Making pasta from scratch isn’t extremely difficult, but it’s certainly a labor of love. On the whole, freshly made pastas taste better than those made elsewhere, frozen, and trucked in — and arguably no fresh pasta is superior to a filled pasta, ravioli in particular.
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Lifelong friends Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman created Italian/Southern U.S. fusion heaven when they opened Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen in a 1940s ranch-style house off Poplar Avenue east of midtown Memphis in late 2008. The two chefs credit their grandmothers, Catherine Chiozza and Mary Spinosa, for their inspiration, but have plenty of culinary pedigree beyond these familial influences.
Their pasta selection is decidedly highfalutin (think casonsei with rutabaga, satsuma, confit chicken, and sage), but there’s one outlier: Maw Maw’s ravioli with meat gravy. The fresh-made ravioli are large and pillowy, and they’re served with a ragù made with ground chicken, beef, and pork and topped with shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano. The recipe is indeed based on an old family recipe, and it’s definitely something your Italian grandma would make.
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This long-running New York pasta mecca serves some of the finest pastas you’ll ever try, and it’s certainly no slouch in the ravioli department. The filled pastas are the way to go; make sure you try the famed mint love letters with spicy lamb sausage (ravioli in everything but the name), as well as the beef cheek ravioli with crushed squab liver and black truffles.
Yelp/ Carol H.
This Napa Valley institution turns the region’s bounty into modern interpretations of classic Italian fare. All breads and pastas are made in-house, and their ravioli is about as classic as it gets. It’s filled with spinach, pecorino, and Bellwether Farms ricotta, and is served with either lemon cream sauce or tomato sauce. Pro tip: Get both.
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The New York power trio of Rich Torrisi, Mario Carbone, and Jeff Zalaznick — officially known as the Major Food Group — knocked it out of the park with this very expensive, clubby old-school Greenwich Village red sauce joint(and its Las Vegas spinoff). The trio put a massive amount of time and energy into crafting each dish offered, and their lobster ravioli is one of the best pasta dishes around. The squid ink pasta is served with a creamy sauce that’s studded with fresh herbs and loads of perfectly cooked lobster.
Yelp/ Brian F.
This tiny, low-key Italian spot in Denver’s Golden Triangle is about as casual as it gets (the seating is primarily confined to one communal table), but chef Ryan DiFranco runs what’s been rated the city’s best Italian restaurant. The ravioli on offer changes with the season, but you can always depend on it being freshly made and filled with (and sauced with) fresh, seasonal ingredients. In the spring, for example, look for sweet pea ravioli with herb butter sauce, peas, ricotta, and arugula.
Yelp/ Lesley S.
No discussion about ravioli in America is complete without a nod to one of St. Louis’ culinary treasures, fried (or “toasted” ravioli). Countless restaurants in town serve rather pedestrian versions of the dish, tossing frozen ravioli into a bread crumb mixture and then deep-frying them, but Lombardo’s does things a little differently, making the ravioli by hand, from scratch. These big ravioli are filled with beef, cheese, and spinach, fried until golden, and served with fresh marinara sauce and grated romano cheese.
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The name may sound like that of a fast-casual chain, but this homey BYOB Italian spot takes its pastas very seriously, serving some of the city’s best. The pasta is made fresh daily using organic flour and organic semolina, and their ravioli — pumpkin, with a creamy truffle cheese sauce — would be right at home on the menu at any of the city’s finest Italian spots. At $14.95, it’s an absolute steal.
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Mario Batali and partner Joe Bastianich teamed up with La Brea Bakery’s Nancy Silverton to open this stunner of an Italian restaurant that specializes in fresh handmade pastas. Their ricotta and egg raviolo is a master class in making this difficult-to-execute dish, but the real star is the simple and perfect goat cheese ravioli with Coach Farm goat cheese and “five lilies,” meaning five members of the allium, or onion, family.
Located on the outskirts of Cleveland, this 47-year-old Italian spot owes its success to its commitment to using only the freshest local ingredients and making all of its bread, pastas, sauces, sausage, and desserts from scratch. You really can’t go wrong with the ravioli, which is available in four styles: three cheese with house marinara; pea with roasted carrots, celery, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, oil, garlic, and Parmesan; house ground beef with tomato sauce, ricotta, fresh basil, and melted mozzarella; and butternut squash with brown butter, sage, and crispy sunchoke chips.
Yelp/ Carol C.
Spirito’s is a North Jersey institution, renowned for three things: its pizza, its massive veal and chicken parmesan, and its perfect house-made ravioli. The pasta is so thin and the ricotta-based filling so ethereally light that it’s a miracle they don’t float off the plate, and the marinara sauce is spot-on. In fact, it's the best pasta dish in New Jersey.