Inside-Out Ravioli

Inside-Out Ravioli

I, as a child, was an absurdly picky eater. I have alluded to this on occasion, but I’ve held back on detailing my full blown neurosis for quite some time. Let’s discuss.

The first few minutes of my dinner were devoted to inspection. I would sift through and overturn every single thing on my plate, searching for a rogue onion that might have managed to latch onto my special, onion-free latke, or any other suspect ingredients that my mother might be trying to sneak by me. She once cut up pear slices and tried to pass them off as apples. I had none of that. She also once forgot to separate out my special latke before adding onions to the mixture, and served it to me convinced that I wouldn’t notice. YEAH RIGHT, MOM. You know those teeny tiny mushroom bits in Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup? I’d pick all of them out of my tuna noodle casserole before I’d even take a bite of it. My food could not touch other food. My orange juice always had to be strained. (Pulp-free orange juice is a MYTH people — it always needs to be strained. I still hate pulp. Blech.)


making fresh pasta

My parents’ round dining room table sits in an alcove that was pretty much made to hold the table and nothing else. Nestled in the arm’s-length corner between my seat and my dad’s seat used to sit large ceramic crock the size of a small barrel, with a piece of wood set across the top to hold various plants and trinkets. Childhood me, having no concept of the decomposition of organic matter (or perhaps simply no concern about anything but my own fussy needs) discovered that this crock was the perfect receptacle for disposing of all of my unwanted foods when my parents weren’t looking. I shared this secret with my brother, and he agreed that I was a genius. As soon as my parents would begin clearing the table and simultaneously warning me that my brother and I had 10 minutes to finish our dinner, I would begin tossing broccoli and spinach and cooked carrots into the crock. My brother would pass me his veggies under the table, and I would dispose of those as well. My parents eventually got wise to this and made us clean the thing out. Nasty, but still kind of worth it to me at the time, considering how many vegetables I’d managed to avoid eating.

making fresh pasta

making fresh pasta

I also loathed all condiments and sauces. I ate pancakes without syrup. Pasta without sauce. I didn’t try ketchup until I was fifteen. Mustard: twenty. Mayo horrified me until I learned how to make it. This was my life, people! Now, I make up for it by turning my food plates into big hot messes. I want my breakfast covered in syrup and runny egg yolks. I like to mix up all of the food on my plate so I can get a little bit of everything in each bite. It’s gross and awesome.

making fresh pasta

pasta dough

Still, I was thinking the other day about the fact that I rarely make pasta with sauce. Part of this is probably due to the fact that I still don’t like onions, and I know there are definitely little bits of them hiding in 99% of the jars of sauce on store shelves. I will make my own tomato sauce every now and then. (Over the summer I made this sauce with freshly roasted tomatoes, basil, and garlic from my mom’s garden, and it was SO GOOD that I ate half of it with a spoon like it was soup……) Still, I love the taste and minimal fuss of pasta tossed with olive oil, butter, and fresh parmesan. That is totally good enough for me.

Inside-Out Ravioli

As I was mulling over my pasta sauce weirdness, I also started thinking about ways that I might try to incorporate sauce into my pasta dishes. And for whatever reason, my mind immediately jumped to ravioli, and putting the sauce inside the pasta. And if the sauce is inside, that means the filling needs to be outside. This is when I got kind of excited about the idea, as I always kind of want more filling from my ravioli. (Or more veggies, technically, because I like to pretend that eating a monster plate of pasta is totally good for me.) Also the whole veggies-on-the-outside thing gives me a perfect excuse to pan-fry the ravioli……again……like I always do. (It’s the best.)

