Traditional recipes

Fried Sweet Cheese Ravioli with Honey

Fried Sweet Cheese Ravioli with Honey


  • 4 cups coarsley grated whole-milk mozzarella cheese
  • 1 15-ounce container whole-milk or part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup grated pecorino Sardo or pecorino Romano cheese
  • 4 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 4 large eggs, beaten to blend
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (about) room-temperature water
  • Corn oil or olive oil (for frying)
  • Honey (preferably chestnut)

Recipe Preparation

  • Mix all cheeses and lemon peel in large bowl; set cheese mixture aside.

  • Lightly flour 2 baking sheets. Mix bread flour and salt in another large bowl; mix in beaten eggs. Using fingertips, rub in butter a few pieces at a time until well blended. Add 1/2 cup water; stir to blend, adding more water by tablespoonfuls if dough is dry. Knead in bowl until dough comes together. Turn dough out onto floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.

  • Divide dough into 4 pieces. Roll out 1 dough piece on lightly floured surface to scant 1/8-inch thickness. Using 3 1/2-inch-diameter cookie cutter or biscuit cutter and using sharp knife as aid, cut out rounds. Repeat with remaining dough pieces. Transfer half of dough rounds to prepared baking sheets. Place 2 level tablespoons cheese mixture in center of each dough round on baking sheets. Brush edges of dough rounds lightly with water. Cover with remaining dough rounds, pressing firmly on edges to adhere and seal.

  • Preheat oven to 300°F. Pour enough oil into heavy large pot to reach depth of 2 inches. Heat oil to 350°F. Add 3 to 4 ravioli at a time to hot oil in pot and deep-fry until golden, turning once, about 4 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Place ravioli on baking sheets and keep warm in oven while frying remaining ravioli. DO AHEAD: Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool; cover and refrigerate. Place on baking sheets and rewarm in 350°F oven until heated through and cheese melts, about 10 minutes. Place ravioli on platter. Drizzle with honey and serve hot.

Reviews Section

Fried Ravioli with Bitter Honey

In a food processor, combine the semolina, flour and salt and pulse to blend. Add the shortening and pulse until evenly distributed. Add the egg and pulse. With the machine on, add 1/3 cup of the water and process just until the dough comes together if it is crumbly, add a little more water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Shape the dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 1 hour.

In a small saucepan, combine the cheese with 1/3 cup of hot water and stir over moderately low heat. When the mixture starts to bubble around the edges, add the semolina and cook over low heat, stirring, until the cheese mixture has thickened to the consistency of sour cream. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar and citrus zests. If the mixture tastes very tangy, add a little more sugar, but keep in mind that it should not be noticeably sweet. Let cool.

Cut the pasta dough in quarters. Working with 1 piece at a time and keeping the rest covered, roll the dough through a pasta machine set on successively narrower settings until you reach the second to the thinnest. Set the pasta sheet on a work surface and, using a 3-inch round biscuit cutter, stamp out 12 rounds. Mound 2 teaspoons of the cheese filling in the center of half of the rounds. Moisten the edges and cover with the remaining rounds. Seal the edges with the tines of a fork. Set the ravioli on a rack. Repeat with the remaining ravioli dough and cheese filling.

In a large deep skillet, using a deep-fry thermometer, heat 1 1/2 inches of olive oil to 360°. Slip 4 ravioli into the hot oil and fry until lightly golden, turning after they have risen to the surface, about 30 seconds per side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried ravioli as they're done to a rack set over paper towels to drain while you fry the rest.

In a small saucepan, warm the honey with a few tablespoons of water until it is liquid and quite warm. Serve the sebadas on warmed plates with the bitter honey drizzled on top.

Fried sweet ricotta ravioli with honey recipe

In a bowl, combine the flour and butter with a pinch of salt and using your fingers, rub together until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Add the egg and 40ml water and stir until it comes together. You can do this all in a food processor if you want. Add more water or flour until it is the right consistency. You want it neither dry nor sticky and it should be easy to knead. Knead for five minutes, then wrap in cling film, and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Combine the ricotta, orange zest, sugar and nutmeg and put to one side for a moment.

