The Ravioli

Jun 27, 2014 by

This article was written by Samuel Phineas Upham

Stuffed pasta, from which ravioli claims heritage, likely originated during the medieval period of European history. There are cookbooks from that period in both Europe and the Middle East that document the creation of sweet and savory stuffed pastas. The sweet pastas were filled with honey, nuts, cinnamon and cheese. Savory pastas were similar to the lasagna we know today, complete with pepper and saffron as spices.

The biggest difference was the lack of tomato sauce in medieval times. Tomatoes were a “New World” food, so medieval cooks would often cook with the fat of a chicken or some other finer meat. Early ravioli was also deep fried, like a fritter.

It’s likely that ravioli is related to the Latin word “rabiola,” which was a small pastry that had a shape similar to the ravioli. The origin of Ravioli can be traced to one of two cities, Cremona or Genoa. In Genoa, it’s said that ravioli relates to their word “rabiole” which means “of little value.” They claim that the ravioli was like an amalgam of many meals, with sailors taking their leftovers and stuffing the pastries for later meals.

There is a similar dish in Jewish cuisine called “Kreplach.” The dish is meat-based, with an egg covering. It’s simmered in chicken soup, which is reminiscent of the deep frying methods from cooks of old. It may have been developed by citizens in Venetian ghettos, where it was adapted as a mainstay in Jewish cuisine.

About the Author: Samuel Phineas Upham is an investor at a family office/hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Samuel Phineas Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Samuel Phineas Upham on his Facebook page.

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