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The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken


When The Daring Kitchen asked me to review “The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken” by Laura Schenone, I was excited because I had seen the book before and I have quite an interest in making ravioli.  This particular ravioli is made with a special rolling pin that has a checkerboard pattern which makes ravioli very quickly.  It's a fun method to try and I think if you are a beginner to ravioli, it is an especially easy method. 

Laura Schenone is a food writer living in Hoboken, New Jersey who becomes a little obsessed in her search for the origins of the family ravioli recipe.  The ravioli was originally made by her Italian great grandmother, Adalgiza, who immigrated to New Jersey from Italy.  Her quest for this recipe leads her to long lost cousins and aunts across the country who finally send her the original ravioli recipe.

When she receives the original recipe, however, it contains a surprising ingredient – Philadelphia Cream Cheese.  Laura is stumped by this – why on earth would her Italian ancestor make her ravioli with this very American ingredient?  The recipe also contains ground veal and ground pork, but they are left raw in the assembly of the ravioli.  She had never heard of leaving the meat raw in ravioli.  She even consults Marcella Hazan and Giuliano Bugialli for answers.  They are just as mystified. Her curiosity consumes her and in her search for the answers, she travels to Liguria, from where her great grandparents immigrated and learns ravioli making from all sorts of people. She realizes the absurdity of her quest to find the authentic recipe when she finds herself interviewing Sergio Rossi, director of the Genoa chapter of the organization devoted to conserving the culture and foods of the Mediterranean.  He is a little confused about her search for such an authentic recipe and tells her, “There is no one taste,” he says. “Each village has its own way.  Each family has its own way.  Things vary even within a family.  I can share with you my tradition, but not the tradition.”   And there lies the great lesson of the book – there is no one way to make something.

I made the family’s traditional cream cheese ravioli recipe.  I was anxious to know what the cream cheese would be like in the filling.  This recipe calls for the raw meat, of course, but I couldn’t bring myself to do that so I did cook it and then put it through my meat grinder so it would be very fine, which is important when making a filling for ravioli.  Otherwise, I made the recipe exactly from the book and it was delicious.  I loved the tanginess of the cream cheese.  I also liked using the checkered rolling pin because I believe you can make ravioli faster this way and my husband liked the fact that there were no “borders” around the individual raviolo and so the ravioli were mostly stuffing.

The meats need to be ground fairly fine for ravioli.  I used my KitchenAid meat grinder attachment.  If you don't have one, you can use your food processor.  

If you would like to read the full review I wrote of the book, please go to The Daring Kitchen. 

Adalgiza and Tessie's Ravioli

adapted from The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken

for a printable recipe, click here

Makes 250-300 ravioli.  (I cut the recipe in half when I made it and had over 100 ravioli)

The recipe is printed exactly as it was in her original recipe.  The notes in parentheses is just how I changed it a little when I made it.


For the pasta:

  • 5 cups of flour
  • 3 teaspoons of salt
  • 2 eggs (I doubled the amount of eggs)
  • 1-1/2 cups water, approximately (start slow and use judgment) 


For the Filling:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature 
  • 1 or 2 boxes frozen chopped spinach, thawed, cooked, and all water squeezed out (I used fresh spinach, about 10 ounces, steamed, water squeezed out and then finely chopped)
  • 1 pound veal, ground finely 
  • 1 pound pork, ground finely
  • salt and pepper
  • dash freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons fresh marjoram, finely minced, or 1 teaspoon dry (optional)
  • 1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano 
  • 3 eggs



Make your pasta dough, wrap in floured plastic, and let it rest.  

Brown the meats in a fry pan.  Let cool.  Run the meat through a grinder (or food processor), so it is very fine.

In a large bowl, cream the cheese with an electric mixer until it is soft.  Add the spinach, meats and seasonings.  Mix well with a wooden spoon to combine.  Add the cheese and eggs.

Roll out the dough very thin (on my rollers, I do not go past #5 for ravioli - otherwise the ravioli can break).

When you have two sheets of dough (or one very long sheet, cut in half) lay one sheet on your workspace, spread some of the filling thinly on the pasta, leaving a half inch border.  Lay the other sheet on top.  Roll firmly with the checkered pin.  Cut the ravioli apart with a fluted pastry wheel.