Inside-Out Ravioli

To make the sauce a little more filling-like, I decided to cook it down a bit to make it thicker, and then combine it with some goat cheese and parmesan. Now, I don’t want you guys to freak out (like I did when I tasted it), but this filling tastes like the most decadent vodka sauce ever. So crazy delicious. Unfortunately, one thing I didn’t take into account was just how much the sauce would reduce. Consequently, I was only able to make fourteen ravioli. Sadness! I also meant to use mushroom and spinach as the vegetables, but I completely forgot to buy the latter. Kale was a good substitute, although I do think I would have preferred spinach. I had also intended to make some herbed ricotta to use as a sauce of sorts, but I was apparently operating under the delusion that I could make and photograph ravioli, ricotta, and queso blanco in a matter of hours, then immediately start prepping for a taco night dinner party. (Considering the ricotta was the only thing that didn’t happen, I think I did pretty well.) But anyway, herbed ricotta with this would be a great addition, although it was also delicious without it.

Inside-Out Ravioli

My ideal veggies for this dish were spinach and mushrooms, but the great thing is that you can use whatever you prefer. The filling is so delicious that you could honestly eat these on their own and they’d be awesome. I highly recommend pan-frying the ravioli to get them nice and crispy, but you totally don’t need to do that either. Just fill them with delicious goat cheesy tomato sauce and then do your thang!

Inside-Out Ravioli

Inside-Out Ravioli

yield: approximately 2.5 dozen ravioli

  • 1 24 oz. jar of pasta sauce
  • 6 oz. of goat cheese
  • 1/3 cup of freshly grated parmesan
  • veggies of your choice (I used about a dozen small mushrooms, sliced, and a few large kale leaves [though I would also recommend a small bunch of spinach], washed and roughly chopped)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour

Inside-Out Ravioli

To make the pasta dough:

Sift flour into a bowl and make a well in the center. Crack eggs into the well, then beat with a fork, gradually incorporating the flour. When you can no longer mix with the fork, begin kneading. Knead until smooth, then cover with a damp towel and set aside.

To make the filling:

Simmer sauce in a pan over medium heat until it has reduced a bit, to the point where it doesn’t pour easily, if that makes sense. Remove from heat and let cool for several minutes, then transfer to a bowl. Mix in parmesan and goat cheese, then set aside.

To make the ravioli:

On a floured surface, roll pasta dough out into a large rectangle, until it is thin, but not in danger of tearing (around 1/16 of an inch thick). Cut rectangle in half, then drop tablespoons of filling over the surface of one of the halves, leaving a little less than an inch between.

Using a pastry brush (or your fingers), rub a little bit of water on the surface of the dough between the filling, to ensure a proper seal. Carefully place the second rectangle of dough on top, and press all around to close. Cut ravioli with a knife or pasta wheel. To make sure they’re sealed (and pretty), press all around the edges with a fork.

Note: If you still have some filling and a bit of dough leftover after trimming off the edges, knead the dough back together, and roll out again. Use a biscuit cutter (or any other round sharpish thing) to cut out as many circles as you can. Spoon filling into the center, brush water around the edges, then fold over and seal.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add ravioli and cook until they begin to float (this should only take a few minutes). While the ravioli are boiling, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet and saute mushrooms and greens until wilted. Remove veggies from pan and set aside, then return pan to heat. When ravioli have finished boiling, transfer to the pan and fry until golden brown on each side. When ravioli are almost done cooking, return the veggies to the pan.

(Any leftover, uncooked ravioli can be frozen in a heavy-duty ziploc bag.)

Inside-Out Ravioli


  1. says

    This sounds so incredibly good to me! I immediately added it to Pinterest, because this must be made soon. I can also totally relate to your childhood pickiness, I look back on all the things I did to avoid eating “disgusting” things like mushrooms, and tomatoes and laugh. They’re now some of my favorite things. Just found your blog and I’m loving it.

    • says

      Thank you so much, Bekuh! It’s so funny reflecting back on things we couldn’t stand when we were little that we love now. (It’s also equally funny that there are still things I loathe just as much as I did when I was little!)

