simple ravioli sauce

When dr bob was a kid, ravioli came in a big tall can with tomato sauce. It was called Chef Boyardee, almost synonymous with ravioli for us, and it was filled with beef and cheese. In the 1950s, there was no widespread highbrow notion of "pasta", although we dr bob siblings did not stoop to the level of "spaghettiOs" (ring spaghetti in a can, more tomato sauce). Fortunately bob's life intersected Italy along the way and he learned what real ravioli were and the delicious ways in which they could be served. And the American market grew up to offer relatively high quality ravioli with interesting fillings in ordinary supermarkets. This time it was a new healthy market store Mom's in Bryn Mawr where our legendary Borders Books and Records used to be once upon a time which supplied us with a two person portion size: 8 oz of garlic gorzonzola  filled spinach ravioli.

Often we just do a simple sage butter sauce to serve already prepared ravioli, but this time Ani was inspired and she kicked it up a notch while still keeping it simple. A little mascarpone and pasta water for the base, seasoned with sauteed chopped shallots and a hit of hot red pepper flakes, and topped off with toasted pine nuts, freshly chopped parsley, and of course freshly grated parmigiano. The mascarpone idea came from Giada—Ani often has a small container in the fridge to combine a bit with a pasta sauce.

This turned out really well, unexpectedly for bob who already had started chowing down before it occurred to him that a photo was called for. This turns out to be really photogenic as well.


8 oz good quality ravioli, yes from a store
1 shallot, chopped [or 1 small leek]
2 T olive oil
1/4 t red pepper flakes
1/3 c mascarpone, at room temperature
some reserved pasta water, as needed
1/3 c pine nuts, toasted
freshly chopped parsley
optional lemon zest from half a lemon to kick up the flavor a bit
abundant freshly grated parmigiano


  1. Toast the pine nuts in a nonstick skillet. Set aside.
  2. Prepare the shallot and saute it in olive oil until translucent, then add the red pepper flakes to taste.
  3. Stir in the mascarpone and some pasta water over low heat to make it come together in a "sauce".
  4. Meanwhile cook the ravioli according to package directions and drain or scoop out of the pot into the sauce pan.
  5. Coat the ravioli with the sauce and remove from the heat.
  6. Then mix in the parmigiano, parsley and pinenuts. Serve while hot.


  1. Chef Boyardee ravioli?
  2. SpaghettiOs?
  3. Mom's Organic Market arrived in Bryn Mawr in 2014.
  4. Soon after ani did another simple sauce, this time for portobello mushroom and truffle filled ravioli, with a slight edge from some red pepper flakes:
    1 chopped shallot, sauteed in olive oil with just a touch of red pepper flakes, then add 1/3 c heavy cream, 4 chopped scallions, salt and pepper to taste, some reserved pasta water, then the cooked ravioli and a nice hit of grated parmigiano, and some chopped fresh parsley. No photo taken, but it was really tasty.
  5. Wegman's 12 oz Red Beet and Cheese Mezzalune (a mix of 5 cheeses) is a great product to use this recipe on. Mezzaluna is a semicircle shaped ravioli.
  6. Illustrations available.
raviolisauce.htm: 19-sep-2018 [what, ME cook? © 1984 dr bob enterprises]