Place the ravioli on a floured sheet pan.  (If you want to freeze these, pop the pan into the freezer and place the frozen ravioli in ziplock bags.  No need to thaw when you cook them).   If you are not cooking the ravioli within an hour, place them in the refrigerator.  

Continue to make the ravioli until all your filling is used.

Cook in a large pot of salted water for about 2-3 minutes.  Don't let the ravioli boil too vigorously or they may break apart.  Remove with a slotted spoon and serve with a little marinara sauce.

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Reader Comments (58)

What an interesting recipe!! I will definitely try this. How true that there is no "one" way. I remember my grandmother and her sisters all heving their own way with family recipes. Wonderful post
xoxo Pattie

February 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPattie

Did I miss where you purchased your ravioli rolling pin? It looks fantastic! I see you are in Michigan. I am in East Lansing. Nice to meet you!

From The Italian Dish:


In the fourth paragraph, if you click on the words "checkered rolling pin", it has a link to where you can purchase it. Also, if you click on the photograph of the rolling pin, that is a link too. Nice to hear from a fellow MIchigander!

February 12, 2010 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

I have had one of these rolling pins forever and love it. It was handed down by my nonna along with a rolling pin that had designs on it of different florals and animals. I cherish them dearly! She used to use the designed rolling pin for corzetti since her original mold had been lost for years. When we got older, she showed us how to make corzetti with cookie molds which turned out quite nicely.

I have read the Lost Ravioli book as well and fell in love with the way in which she describes the food and the history. Shortly after reading it, I purchased it and it is in my huge book collection now! : ) It is so true in her book about how different things can be from one region to another. My family stems from one of the most southern points of Calabria and things can be different just a few towns away!

Blessings to you and yours!

February 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGiovanna

This looks amazing! These are two gadgets that my kitchen has yet to gain! The checkered rolling pin and pastry wheel are two items i am adding to my list!

February 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterErikaKay

Wonderful post and photos. I must have one of those ravioli rolling pins!

February 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDawn (KitchenTravels)

My family has always used uncooked meat in our ravioli. Possibly we cook ours longer than 2-3 minutes but the meat cooks while the ravioli boils. Hadn't heard about the cream cheese though.

February 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie

I've often wondered about using the "rolling pin" method for ravioli, but always feared they wouldn't seal properly. Sounds like they do. Thanks for the great post, Claire.

February 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPatrice

The rolling pin method is awesome, more filling less dough! Never ever heard of cream cheese, would you make it again using it? Just curious.

February 14, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermarie

I have got to get one of those rolling pins! I just know I'll find a hundred uses for it in and out of the kitchen.

February 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge

Laura's book is wonderful isn't it? and so are her recipes. It looks like you really did justice to one of them. I'm wishing I had a plate of ravioli right now.

February 15, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterciaochowlinda

Beautiful post! Simply nothing like homemade pasta ; ) & now I MUST have that rolling pin. Perfect Ravioli Elaine. Baci!

February 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPaula - bell'alimento

In the republic of Georgia, they make a dumpling that is cooked with the meat raw. The juices are then sucked out of the dumpling first. It's tradition that the juice doesn't hit the plate. I, too would have a hard time with raw meat and would have to cook it. I've never used that rolling pin, but it sure is easier than what I do. Amazing recipe.

February 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAngela@Spinachtiger

That is the coolest ravioli maker I have ever seen...I remember my grandmother making ravioli and hanging the dough between two chairs in her basement, where all of our wonderful family dinners were held...I may just attempt my own version....thanks for sharing the step by step!

February 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLinda

I've never seen ravioli being made before. Looking at these pictures made me so happy!

February 25, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterseattle dui lawyer

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March 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMadison Harris

Hi Elaine. One question about this ravioli cutter is the matter of spreading out the filling and cutting through it, doesn't that make for an obstruction to a good seal?

March 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKaren Hitchcock

From The Italian Dish:

Karen: I wondered the same thing the first time I used the ravioli rolling pin, but it really isn't an issue. If don't spread the filling on real thick, it will seal just right. I did have to discard some of the ravioli on the very edge, of course, because they weren't sealed right, but the rest were just fine and cooked up great. Good luck!

March 9, 2010 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Now that's what I think of when I think of homemade ravioli!! Is that because that's the kind of roller my friend had? Could be. Is it because it's the size and shape of the artisan ravioli I'm used to running into? Could be. Regardless...I love your technique and tips!! And I truly appreciate you sharing the concepts with us! Thanks so very much!

