What Makes Great Ravioli?

Few foods are more traditionally Italian than ravioli. Combining filling with pasta, ravioli and its cousin tortellini are a great way to enjoy Italian cuisine. Usually served with a broth or sauce, ravioli is a fine way to satisfy your pasta urge. Our chefs define high quality ravioli as being plump, with abundant filling. The pasta should be a golden yellow color, and look moist and inviting. The pasta should stay filled when cooked, and not burst open. The initial aroma of quality ravioli will be the wheat and grain aromas of the pasta. After the pasta is cut open, then the filling aroma, typically of cheese as well as herbs and spices, should then come through The flavors of the ravioli will match the aromas, with wheat and grain notes of the pasta combining with the mild cheese flavors of filling. The cheese of the filling is often a mild variety such as ricotta, though adventuresome fillings like butternut squash are available. High quality ravioli will combine the tender, toothsome bite of the pasta with the smooth and creamy texture of the filling. The pasta shouldn’t be soggy, so don’t overcook! There shouldn’t be any chalkiness or grit to filling either. When served traditionally with a broth or sauce, the ravioli should retain its flavor. Even with a rich tomato sauce, you should still taste the pasta and cheese.

Tasting terms

  • aroma

    The smell that emanates from food. Along with appearance, texture, flavor and taste, aroma is one of the five dimensions used to evaluate a product. Example: Brownies should have an aroma that includes chocolate as well as egg, toasty and sweet notes.

  • texture

    A dimension used to organize attributes like mouthfeel, graininess and initial bite, it is one of the five dimensions used by ChefsBest Master Tasters to evaluate food. Example: Glazed popcorn will have a crunch texture. The texture of milk chocolate should be creamy and smooth.

  • flavor

    A combination of a food's basic taste and its accompanying aroma, flavor is the distinctive taste of a food or ingredient while it is in the mouth. Along with aroma, appearance, texture and taste, flavor is one of the five dimensions considered by ChefsBest Master Tasters. Example: Chocolate chip cookies should have a moderate chocolate flavor accompanied by a slightly lower level of complex dough flavor that includes egg, flour, vanilla and brown sugar notes.