Pasta, Recipes

Handmade Ravioli filled with Eggplant

Handmade Ravioli filled with Eggplant

For a summer Sunday lunch”

Many people are mostly used to think of Ricotta cheese and Spinach for filling ravioli, being one of the few classical recipes. But being Italians a creative people, especially in the kitchen, they like changing as they please or following the local tradition. For instance, some like filling ravioli with different types of ingredients! Just to give you an idea: in Lombardy, they fill them with mashed pumpkin, or else, filling with chopped almonds and Amaretto biscuits where the sauce is butter and sage. One of the last recipes of this decade is Carbonara sauce ingredients, filled in the ravioli! Curious, isn’t it?

After that there is nothing that could take your attention, I know very well! Now, just think of a summer Sunday lunch, with your family, where a great main course makes everybody happy! The surprise you prepared for them is Ravioli filled with eggplant. It is an elaborate but light first course, completely vegetarian: filling is based on eggplant cooked with extra virgin olive oil, garlic, salt and Calabrian oregano; then cut by knife or the half-moon, to get a paté consistence. That’s it!

You can add some Parmigiano or Pecorino Romano to give a sprint to the recipe, just be careful not to cover the taste of eggplant. If you love Eggplant Parmigiana you will love this too, since the main ingredients are similar…eggplant, tomato, Parmigiano, garlic, basil.

Tomato and eggplant,
the two main ingredients for a good result

Cherry Tomatoes

For some sauces, fresh tomatoes are just perfect, especially in the summer of course, when they are thick and juicy and tasty, as well as when is hot and we need lighter food, that needs fast cooking time. In Italy from the end of June until September is the best moment to have it.

Many people we met during our cooking classes, depending on where they came from, could not find good vegetables, they said “beautiful but without taste”. Canned peeled tomatoes are a good alternative, especially good brands as Cirio, Mutti, Petti. Not the same for tomato puree, at least not in this recipe, which is too dense and too intense for making a “fresh sauce”, but it’s perfect for other kind of recipes, richer in ingredients it mixes better with stronger taste.

Tips Sometimes tomato is very sweet, sometimes could be sour. Even for the canned ones. There are two ingredients that helps: milk or sugar.  Depending on your recipe you can add one of these two ingredients, in small quantity, to get a milder tomato sauce. Milk is perfect in a meat tomato sauce, as the ragù: in addition to regulating acidity, makes the sauce creamy and the meat tender. Sugar make the sauce sweeter so less acid: add little by little during the cooking time and taste it until you get the taste you prefer.


The only two reasons why eggplant needs to expel water are to make them sweeter (to be honest I like their bitter aroma!) and to get pulp drier, especially for frying. To do that, cut the eggplant in shape, as you need, put some coarse salt, pour in a colander and put a weight on it to press (for instance a bowl with water). It will need an hour. After that wash the eggplant under running water and transfer on a dishcloth to dry (gently press them to expel exceeding water).

Tips eggplant is like a sponge, absorbs water or oil. When you put them in the pan with the oil, they absorb it almost completely, but then while they are cooking, they release it again in the pan. Don’t make the mistake of adding more oil!

Handmade Ravioli filled with Eggplant

Many people are mostly used to think of Ricotta cheese and Spinach for filling ravioli, being one of the few classical recipes.
Prep Time 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 40 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4


For the pasta fromscratch

  • 2 fresh organic eggs
  • 200 gr flour (100gr all-purpose flour, 100gr durum wheat flour)
  • salt
  • Extravirgin olive oil

For the filling

  • 1 medium-size eggplant
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Oregano
  • Extravirgin olive oil
  • Salt

For the tomato sauce

  • 700 gr cherry tomatoes cut in half (600gr if peeled canned tomatoes)
  • 2 cloves of garlic cut in thin slices
  • Basil
  • Extravirgin olive oil
  • Salt


  • Place the flour on a wooden pastry board, make a well in the center. Pour the eggs into the well, add salt and few drops of evo oil. Using a fork, work the flour into the eggs.
  • Knead for minimum 20 minutes, until smooth (you may have to add more flour as you knead if it's sticky).
  • Wrap the dough in plastic, and let rest for 30 minutes.
  • Later you will need a pasta machine to make sheets.
  • Dice the eggplant and proceed to get them expel the bitter water as wrote above. In a skillet pour some olive oil (about 3tbsp) with the garlic (leave the skin on for a gentle taste). Put over medium/high heat, wait until it's hot and add the eggplant. Add the oregano as taste. Stir often and cook until tender. Add salt as needed and taste. Transfer in a bowl and let it cool. On a cutting board reduce the eggplant in a puree with a knife or a half-moon.
  • At the same time, heat the olive oil with the garlic in a large saucepan. When starts frying, add the cherry tomatoes and basil. Cook on medium fire. After 5 minutes add salt, leave water to evaporate for other 5 minutes and then add more basil.
  • Take the dough, cut in four portions and using a pasta machine, roll the dough out intothin sheets. Cut the sheets in circles with a pastry cutter, place a teaspoonof the filling in the center of each and fold in half to obtain halfmoonravioli shape. Press all around the filling, and secure it pressing again withthe top of a fork.
  • Place on the fire a large pot of water, when it is about to boil add a fistful ofsalt: the water must be as salty as the sea, don’t worry, the pasta will notabsorb the entire quantity but will be correctly salted. Then add ravioli andcook until the pasta is tender (fresh pasta doesn't have to be al dente). Drainthe pasta (save some water) and add it to the skillet; sauté briefly over highheat, so that the pasta absorbs the flavors of the sauce (in case add the waterthat you’ve saved). Transfer to a serving dish, and serve immediately, withgenerous Parmigiano Reggiano.
Keyword eggplant, handmade, ravioli, tomato
Other suggestions if you want to make the dish truly rich, you can serve the ravioli with burrata (a cheese with the outer shell as mozzarella, while inside it is filled with cream and stracciatella): open it to release the cream, it will enrich the dish with a creamy taste. You can put the burrata under or on top the ravioli. Remember to open the shell before. Let me know if you’ve tried!

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