March 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGlennis

How exciting to see this recipe! In my 9th grade home ec class (circa 1973) I along with 3 girl friends made a manicotti recipe using the cream cheese. It has become a signature dish for me to this day. I
agree that recipes are meant to have our own spin to them. BUT if I want my Mother's anything, I make it just as she did to try and come close to hers.

April 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPenny Wolf

omg! i've been using a ravioli tray all these years. it's exhausting work. i'm definitely buying this rolling pin!

August 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnne

Hey! Have you ever tried pie-dough and jelly with a little sugar and cinnamon on top? I bet that rolling pin would work great for that !!!!! Mmmmmmmm. LOL

December 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMommajozy

From The Italian Dish:

Mommajozy: That sounds crazy good! Great idea!

December 15, 2010 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Elaine, I just came across your site and your ravioli's look wonderful! I love that rolling pin. My grandma was from Italy and I used to watch her make pasta for many years. I do have a question for you though, is there a difference with using unbleached versus bleached flour with pasta dough?

December 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKelly

From The Italian Dish:

Kelly: I have never bought beached flour! Is that something that you usually buy? I only buy unbleached all-purpose flour. I don't know why you would buy the bleached kind. I would assume that they are interchangeable, but you may want to research that.

December 20, 2010 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Hi Elaine, thanks for getting back to me. Yes, unfortunately, I always bought the bleached flour and never paid too much attention to the other different kinds of flour. I'm learning quite a bit and will never buy bleached again. I'm actually trying the Kings Arthur Organic Flour for the first time.

December 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKelly

How do I get this Ravioli rolling pin here in Canada, I tried buying and it does not ship out here, any ideas where I can get it in Canada.?

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTina

Dare I long does it take to make the ravioli from beginning to end? Looks delish but definitely a rainy sunday afternoon culinary endeavor!

February 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermaria

What a neat ravioli tool! I'm going to have to find one of those :)

February 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLamb

I thought i was the only person with the name Adalgisa!!!
what a great recipe and you must be Italian!!!

April 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAdalgisa

I've had one of these rolling-pins for years- but never knew what it was for until now! Thank god I love ravioli... :-P I also have round and square single-piece cutters- but, from experience, this is the way to go! loved your post and am now intrigued about this book- thanks and cheers!

May 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterpelicano

I just made some ravioli using my checkered pin for the first time. It was quite easy and the end product turned out quite well. I was however a little disappointed in the size of the pasta; I was hoping for larger squares, but I haven't been able to find a pin with larger squares. Any suggestions?

Also, I'm intrigued by the imprinted pasta medallions that are found at the top of your home page. What sort of tool did you use to make the design?

Thanks for a great site!

June 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara

From The Italian Dish:

Barbara: I have not seen a rolling pin that makes larger ravioli - this is the standard size for these pins. If you want larger, ravioli, you will have to use a mold or do them by hand.

The pasta medallions on my banner are called "Corzetti". There is a post about how to make them under "Pasta" in my Recipe Index.

June 13, 2011 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Nice post. Since I am a woodworker, I think I will turn a checked rolling pin and then make this recipe, or some close variation.
Question though, why were you cocerned about the raw meat, but not the raw eggs in the filling? I would assume that boiling water would heat the filling to a safe temperature, but if you have doubts that it would, then your eggs would still be undercooked as well as the meat. Pork, veal and eggs should reach 160 degrees F to be consitered medium done.

June 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMark

From The Italian Dish:

Mark: I don't worry about the egg because egg cooks so very quickly in boiling water. I'm sure that the raw meat would be fine because the individual raviolis are so small, but I just feel better cooking it beforehand! Good luck on making a ravioli pin- that would be a great project!

June 19, 2011 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Your recipe matches my authentic historic Italian recipe with minor variations. From Genoa. Your pictures are perfect, just how vintage Italian ravs look. Mine are hand rolled with rolling pin, no pasta machine. Then the rav rolling pin. Bigger sheets than just four in row. No cream cheese. Just Parmesan. Stack fresh ravs with wax paper between layers and freeze. To cook drop in boiling water frozen. I use beef, veal, pork finely ground and canned Spinach. Filling also includes grated yellow onion, eggs, garlic, grated celery, bread crumbs, parsley, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Remember for every 2 cups of flour always use three whole eggs and warm water. My batches are based on 5 lbs of flour so I make 1500 in a batch. Frozen they keep for 6 months. Good luck, Rich

I hope you enjoyed my comments. I forgot, I do not precook the meat, it becomes fully cooked when the ravs all rise and float in the moderate boiling water. Rich

August 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRich

If you wanted to make the raw meat recipe, how would the directions differ? Do you cook it longer? Thanks for your wonderful pictorial recipe! I've never made ravioli before but recently got a pasta machine and am looking forward to making fresh ravioli. I don't eat cheese so is it okay to leave out the cheese in this recipe. I've used ricotta and cream cheese before in other recipes so I suppose I could substitute if leaving out the regular cheese would make a big difference. Beautiful pics!

