Maybe your chef growing up was your Italian grandmother, who made you fresh ravioli with your favorite pasta sauce from scratch.
Or maybe your chef growing up was Boyardee, empowering you to cook ravioli the easy way, straight from the can with the convenience of a microwave.
Regardless of the cooking process (or dietary deficiencies) of this delightful cheesy filled pasta, ravioli was likely an excellent candidate for your favorite childhood quick pasta dinner.
Here’s how to get the best results by boiling raw ravioli, from making the dough to how long to boil it!
(Psst, you might also want to read How Long Does It Take to Boil Water, Eggs, Potatoes & More)
What is the Difference Between Pasta and Ravioli?
The Japanese have gyoza. The Polish have pierogi. The Italians have a large ravioli. What do all of these have in common? They are all dumplings. All delicious in their own different ways.
What makes ravioli like a dumpling, and not just another pasta dish?
To put it simply, ravioli is stuffed pasta. Its outer surface consists of basic pasta dough, with ravioli filling stuffed inside, typically meat, vegetables, cheese and/or ricotta. The top of the pasta is normally covered in marinara sauce. It can be a main dish or a side or appetizer.
For a long time, I too believed that ravioli was just another tender pasta, which must have the same boiling instructions as large quantities of raw pasta.
But like a dumpling, ravioli cooks in a number of ways, including in a baking dish or frying in a hot skillet or oiled pan.
But the best way (and easiest) way to cook ravioli is to boil them in a pot of water.
Fresh Ravioli vs. Homemade
Fresh ravioli doesn’t necessarily mean homemade. Like other kinds of dumplings, you can purchase pre-made dumplings in the refrigerated section of the grocery store, or frozen pieces.
Keep in mind that buying them ready to cook also means you can’t control what goes inside them! Fresh and frozen ravioli shells will already be stuffed with whatever the packaging says, so you’ll have to be content with that. But hey, it’ll certainly save you some time and equipment!
How to Make Homemade Ravioli Dough
It’s easier than you think and can be quite gratifying to make fresh pasta dough from scratch. I mean, if you go through the effort, then you earn the right to stuff it with whatever you want, from short rib to caramelized mushrooms to ALL the cheese.
So here’s what you need to make the dough (which won’t set you back too much dough).
- 2 cups of all-purpose flour
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup of water
1. Pour the flour into a bowl, then crack 2 eggs into the middle on top of the flour.
2. Beat the eggs until it’s liquified. Then use a fork to mix the flour into the beaten eggs little by little until all the flour is touched by the egg.
Guess what? You have yourself some dough now!
3. Choose a work surface and spread a little bit of flour on it. Move the dough from the bowl onto the floured surface, and knead it until it’s pliable. Let it rest for about 15 to 20 minutes.
4. Roll out the dough as flat as you can until it resembles a single-layer thin sheet. If you had a pasta machine, you can get it nice and thin.
Now, this is the portion that is technically pasta. If you wanted, you could at this point cut this dough up into pieces of linguine.
But don’t be tempted. Ravioli calls you. Answer it…
5. Take this thin layer and divide the pasta dough in half. For the first half of the pasta sheet, take a ravioli mold cutter (or cookie cutter if size appropriate), and cut out what will be the bottom layer of the ravioli. Then you’ll take the second of the two pasta sheets, and use the ravioli cutter to cut the same amount out of the dough to be the top layer of the ravioli.
6. Now, take that 3rd egg and 1 cup of water and whisk them together to make an egg wash. Use this egg wash to brush the edges of the ravioli-shaped dough you cut out, so you could place the filling on the bottom layer, then place the second layer of ravioli dough over it and seal the edges together.
How Do You Boil Perfect Ravioli?
Don’t worry, now is the easy part!
Take a large pot of water (about 6 quarts of water) sprinkle in some salt and place it on high heat until it’s a rolling boil.
Add about 4 teaspoons of olive oil or vegetable oil to this boiling water and wait for it to boil again if adding the oil stopped the boil.
Then add the ravioli in small enough batches that they do not crowd each other too much.
How Long to Boil Fresh Ravioli?
It takes approximately 4 to 6 minutes to boil ravioli, but there’s an easy trick to know when to take them out. When done, ravioli floats! So, once they pop up to the top of the water, you can remove them.
You should remove them with a slotted spoon and place them in a large strainer to drain out the excess pasta water.
If you bought the ravioli at the store, follow the directions on the package. The same boiling instructions apply to frozen ravioli. Just wait until they float to the top.
Tip: If the ravioli splits open, reduce the heat of the hot water to a gentle simmer. The high heat could be the reason it’s splitting open.
Your fresh ravioli is now cooked and ready to eat. Just top it off with your favorite sauce for extra flavor and enjoy!