It's Ravioli, Jim, But not as We Know It

PHOTO by Paul_Cowan / Depositphotos
Three delicious variations on a theme

Dumplings, ravioli, pierogi, vareniki, wontons, khinkali, manta, momos, or gyoza, no matter what you call the dish, how many names it has, or from which country it originates, almost all of them can be described as a dish consisting of a filling which is wrapped into a simple flour and water dough.

We have gathered a collection of recipes for ravioli and their closest Russian relatives, pelmeni [which is the Russian word for dumplings] and vareniki [traditionally a sweet variety, so closer to pierogi], in an attempt to demonstrate an entirely new, food-based level of international relations and communication.

Below you will find recipes of ravioli made of beet and sour cream (with absolutely no dough), a.k.a. "what happens when Russian tastes meet Italian form."

Beet Ravioli with Salmon Filling

Two chefs who used to work at Strelka Bar – a New Zealander and an Englishwoman – created a new dish made up entirely of traditional Russian ingredients to celebrate the many years they have spent working in the country, getting to know the taste of its traditional cuisine. Nathan Dallimore and Natalie Horsting wrapped smoked fish with sour cream and dill into thin pickled beet leaves, and the result was rather extraordinary, despite the otherwise traditional list of ingredients.

Beet Ravioli with Salmon Filling

Serves 7

beetroot500 g
smoked salmon200 g
sour cream40 ml
apple cider vinegar10 ml
mascarpone 40 g
rice vinegar25 ml
white wine40 ml
avocado oil2 tbsp
lemon juice2 ml
sugar40 g
coriander seeds5 g
bay laurel leaves2
horse radish10 g
dill10 g
fresh basil sprouts15 g
Fleur de selto taste
Salt to taste
black pepper peas5 g
Preparation20 minutes

Cut the beetroot into very thin, fine slices (around 1 mm thick) using a mandoline slicer. Pour in the vinegar, the wine and 75ml of water into the stewpot; add the coriander, bay leaf, sugar, black pepper peas and a pinch of salt. Stir the mixture, and keep stirring it gently until it reaches boiling point. When it is ready, pour it over the sliced beet, cover the lid, and put it in the fridge for three hours right away, without letting it cool down.


Spread the biggest beetroot slices on the baking tray. Don't worry if they end up slightly covering each other or if the edges overlap. Put the baking tray in a cool place (you can also leave it for up to 24 hours safely). You will get brightly coloured, soft and flexible beetroot petals.


In a separate bowl, mash the smoked salmon with a fork. Add sour cream, mascarpone and some grated fresh horseradish - use dill to season the fish. Sprinkle lemon juice on top and mix well, all the while continuing to mash the mix with a fork. Try the filling and season with salt to taste.


Put 8-10 grammes of filling in the centre of each beetroot leaf. Cover with a second beet slice. For the next step, you will need two cooking rings: one with a bigger diameter, and one with a slightly smaller one. Place the one with a smaller diameter on top of the filling, with the sharp edge facing upwards, just to give the ravioli some shape. Now place the second ring sharp edge down to cut the edges.


Lay the ravioli out on a plate and serve sprinkled with avocado oil, fleurs de sel, fresh basil and other herbs. If you want to make the fish taste stronger, you can make a vinaigrette from pike caviar: just mix it with olive oil, lemon juice and finely chopped chives before adding it to the ravioli. But that's entirely up to you.

Mutton Ravioli

These ravioli are very easy to make. The only difference is that they are made with rice dough, which makes them a lot more tender than normal dumplings. That, and a sauce made from lamb stock and butter: it's really the sauce that does the trick.

Raviolli 2
Mutton Ravioli

Serves 4

mutton 200 g
mutton stock 770 ml
onions 30 g
fresh coriander6 g
gyoza dough300 g
chicken egg1
cherry tomatoes300 g
fresh thyme5 g
garlic cloves5
olive oil100 g
butter350 g
Salt to taste
Ground black pepper to taste
Preparation40 minutes

Clean the mutton, cutting off the extra fat and film from the meat, then put it through a fine grinder. Cut the onions into small cubes, chop some coriander and mix the seasoning in with the minced meat. Pour 20ml of stock into the minced meat, and add pepper to taste. Stir well.


Separate the gyoza rice dough into circles. Brush each circle with lightly beaten egg, put the minced meat on top, cover with a second circle and pinch the sides to push out any extra air. After that, cut the edges.


Fry the finely chopped shallots in a deep frying pan with olive oil, together with the crushed garlic and thyme leaves. Pour in the stock and let almost half the broth boil off.


Add in halved cherry tomatoes and butter. Let the contents boil off until the remaining mixture simmers down to a rich gravy texture.


While the sauce is being prepared, boil the ravioli in salted water for 3-4 minutes, then ladle the cooked ravioli into the frying pan with the sauce and keep cooking until fully ready. Season with salt and pepper, lay the ravioli out on a plate, pour the sauce over it. You can also garnish the fully-cooked dish with fresh coriander stems.

Ravioli with Spinach and Tomato Salsa

You can use canned tomatoes in their own juice instead of fresh ones, in which case you will need about 250 g.

Ravioli with Spinach and Tomato Salsa

Serves 6

wheat flour400 g
water1 tbsp
chicken eggs4
spinach100 g
ricotta cheese300 g
grated parmesan cheese50 g
nutmeg1 tsp
butter15 g
celery stem with leaves1
carrot 1
basil50 g
Olive oil 30 ml
Salt to taste
Preparation1 hour

Mix flour with salt, gather together in a heap, then beat in three eggs, add water and use a fork to mix in the flour. Knead the dough for approximately 15 minutes, then cover with foil and leave to sit sit for 30 minutes to an hour.


Wash the spinach, fry with one teaspoon of butter for five minutes, finely chop the leaves and mix with ricotta, parmesan and nutmeg, add a pinch of salt, beat in the egg, then mix well and put in the refrigerator to cool.


To make the sauce, peel the onions, carrots, and celery. Chop them into fine slices and fry them in a pan for 3 minutes without any oil. After the 3 minutes are up, add the tomatoes and cook for another 30 minutes, after which you should pass the mix through a sieve or grind in a blender.


Use a pasta machine to roll the dough, and spread the filling out over one of the dough sheets by placing a teaspoon of filling every 5 cm, then cover with a second sheet, press the top layer over the bottom one using your fingers and cut into 5x5 cm squares using a kitchen knife.


Cook the ravioli in boiling, salted water for three minutes.


Before serving, reheat the sauce in a pan. adding a tablespoon of olive oil, as well as a little bit of chopped green basil, lay out the ravioli, and stir gently. Leave on the heat for no more than two minutes, then serve, topped with olive oil and garnished with a fresh basil. You can also add a pinch of grated parmesan, if you feel like it.