September 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDianna

You mix the flling according to the recipe. So that the meat is raw like you would do with meat balls or hamburger. By immediately freezing the ravs the raw meat is protected from any spoilage. If you cook them immediately their is also no problem. The fresh ravs simply cook a little quicker, that is they raise to the top of the boiling Water a little sooner, both type of batches fully cook when they all rise to float on the boiling water. Moderate boiling or you may lose some to opening. Takes about ten minutes to fully cook. Add to water after it is boiling. Leave the cheese out they will still be delicious, just taste a little different. Rich

September 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRich

This is almost the exact recipe my Noni made except for the cream cheese.
She settled in Tenafly, New Jersey. I just checked with my mom and she said that my grandmother used raw pork and veal and because the amount in each ravioli is so small that the meat was sufficiently cooked.

January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMaddie

I need one of these rollers, how neat! These look fantastic!

February 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJen

this is for the lady in canada, you can purchase the rolling pin on as i also live and canada and have already gone on the site, hope this helps

February 22, 2013 | Unregistered Commentergitte

What kind of flour do you recommend for this recipe?

March 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

Hello I was wonderinf if anyone has heard of a round ravioli called anaolini soup?

October 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPaula

I've seen this rolling pin at "Sur la table".

November 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJimmy V

Read your recipe - my family has hand made pork and spinach ravioli (they are from the Genoa region) for the past 150 years - at least. The recipe is basically the same but without the beef. The pasta is made with uncooked pork - the eight minutes in boiling salted water fully cooks the ingredients which are made from first quality pork, spinach, Pecorino Romano cheese, home made bread crumbs, sage, and garlic.

After the dough is made this is put on a cutting board that has been oiled with extra virgin olive oil. The dough gets a coating, a warm clear class bowl is inverted over the dough, and left for about 10 minutes or so to allow all the ingredients to meld together - the dough is then very soft and elastic.

When the raviolis are made, they are dusted with corn meal or fine polenta. The reason - when the pasta is cooked, the meat inside creates a broth, the polenta helps flavor it, and then the freshly made and frozen scraps of dough (after all the raviolis are made) are cut into fine pasta shapes and used in the broth for a soup and served with fresh real Italian semolina bread.

The sauce is a pork - porcini sauce which truly complements the raviolis and have an earthly taste. Red sauce with this recipe - not from this region - those are adaptations from the mid and south of Italy or US Italians homogenizing the sauce for local tastes.

December 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJim M

From The Italian Dish:

Jim: Thank you so much for your informative comment. Wow. I love all the unique cooking techniques of your family. Found this so interesting! Thanks for sharing.

December 21, 2013 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

This is almost identical to my family's recipe which has been my favorite dish as long as I can remember. My grandfather's family is from Abbruzo and this is their recipe. The filling is made by mixing one box of frozen spinach, one stick of cream cheese, and one pound of ground beef...that's it! The beef is not cooked before going into the ravioli. It is cooked when the ravioli is placed in the boiling water and as soon as it is done, so are the ravs!

December 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJason S.

Thank you so much for a beautiful post!!!!! I have the rolling pin but was always afraid of using it since I didn't know exactly how it works. So glad you show us how!!!
I have one question, though: on the list of the ingredients for the dough, it says two eggs (I doubled the amount), it's not clear for me if it was one egg and you used two or that the original recipe says 2 eggs and you used 4 eggs?
Again, THANK YOU!!!!

April 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMCME

From The Italian Dish:

MCME: Thank you for pointing this out. It really isn't clear is it? I will go back and clarify it in the post. The recipe as I have written is exactly how it was in the book. Within the parentheses I made notations of how I changed it when I made it. I like using more eggs than she does for my pasta dough. Hope this helps!

April 13, 2014 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

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