- … and the milk.
- Adding the milk slowly, you will obtain the desired texture.
- The final result is a rich shortcrust pastry, that you will wrap in plastic film. Put it into the fridge, where it will rest (minimum 1 hour, ideally 3-4 hours).
- After the resting period, roll it with a rolling pin and cut circles with the mold. Turn on the oven at 170 °C.
- Put at the centre of each circle a teaspoon of mustard, then close the shapes creating the raviole. Press the borders so they don't open while cooking.
- Place the raviole on a baking tray covered with baking paper. With a finger, moist the top with some milk, spray with some sugar and put them into the oven.
- After 20 minutes, the raviole are ready! PRO TIP: you can moist the raviole with some alkermes liquor, with its typical dark pink color. Amazing! 🙂
- use all the ingredients at ambient temperature
- if you cannot find bolognese mustard (quite likely…) use a not too sweet jam. My choice would be a green tomatoes jam (absolutely delicious and a perfect pairing imho).
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