Posts Tagged ‘Ravioli’


After interviewing Julie about her family’s Christmas ravioli extravaganza I was inspired. I love dough and pasta, then heck, I should make some ravioli’s too!

So it began.

For 2 weeks I made ravioli’s by myself. I made pumpkin which turned out a little too pumpkin-y and chicken sausage, which was good, but I was wearing out. Yes, as I should have learned from the interview, making lots of ravioli might require more hands. I called SOS and my trusty help came running. Thank you family.


Cheese filling.


Dad picked his own apron fyi.

Ravioli Exhaustion. I owe her yet again.



This was a BYOB party (Bring your own bowl). I did this partly to save on late night dishwashing and mostly because it was kind of fun to tell people. The party started at 5pm and lasted until 9pm. I wanted people to feel like they could drop by and weren’t committed to midnight.


Cheese Ravioli

Pumpkin Ravioli

Chicken Sausage Ravioli

Dad’s Spaghetti Sauce (with a little help from Paul Newman)

Dad’s meatballs

Garlic Butter Sauce


Garlic Butter

Plain Butter




Sparkling Cider

Diet Coke



Desserts: (another bowl friendly item)

Ice cream: Chocolate Fudge, Vanilla, Cookie Dough, and Peppermint

Toasts and celebrating every hour on the hour!

The party was a smash, at least I think so. The best thing about this experience was that I got to talk to almost everyone! This is usually not the case when I’m hosting. Since I decided to serve each person to order from the stove, I had the chance to chat with my guests. Yes, it was busy night boiling for me, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.

We had so much fun. The pumpkin ravioli’s turned out to be the big hit! Who knew? Certainly not this hearty eater.

And then there were the toasts. Every hour until all the guests left. I thought people might tire of the toasting, but no one did. In fact I think people liked it even more as the night went on.

Each guest took home one or two individually wrapped cinnamon rolls. I made 60 in total! I love the idea of celebrating the sweetness of a new year with something yummy. (I stole this idea from a children’s book author that I like). For the recipe see my blog about my grandmother’s cinnamon rolls.

With one guest left we invited her to participate in our New Year’s ritual.

That night we received a message that one of younger guests was still requesting dad’s meatballs when he was tucked into bed. People did scrape the bowl looking for more.

Here’s the recipe so you can enjoy them too!

Dad’s Meatballs:

1/2 pound of Italian sausage

1/2 pound hamburger

1/2 cup bread crumbs

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

garlic salt and pepper to taste

2 eggs

(dad also tossed in some black olives and chopped tomatoes in some of the meatballs)

Butter for frying (2 to 3 tablespoons)

How to:

Mix all ingredients together (except butter) in a large bowl.

Form golf ball sized meatballs and set aside on a plate.

Melt butter in a deep frying pan. Add meatballs.

Fry in pan until cooked through and brown on the outside.

Serves 10

What an excellent way to start the new year. All that work was so worth it!


Thank you Kendra for the use her pictures, Jennifer for helping out at the stove and Roger for answering the front door!


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Julie learned her Christmas food tradition not from her own grandmother, but her husband’s grandmother

“My husband’s mother is of Italian heritage. Her parents my husband’s grandparents, lives centered around food and family. They had several customs that are SO much a part of my husband’s childhood. My mother-in-law does not cook at all — so they taught me (and my sister-in-law) many of their traditions before they died.”

This annual chaotic, happy ravioli-making extravaganza isn’t just a group effort but a celebration of the way we become family. I found the idea of making ravioli so exciting, I decided to take it on my self. See the New Years post for more!

Lucille Bivona Piraro’s Ravioli and Meatballs

This recipe makes enough filling for 80-100 large ravioli.  Easy to cut recipe in thirds for smaller amounts.




1 ½ lb ground beef

1 ½ lb ground pork

Handful of chopped Italian parsley

3 packages frozen chopped spinach – thawed, drained

1 cup grated Romano cheese

2 or 3 hard-boiled eggs, finely chopped

3 or 4 raw eggs, lightly beaten

Olive oil – add as needed to moisten filling

Salt and pepper to taste

Brown meat, drain excess fat.  Mix together with all other ingredients.


3 cups all-purpose flour (or ½ cup semolina, 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour)

1 tsp salt

4 eggs

1 TB olive oil

2 TB water

Mix flour and salt in large bowl or on clean work surface.  Make a well in the center and add eggs, olive oil and water.  Beat eggs with a fork and begin incorporating flour mixture until a firm dough forms.  Need the dough for 10 minutes until pliable and smooth.  Cover it with damp cloth and let it rest for a few minutes.  Take handful of dough and work with through a pasta machine, starting with highest setting and repeat running it through three or four times.  Gradually work down to lowest setting (or desired thickness).  Use ravioli molds as directed to assemble.


On floured work surface, lay the long strip of pasta flat.  Place rounded tablespoonful of filling (or use small ice cream scoop) on the strip approx 3-4 inches apart.  Brush  water around filling and add another flat strip of pasta on top (or fold the bottom one over).  Gently press two strips together, while pressing the air out around the filling.  Evenly cut the ravioli to desired size using a rolling pastry cutter.  (I make approx 3 ½ – 4 inch squares).  Use the ends of a fork to crimp the edges of each one, being careful not to poke holes in the dough.  Cook immediately or freeze on cookie sheets until no longer sticky.  Transfer to plastic bags for longer storage in freezer.  Cook in boiling water (without thawing).

Serve with pasta sauce and meatballs!


This recipe makes 12-15 meatballs.  I triple it to go with the full recipe above.


½ lb ground beef

½ lb ground pork

2 slices white bread with crusts cut off, soaked in milk

½ cup Italian bread crumbs

½ cup romano or parmesan cheese (or combo)

1 beaten egg

¼ cup parsley, chopped

1 garlic clove, pressed

2 tsp dried oregano (or 1 TB fresh)

1 tsp dried basil (or 1 ½ tsp fresh)

dash of red pepper flakes

salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients together, gently.  Lightly form meatballs, approx 2” in diameter.

Put meatballs in 9×13 baking dish and add beef broth to ½ inch to 1 inch in-depth. Bake in 425 degree oven for 25 minutes.  Add to simmering tomato sauce to continue cooking.

Basic Tomato Sauce

This is enough sauce to go with 12-15 meatballs.  I usually triple it as well, if needed.

½ onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, pressed or minced

2-3 small cans tomato paste

8 cans water

1 14.5 oz can diced or crushed tomatoes



1 TB sugar

dash cinnamon

basil, parsley (fresh or dried) as desired

1 bay leaf

Brown onion in olive oil until soft.  Add garlic and stir for a minute.  Add tomato paste and water, stirring until paste is dissolved.   Add all other ingredients, stirring.  Bring to a boil and simmer for an hour or more, stirring occasionally.  Add meatballs and continue simmering until meatballs are cooked through

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