      So glad you found my blog! :)

  2. says

    Haha, I was completely the opposite as a kid… I loved my veggies, and would try anything that was set in front of me. I’d even request things my parents weren’t sure about, just because I wanted to try new things. :P

    I am totally on board with this whole inside-out ravioli thing. I am in love with thoroughly-reduced tomato sauces, and I feel a bit like an idiot for not having thought of this. Also, I’m with you on the pan-frying of ravioli – perfection!

    • says

      Oh wow, you were a total dream kid! That’s awesome. I wish I’d been a little more adventurous, although at least I’m making up for it now. :) I also know I’m totally doomed to have a kid that was as picky and insufferably bratty as I was. I deserve it!

      This definitely won’t be the last time I combine goat cheese and tomato sauce. I still can’t get over how good it was. I’m totally bummed that I didn’t make enough to have leftovers!

  3. Michael says

    I’m no expert in photography, but how did you get it to look like you’re in the middle of a pitch black room with a tiny light above you? Was settings in the camera, editing, or did you literally just do it in said room?

    Also, I love your table, utensils, and plates.

    • says

      The pitch black room effect is actually a little bit of post-production trickery. My photo “studio” is my teeny little living room, and the table is actually a large piece of reclaimed wood that I set across a bench and a giant red ottoman. They’re positioned near the one window in the room, which is at about 2 o’clock from the perspective of the camera. To create the dark room effect, I just use the magic wand tool in Photoshop to select the area to the right, then turn down the brightness and up the contrast to get it as close to black as possible. Then I use the clone stamp to touch up any parts that still need to be darkened. I also use the clone stamp to extend the board surface on the left, to make it look like a table. This is what the untouched original looks like, if you’re curious. :)

  4. says

    You want to hear about crazy childhood eating habits. I went through a phase for several years where all I wanted to eat was ravioli! Then, a summer when I lived with my grandparents (who were more than happy to give in to my whims) that literally all I did eat was ravioli and cherry coke for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s amazing that to this day I still love ravioli. That combined with the fact that I also eat tomato sauce with a spoon means I’ll be trying this very, very soon!

    • says

      Haha! I always loved spending a couple weeks with my grandma in the summer, because it meant I got to eat fast food a few times a week. (Something my vegetarian parents rarely indulged in.) Grandparents are awesome. :)

  5. says

    Gorgeous shots! Carey…I really want to make this sometime soon…looks and sounds irresistible. I know when you talk about picky eating! In childhood days, I wouldn’t eat eggplant in whichever form my mom would make it! She had to cook another dish just for me! But, somehow I have begun to eat eggplant since the last couple of yrs and my family is still in dis-belief! :)

    • says

      Thank you, Archana! My family is the definitely the same — totally shocked at some of the things I eat nowadays. (I even eat some veggies that my parents don’t like. That really makes me feel like an adult! :D)

  6. says

    Whoa, your eating habits were a bit neurotic as a kid! I am very glad you have come around–your recipes are always phenomenal. I was always real freaked out about meat–it was never very texturally appealing, and I wouldn’t eat it unless it was cut in a tiny dice with absolutely no. fatty. bits! I still have textural issues with meat. Melissa Clark writes about loving the sinewy parts of meat, and it makes me real queasy.

    This ravioli is flipping genius. This gives me a fantastic excuse to bust out my pasta machine!

    • says

      Yay! This ravioli is definitely worth the pasta machine effort. (It’s funny — I have a pasta crank, but I always wind up making ravioli by hand. I think that’s probably because there isn’t an ideal place for me to set up the crank, since our counters are just a little bit too thick for it. When I have my dream kitchen workbench [which will be the biggest wooden bench ever with lots of shelf space underneath], I will have ALL the things set up, ALL the time. The pasta crank and the flour mill and everything else that’s currently hiding in cabinets.)

      I can remember seeing what looked like some sort of bloody bit on a piece of sliced ham when I was a kid, and it totally freaked me out. I also used to loathe the weird white (fatty?) parts of fish that I’d see in fish sticks and stuff like that. I am still pretty weird with meat. I don’t like any sort of fatty parts at all, and I’m terrified of veins in chicken. EW.