Lightly dust a pasta machine and cut your pasta dough into four equal-sized pieces. Starting at the widest setting, roll out the dough, then fold the pasta in half, and roll the dough through that setting again. Click the pasta machine to the next setting, fold the dough in half and run it through this setting twice, folding in half each time. When you get to the thinnest setting, your pasta should be very thin and light.

Place teaspoonfuls of ricotta at 6cm intervals along the bottom edge of each sheet. Brush the egg white around the ricotta and fold the top half over the bottom half, enclosing the ricotta and pushing the air out as you go. Cut into individual ravioli with a sharp knife or pastry cutter. Dust a tray with a little flour and place them on it as you make them.

Fill a pan with oil to 5cm deep and heat to 180C (check with a cooking thermometer). Add the ravioli in batches, cooking for four minutes until a light golden colour. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. While still warm, drizzle with the honey and serve.

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Dessert ravioli

Ravioli filled with pureed chestnuts, chocolate, espresso, rum and ground nuts, caggiunitte, are an Abruzzo specialty. Lombardy’s specialty pasta dessert is fried tortelli filled with either jam or chocolate. I especially like the earthy combination of pureed chickpeas and jam filling in panzarotti con ceci of Puglia and Basilicata. Usually, ravioli can be tricky to make, because you have to get the dough very thin and seal them carefully since they’re going to be dashed about in rapidly boiling water like tiny ships in a storm. But because these ravioli are baked rather than boiled, you can make them thicker and don’t have to worry about them opening. A very easy to work with dough!

Torta Ricciolina

Angel Hair Pasta Pie

From: Dolci: Italy’s Sweets, by Francine Segan

To make this classic Bolognese dessert, you absolutely must use fresh, not dried, egg pasta. If making your own pasta seems daunting, buy ready-made fresh instead. Most supermarkets nowadays sell ready made fresh.

A great make-ahead dessert, as it’s much better the day after, once all the flavors have melded.

1/2 pie-crust, store bought or homemade

8 ounces fresh thin egg-pasta, such as tagliatelline or angel hair, store bought, or homemade

8 ounces, about 1 1/2 cups, whole blanched almonds

2 ounces, about 1/3 cup, finely chopped candied citron or candied orange peel

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

6 tablespoons butter, thinly sliced

Grind the almonds and sugar in a food processor until it resembles coarse sand. Pulse in the zest, candied citron or orange peel, and cocoa powder until well combined. Divide into 3 parts.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9 or 10-inch pie pan with the pie crust. Pot lots of holes in the bottom and sides of the crust with a fork.

Divide the pasta into 3 parts, with one part being slightly larger than the other two.

Line the pie pan with the larger portion of pasta and sprinkle with 1/3 of the almond mixture. Lift the pasta with the tip of a knife so it loose and free form. Do not press the pasta down. Dot the pasta with thin slices of the butter.

Top with another layer of pasta sprinkled with a third of the almond mixture and more butter. Repeat for a third and final layer.

Loosely cover with aluminum foil, bake for 25 minutes, then remove the foil and continue baking uncovered for another 20-25 minutes until the top is golden and the center set.

Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle the top of the pie with the rum. It will hiss and absorb quickly, with most of the alcohol evaporating, leaving just a lovely aroma and flavor.

Allow to cool to room temperature. Serve, preferably after it’s rested overnight or for 24 hours, topped with confectioners’ sugar.

Conchiglioni dolci al cacao

Chocolate Stuffed Shells

From: Pasta Modern: New & Inspired Recipes from Italy, by Francine Segan

Makes 24 large shells, serves 4 to 6

Use just cocoa powder alone for unsweetened shells that become a gorgeous redish-brown color, or sweetened the cocoa powder with confectioners’ sugar for lovely dark-colored sweet shell. Using a teaspoon, fill the shells with anything you like. Pictured here is milk chocolate and dark chocolate pudding.

--Ice cream + slice of banana + dollop fudge sauce+ chopped nuts= mini sundae

--Ricotta + sugar + mini chocolate chips = soft cannoli

--Macarpone cheese + sugar + drop of coffee = instant tiramisu

--Cream cheese + fruit jam + fresh fruit = Italian-style cheese cake

24 jumbo shells, conchiglioni, preferably Garofalo brand

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

Fillings & garnishes: approximately 2 cups total of gelato, custard, whipped cream, fruit, yogurt, etc.

