Be honest. Aside from different types of ravioli, how many types of stuffed pasta can you name? If your list comes up short then it's time for some fooducation of the main types of filled pasta most loved by Italians, making it easier for you to distinguish tortellini from tortelloni, and agnolotti from cappelletti. Armed with this knowledge you'll be able to shop at your local Italian speciality market with ease, and impress friends and family with a spectacular meal.
At the end, you will be able to see all 12filled pasta types courtesy of this nifty infographic from the folks at Food Republic.
Ravioli and Ravioloni
Ravioli is generally a flat piece of pasta that is then wrapped around a filling, much like a dumpling. It can be served with ragù sauce, or in brodo or broth. The category includes ravioli pasta, filled ravioli, cheese ravioli, baked ravioli, toasted ravioli, mushrooms ravioli, ravioli giganti and big ravioli. They can vary in size, from the small to the very large, and contain whatever you can think of to put in them.
Making ravioli from scratch is an audacious enterprise. The first step is making the dough from flour and egg. You then have to flatten it with a rolling pin or pasta machine until it is thin enough to be slightly translucent. You cut the sheet in half and place blobs of filling on one half. Then you lay the other pasta sheet over the top of it and cut out the individual ravioli pieces. Boil them in salted water for three minutes, then savour your sapid handiwork.
This type of pasta from Piedmont is similar to a ravioli but smaller. Agnolotti pasta can be made with a wide range of agnolotti recipes such as butternut squash agnolotti and corn agnolotti. The great schism separating this pasta and ravioli is that agnolotti is made from a single sheet of pasta dough that is folded over, rather than two separate squares pressed together.
Cappelletti stuffed pasta is another form of pasta that is similar to agnolotti or ravioli. Cappelletti pasta can be made with whatever ingredient you have to hand, such as cheese cappelletti or chicken cappelletti. Their final shape resembles a little hat (which is what their name means in Italian) and this form is achieved by a special way of folding single pasta squares or circles.
Once again the tortellini pasta falls into the category of filling-wrapped pasta. Variations include: cheese tortellini, chicken tortellini or baked tortellini. Generally it is 'fatter' than ravioli. Like cappelletti, tortellini is roughly ring shaped and is made by folding a single piece of pasta dough.
Mezzelune pasta is a typical pasta from the northern autonomous region of South Tyrol. It is like a ravioli except semi-circular in shape.
Fagottini pasta is a 'pinched' form of stuffed pasta with a pyramidal shape that is typically filled with vegetables like green beans and carrots. To make fagottini, you first create pasta squares, then place the filling in the centre and fold up the corners so they meet directly above the filling, sealing shut the seams. Discover the science behind this pasta shape.
Shell Pasta - Conchiglie
Usually, shell pasta or conchiglie are not stuffed-pasta shells, but rather there to 'catch' the sauce. So a typical shell pasta recipe is more a recipe for the sauce.
Pansotti pasta is a typical Ligurian cheese-filled pasta that has a triangle shape, the pansotti recipe usually includes a filling of ricotta, spinach, herbs and greens.
The cylindrical stuffed cannelloni pasta usually contains spinach and ricotta, but there are meat versions such as beef cannelloni.
Manicotti pasta, which means 'little sleeve', is a large, cylindrical stuffed-pasta similar to cannelloni. Often you'll find baked manicotti or manicotti with cheese.
Serious about getting better acquainted with filled pasta from Italy? We suggest you roll up your sleeves and prepare our authentic handmade egg dough from scratch, then use it to make your choice of stuffed pasta with this delectable ricotta and herb filling.
Hungry for more? Try these stuffed pasta recipe ideas.
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