  7. says

    i have never been a picky eater, it just never occurred to me to revolt at the dinner table (FF to my college years and i staged mini-revolutions often, but in general, not food related.). anyway, my one food quirk is i don’t like my food to touch. i like to have walls around each item (ideal situation would be having alot of mini bowls & plates for each food but then the dishes to clean after!!) and i finish each item entirely before moving onto the next. it’s a little militant.

    i really like the idea of the sauce inside of the ravioli. genius.

    • says

      Hehe, I definitely had plenty of mini, non-food dinner table revolutions during my college years too. Gotta drive the parents crazy with something!

      I used to have this thing that I referred to as “the farm tray,” which was basically a food tray with all these separate compartments with cartoon drawings of different “farm things” in each compartment. I ate my food off that all the time, because it kept everything separate. It was AWESOME. I actually went looking for it not too long ago, and my mom was like, “Oh that thing? I threw it out.” So upset!!

  8. says

    What a genius idea! I bet biting into the thick tomato sauce was just wonderrrrful. I have always wanted to make pasta from scratch but still haven’t given it a try yet, it is on my very long list of things that I want to try my hand at this year. I wan’t a very picky eater growing up, and that should probably be accredited to eating things like octopus at a young age and being told that that was *totally* normal.(Yeah right, Dad.) The only thing I absolutely HATED was my mom’s spinach and rice that we would eat during lent. I don’t know if I was just fed up with being vegan for a week or the combo of spinach and tomato sauce with rice just wasn’t very good, I haven’t tried it since so I can’t really say if I’d like it now. Maybe someday I’ll get the courage to try it!

    And onions! Do you like caramelized onions or do those still put you off a bit?

    Also, the photos in this post are BEAUTIFUL. Seriously, I love the egg photos sooooo so so much!

    • says

      Hehe! Oh man, it’s so funny how things like that stick with you. I still don’t really like plain potato latkes, mostly because I always taste phantom onions in them. I do like spinach + tomato sauce though. :) (My mom used to make us eat steamed spinach for dinner along with a glass of milk, and that was THE WORST. It tasted like chalk. I reminded her of that not too long ago, and she was like, “Oh yeah……that sounds pretty disgusting.”)

      Oh man, onions. My problem is that I hate the flavor of raw onions but don’t mind the texture. Then when they’re caramelized, I like the flavor, but I can’t stand the texture! I’m slowly trying to get used to them, though. I’ll put them in things like risotto and lentils because they just aren’t the same without the onions, but I have to mince them up into pretty much nothing. Baby steps. :)

      Also, homemade pasta is a lot of fun, and super easy once you do it a few times! I have a pasta maker, but I always wind up making it by hand. It’s just a little time consuming, but so rewarding, especially when you make a bunch. Definitely one of my favorite winter activities!

  9. says

    OMG Carey, you reminded me of my childhood. I was such a picky eater until about 5 to 6 years back when I finally discovered the fun of eating. Some of my family members still can’t believe that I of all the people have a food blog :D

    Ravioli is one our fav for friday dinner. Till date, only once I made it fresh from scratch. Without a pasta maker it’s tough. But all your pictures are tempting me to make it once again, just for fun!

    • says

      Hehe! I love that our experiences are similar. :) I’m still trying new things and surprising my family. My parents will read my blog and be like, “So, you eat THAT now?” Yes, yes I do!

      I love making ravioli from scratch. It’s definitely somewhat of a laborious task, but with such delicious results!

    • says

      Thanks, Kailyn! I’d say just use whatever your favorite pasta sauce happens to be, although I think that one with less “stuff” in it is better (i.e., not too chunky). I used a basil-garlic tomato sauce, and it was perfect. :)

  10. says

    My sister and I had complementary likes and dislikes, which was probably a huge relief for my mom, come to think of it. For instance, dumplings: I used to only like the meaty interior, whereas my sister would only eat the skin. I was way more of a carnivore then, obviously. And I totally know what you mean about pulp. I can’t stand it either!