Cook the shells in lightly salted boiling water until al dente and drain.

For sweeter shells, put the cocoa powder and confectioners’ sugar, to taste, into a sturdy plastic food storage bag. Toss the shells, a few at a time, into the bag until fully coated with cocoa powder. For less sweet shells toss them in just cocoa powder. Fill with anything you like.

Mezzi Maniche Dolci

Tiny Pasta Bites

From: Pasta Modern: New & Inspired Recipes from Italy, by Francine Segan

Try this recipe once, and like me, I bet it’ll become one of your go-to desserts.

There are lots of ways to vary it. One of my favorite variations is to fill the fried pasta with mascarpone cheese sweetened with sugar and dust with instant coffee granules and cocoa powder, for a riff on tiramisu.

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon finely chopped dark chocolate or mini chocolate chips

1 tablespoon minced candied orange peel

1/4 pound mezzi maniche or other short tube pasta

Optional garnishes: chopped pistachios, chopped candied cherry or orange peel, cocoa powder or chopped chocolate

In a bowl, using a fork, mix the ricotta, sugar, chocolate, candied peel and cinnamon until well combined. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until very tender, about 1 minute longer than al dente. Drain the pasta well. Meanwhile, heat about 1 inch of oil in a very small saucepan until very hot, but not smoking. Add half of the pasta and fry until golden and crisp, about 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel. Repeat with the remaining pasta.

When room temperature, roll the fried pasta in granulated sugar, then fill each with the ricotta mixture, either using an espresso spoon or by piping it in with a pastry bag. Garnish, if you like, with chopped pistachios, candied orange peel, grated chocolate or other toppings.

Pasta Fritta alla Siciliana

Sicilian Pasta Crisps

From: Dolci: Italy’s Sweets, by Francine Segan

Twirled forkfuls of honey-sweetened spaghetti, crunchy on the edges and soft in the center--- scrumptious and a snap to prepare.

1/3 pound angel hair pasta

Sunflower or other vegetable oil

Zest of 1/2 orange, or 2 tablespoons finely minced candied orange peel, 2 teaspoons orange blossom water

Pistachios, very finely crushed

Cook the pasta in salted water according to package directions. Drain.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the honey, orange zest or candied orange peel, orange blossom water and 2 tablespoons of boiling water.

Put about 1/4 inch of oil in a small frying pan and heat until hot, but not smoking. Twirl small forkfuls of the pasta, drop them into the hot oil, and cook until golden and crisp at the edges. Turn, and cook on the other side for just a few seconds. Drain the pasta crisps on a plate lined with paper towels.

Arrange the pasta crisps on serving plate. Serve warm, drizzled with the honey mixture and topped with a sprinkle of pistachios and a pinch of cinnamon.

Panzarotti con Ceci

Sweet Chickpea Ravioli

From: Dolci: Italy’s Sweets, by Francine Segan

1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (canned, or 4 ounces dry, soaked overnight and boiled until tender)

1 cup best quality cherry jam

2-4 tablespoons sweet liqueur such as Amaretto, limoncello, mandarino, or a combination

16 ounces, about 3 1/2 cups, all-purpose flour

For the filling: Process the chickpeas through a food mill until you get a nice thick, smooth paste. Then mix in the jam and liqueur to taste. Stir in the zest and cinnamon to taste, and then add sugar or honey, if you like. Once you have tasted it and are happy with the flavor, then mix in the egg. You can make the filling several days ahead. Refrigerate until ready to use.

For the dough: Sift the flour, sugar and salt onto a clean work surface and make a well in the center. Heat the wine in a saucepan or in the microwave. Pour the oil and 1/4 cup of the wine into the well and incorporate the flour, a little at a time, until dough forms. Add warm water, a little at a time, if the dough feels tough. Knead the dough until smooth. Put into a plastic bag or wrap in plastic wrap

To assemble: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 or 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Spread out a large clean cotton cloth onto a work surface for assembling and cutting the ravioli.

Leaving the rest covered, take a small section, about an 1/8 of the of dough, and either pass it through a pasta maker (#3 hole size, not thinner) or use a rolling pin to create a 3 to 4-inch wide strip of dough. Make just 2 strips at a time, so you can fill and cut the ravioli without having the waiting dough get dry.

Lay a sheet of dough onto the cloth and drop a tablespoonful of the filling on the sheet, about 1 1/2 inches apart. Top with another layer of dough. Using your fingers, press the top layer of dough around the filling and using a ravioli cutter, cut out square-shaped ravioli. Repeat until you’ve used up all the dough and filling.

Put the ravioli onto the baking sheet and bake for about 25 minutes until golden.

Eat warm, sprinkled with powdered sugar or cold dipped in honey or mosto cotto or vin cotto.


  • For the Filling
  • 1 pound Farmer's cheese
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, plus more to taste
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • For the Dough
  • 3 cups (15 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) cold butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons warm water
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt (for water)
  • 1 quart canola, vegetable, or peanut oil
  • Sour cream for serving (optional)
  • Applesauce for serving (optional)
  • Caramelized onions for serving (optional)

Panzerotti con Ceci: Sweet Chickpea Baked Ravioli

Almost every region of Italy has its own sweet dessert ravioli with variations in fillings, shapes and cooking methods. Like Abruzzo’s caggiunitte, fried ravioli filled with pureed chestnuts, chocolate, espresso, rum and ground nuts or Marche’s cauciuni, baked half-moon shaped ravioli, filled with sweetened pecorino cheese. In Rome and other parts of the Lazio region dessert ravioli are filled with ricotta that’s been sweetened with either jam or sugar and in Sicily there’s a unique half-moon shaped baked dessert called ‘mpanatigghie filled with ground beef and chocolate.

In Puglia and Basilicata, ravioli called panzerotti, which means “tummy” in the regional dialect, are irresistible bundles of sweet crisp dough filled with mashed chickpeas and jam. They date back centuries and are especially popular during the Christmas holidays. Chickpeas aren’t a typical dessert ingredient but should be, as when pureed they are velvety on the tongue and add a pleasing denseness to sweet fillings. Panzerotti are traditionally eaten warm, sprinkled with powdered sugar or dipped in honey, or cold dipped in local mosto cotto or saba.

Usually, ravioli can be tricky to make, because you have to get the dough very thin and seal them carefully since they’re going to be dashed about in rapidly boiling water like tiny ships in a storm. But because these ravioli are baked rather than boiled, you can make them thicker and don’t have to worry about them opening. A very easy to work with dough!

Cook’s Tip: I learned a fabulous tip from Franca Artusi, the 72 year old spry grandmother from Basilicata who taught me this recipe. Instead of using a bunch of flour on the work surface to keep the dough from sticking, spread out a yard or so of clean white cotton canvas cloth, available at a fabric stores. It works miracles. The dough doesn’t stick or dry out from the extra flour. Plus-- and this is a big deal for me—clean-up is much easier. No little stuck on bits of flour all over the place. Just toss the cloth in the washing machine when you’re done and enjoy dessert!

Another Cook’s Tip: Bake the panzarotti in batches so that you’re baking one batch, while assembling the second. This way, you get to sample your efforts after just 25 minutes!


This seadas recipe is true to Sardinian tradition, which sees a few simple ingredients turned into something delicious. The sweet little pastries are filled with pecorino and lemon zest before being deep-fried and drizzled with honey. Make sure you use the best ingredients you can get your hands on.

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A unique dessert that feels quintessentially Sardinian, seadas (also known as sebadas) are one of the best-known dishes from the region. It’s a dish of humble origins hailing from the pastoral areas at the core of the region – areas in which sheep’s milk cheese and honey were widely available.

Walking the fine line between savoury and sweet, these ravioli-like pastries boast an lemon-scented cheese filling that melts and oozes when deep-fried, and a honey drizzle that balances out the flavour game while also adding a beautiful floral note to the ensemble.

The pastry is of the rustic type. It’s made with semolina flour and enriched with lard, resulting in a saturated, textured dough that is surprisingly easy to work with and that crisps up to perfection when deep-fried. That said, you can replace lard with olive oil if you like.

Young sheep’s milk cheese (primosale), of the kind that feels soft and giving to the touch and that tastes slightly tangy but not salty, is what makes the filling. If you can’t find it, opt for something similar in flavour and texture, even if it’s made with cow’s milk.