    I love the idea of a vodka sauce ravioli, or just a sauce-filled ravioli in general. I would probably slip diced onion into my sauce though, hehehe. :P Props to you for making your ravioli from scratch WITHOUT a pasta roller! Every year, Chris’s family has this huge ravioli-making day (have I told you about this before? I’m sure I’ve told you about this before) where everyone gets together, age 7 to 90, to make ravioli. Hundreds and hundreds. Whenever we partook, we would pounce at the chance to roll pasta. Definitely my favorite part!!! (Well, besides eating of course)

    • says

      Hehe! Oh man, I’m trying to remember if my brother and I had complementary food neurosis, but I don’t think so. I feel like he pretty much saw me freak out over something and then did the same thing. :) He has always liked onions and pickles though. (Vinegar and pickles were another enemy of mine up until a couple years ago.)

      I’m not sure that I’ve heard about the pasta party before! That sounds so awesome. I can imagine what a total, chaotic blast that is, and how rewarding it is to feast on ravioli at the end! What a great tradition. :)

  11. says

    I completely relate to your childhood pickiness – I was the same at the table, but in some way I think it’s the reason I’m the obsessed food person I am today. One of the few things I would always devour was ravioli (and of course, pasta of any kind) I was occasionally spoiled with homemade ravioli if it happened to be a holiday or if my grandmother was in a very good mood while cooking Sunday dinner. Those weren’t filled with goat cheese, which suits my grown up style just fine. Beautiful as always!

    • says

      I completely agree! I feel like I’m starting to appreciate a lot of foods for the first time, and it’s a triumphant appreciation from having overcome being such a nutty kid. My mom made a killer mac & cheese that was one of the few things I loved, but she never got into the homemade ravioli. I did get to make my parents ravioli when I was visiting a month or so ago, and I think they enjoyed it. (Who wouldn’t, right?) :)

  12. Laura says

    Love the photo trickery you talked about above. I had no idea that you weren’t photographing on an actual table. Sneaky!

    The OJ thing reminds me of Sheldon Cooper: “In what WORLD is this considered pulp-free??”

    I totally need to try this ravioli. And you totally need to post the herbed ricotta recipe ;) I’ve never made ravioli from scratch, but it looks doable!

    • says

      Hehe! My post-production photo skills are super sneaky. I would love to one day own an actual table that I didn’t need to fake in Photoshop, though. Some day… :)

      Once you make ravioli from scratch one or two times, it becomes a totally doable task. It’s a little laborious, for sure, but I love it.

      I still have half a gallon of milk in my fridge waiting to be ricotta. I need to do that, and stop using it in my coffee because I’m too lazy to go to the store and buy half & half.

  13. says

    Picky eaters have hard life, I know something about it;) Ravioli look absolutely delicious and you are right – they taste the best when pan-fried:)

  14. says

    I’m going to literally have to dub you ‘The Pasta Queen’. You’re too good at all this gnocci and ravioli stuff, it’s insane and makes me want to eat ALL THE PASTAAA. Sauce on the inside, genius, I always try and get the maximum amount of sauce on each piece of pasta (it’s quite difficult.. sauce doesn’t like to stick to pasta :( ) – this is obviously the best solution. And theres even. more. food. on the outside too aaahhhhhhh.

    Btw, I took picky-ness to a whole other LEVEL – I wouldn’t eat butternut squash or salad (the actual loves of my l.i.f.e. now) until about 3 years ago, and I also (still) hate sandwiches (I think it’s due to the fact that in the UK, they put a layer of butter or margarine inside pretty much ALL sandwiches, so it’s just…no…I’m not doing that. I don’t want this thick layer of super cold butter in with the filling thanks)

      • says

        LOL. Sandwiches! I totally get that, though. Sandwiches were my enemy back in the condiment hating days. Also the days when I still hated most vegetables. People think you’re nuts when you tell them you want a cheese sandwich — JUST CHEESE, nothing else. (It was, admittedly, pretty ridiculous.) I’m still not very big on sandwiches though, and I think it’s because I’m a weirdo when it comes to bread. I’d much rather tear small pieces right from a loaf and pile various bits on top, rather than making one large bread-stuff-bread thing.