Finally, the honey. Corbezzolo honey is traditional and worth seeking out if you’re feeling adventurous it has a peculiar – almost bittersweet – flavour that pairs beautifully with the cheese. Alternatively, chestnut honey is also traditional, but a tad sharp-tasting. If you prefer milder honeys, acacia is a good bet.

Deep-fried, sweet ravioli with honey

Put the flour into a bowl with butter, egg, and a pinch of salt. Add the water, a little at a time, until everything comes together. Knead well. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and leave to rest in the fridge for at least half an hour.

  • 125 g ricotta
  • ½ orange, zest only, finely grated
  • 25 g sugar
  • ¼ nutmeg
  • 1 egg white

Put all ingredients, less the egg white, into a bowl, mix well, and then put the bowl aside.

Pass the dough through your pasta machine set to its widest setting. Fold the dough over the middle section and once again pass the dough through the machine. Repeat this process 10 times. Then decrease the roller setting of the machine by one grade and pass the dough through. Repeat this process, decreasing the setting by one grade for each time. Thus, the dough will be thinner for each time it is passed through the machine. Remember to sprinkle the dough with a bit of flour.

When you have passed the dough through at the lowest setting, you will be ready to make ravioli.

In a row, place heaped teaspoonfuls of the filling mixture onto the lower third of the pasta at 5 cm intervals.

Fold over the pasta over the middle and press down around the mounds of filling to avoid air pockets.

Use a ravioli wheel cutter to cut out the ravioli. Dust a tray with flour and then lay out the ravioli on the tray.

Vegetable oil

Heat up the oil in a saucepan. Here, the Morsø Jiko fire basket is excellent to use under the saucepan.

When the oil has reached 180 degrees C, you deep-fry the ravioli till golden. Be careful not to put too many in at a time – just one layer.

Skillet ravioli with spinach

One of the biggest shocks of my post, cough, 30 life is that I have become, well, a jock. It unfolded in such an innocent manner, I barely registered what was happening. I always swam laps but every couple years I take a break from it to torture myself into becoming “a runner” (read: jogging and sputtering). I usually fail and go back to swimming but this time it held my interest longer. Then I decided to throw in a day a week with a trainer because I’m just not the kind of person who does burpees on my own volition. Then I found out my trainer used to be a boxer, and so I started that too. Then I got my mom’s old bike and it turns out that biking around the city is vastly superior to any other mode of transportation. And then my husband decided that he wanted to get back into tennis and I was bummed I’d never learned and now we both take tennis classes once a week. If you think I’m about to break into some horrifically boring speech about, like, the power of exercise, don’t worry, I’m still me. If there was any takeaway here, anyway, it would just be that once I realized I did not care whether I ever achieved greatness in any of these sports — I have no desire to run races and spend more time gesticulating my racket in the direction of a tennis ball than I do hitting it — I was free to truly enjoy them.

Besides, as always, this is a food story and very specific one: the kind of food I leave kids with when mom and dad are out playing tennis. I usually leave the specifics of kid-feeding to my Bon Appétit column (you’re reading it, aren’t you? find them all here) but this is too brilliant not to share right here, right now. When we had babysitters growing up, it meant pizza night, and it was awesome. And while we do that, too, it’s a little different now that it’s a weekly thing, and on Monday. Monday is too soon to break open pizza delivery vault. But a lot of the foods I make for the family (read: what we want to eat but try to nudge them along for the ride) don’t go over as well when we’re not there “encouraging” (read: bargaining, begging them to try a bite, reminding them about that one time they liked it).

Which brings me to skillet ravioli (a cousin to crispy tortellini), a magical 10-minute dinner that is child-approved (pasta! cheese!) and makes me feel like I have not fully given up on providing nutrients (spinach!). This idea hails from (wait for it) a meal kit company that a friend uses and told me about this dish. I loved the idea and did my best to reverse engineer it and then simplify it for my lazy purposes. It’s fantastically simple: sauté garlic and spinach, set them aside, steam fresh or frozen ravioli in the skillet, add some mascarpone (instant creamy sauce), the reserved spinach, top it with parmesan and briefly broil it until crisp and browned you never make ravioli again another way.