        I am, undeniably, becoming The Pasta Queen. :D There are far most pasta recipes on this blog than anything else — it’s crazy! I don’t even know how that happened.

        And THOSE PANCAKES. Yes. I need to ask Johnny to ask his mom for the recipe. I’m afraid to just wing it and see what happens, because I’m afraid they won’t be as good as what he remembers!

        • says

          I’m totally loving this bread/filling mountain you’re talking about there… Could it be called a…sandwich salad?

          Because my brain is already making one right now.

          And it’s epic.

          No place for random butter globs in the sandwich salad, no siree, heh heh heh…

        • says

          It totally could be! I’ve started fondly referring to it as “snack dinner,” since it gives me the excuse to buy SO many different things to pile on top of the bread, all the while pretending that I’m just snacking. :D

  15. says

    I’m so smitten with this post, I can hardly form thoughts into words. First of all, these photos are just exquisite. Secondly, yes! I always want more filling (i.e. vegetable matter) from ravioli! Third, I love that these are hand-rolled – I’m always stymied by not having a pasta roller, but this madness must come to an end. You give me courage. Fourth, that filling sounds like the best thing ever, aside from pan-fried ravioli. YUMMMMMM!!!! I wish I could eat dinner at your house! I’m so glad you overcame your picky-ness! I know some grown-ups who still eat like that.

    • says

      Yes! Pasta rollers totally are not necessary. Sometimes I wonder if, once I have a space where I can actually set up and use my pasta crank, I’ll be like, “Why have I been making this by hand when using the crank is so much easier?!” I have my doubts, because I really enjoy the process of hand-rolling the dough. I also watched an episode of No Reservations not too long ago where AB went to Italy (Modena and somewhere else, I believe), and they filmed a woman making fettuccine by simply rolling the dough out into a large rectangle-ish shape, then folding it over several times and slicing it into strands. Totally reinforced my love of hand-rolling. I tried it out myself several days later and it worked pretty well, except for the fact that I didn’t flour the dough quite as much as I should have before folding. Things got a little sticky, but it worked out in the end. :)

      I know a handful of picky grown-ups too, and it drives me nuts! It creates an internal conflict for me, too, because I just want to shake them and be like, “WHY won’t you just try this?!……Okay, I’m sorry, I understand why. I know how it is. But seriously, TRY IT.”

  16. says

    yummmm!! this looks completely and utterly delicious!!

    sauce on the inside is genius! and with mushrooms- YES PLEASE! :)

    what a winner

    and love the food photography as well!

    where do you get your props and the rustic wood(table top) from?

    Thanks! :)

    • says

      Thanks, Bec!! :)

      I picked up that board from a local architectural salvage place. It was a lucky find, since perfect chippy paint boards in the right size can be kind of hard to come by. (I’ve been meaning to go back there and look for more!) A lot of my vintage-looking props come from antique stores or are family hand-me-downs. A lot of my plates and bowls come from Bennington Potters (the taverware color being my favorite). Those dark, slightly shiny plates are a recent discovery of mine from when I visited The Artisan’s Guild in Oneonta, NY. They’re made by Ellie Stromberg. (I did a little googling to see if you could purchase her work online, but I couldn’t really find anything, unfortunately. She does beautiful work, though, and I’m on a mission to buy all of her ceramics in this color!)

  17. says

    I just came across his delicious pasta on Pinterest – I am so excited to be inspired by a new inside-out pasta dish. Thank you for sharing. Just love your blog. You have a new fan ;)


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