Basil Three-Cheese Ravioli with No-Cook Fresh Tomato Sauce

Press and seal fresh basil leaves in homemade pasta dough to make three-cheese ravioli that are as beautiful as they are delicious, paired in this recipe with a no-fuss, no-cook fresh tomato sauce that doesn’t distract from the delicate pasta. Mix it up with other herbs if you like, but be sure to use tender herbs like other basil varieties or dill—woody, tough herbs like rosemary can cause the delicate dough to tear. (Bonus: the versatile homemade dough sheets used to make these beautiful ravioli can also be baked to make crackers like carta di musica with herbs.) You can make these ravioli ahead of time and keep in the freezer for a speedy weeknight dinner. To cook from frozen, add a minute or two to the cook time.

Basil Ravioli
Photo: Greg DuPree
Total Time:
2 hrs


  • 8 ounces whole-milk ricotta (about 1 cup), drained

  • 3 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 3/4 cup)

  • 1 1/2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (about 1 cup), divided

  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh basil, divided

  • 6 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided

  • 4 Homemade Dough Sheets

  • 1 1/2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves, divided

  • 4 quarts water, plus more for brushing

  • All-purpose flour, for work surface and dusting

  • 3 pounds red or yellow heirloom tomatoes (about 6 medium tomatoes)

  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • Balsamic glaze (optional)


  1. Stir together ricotta, mozzarella, 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, 1/4 cup chopped basil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Chill until ready to use.

  2. Place 1 dough sheet on a well-floured surface with one long side facing you. Brush right half of dough lightly with water; arrange one-fourth of whole basil leaves on top in a single layer. Fold the dry dough half over the basil-topped dough half; press gently to adhere. Dust dough generously with flour, and cut in half crosswise.

  3. Set rollers of a pasta machine to setting number 4. Working with 1 basil-filled dough piece at a time, feed dough through pasta machine. Transfer to a lightly floured surface with one long side facing you; brush off excess flour. Repeat process with the second basil-filled dough piece.

  4. Leaving a 1-inch edge from the short side of the first dough sheet, place a teaspoon-size ball of ricotta filling 1/2 inch from the bottom of the long side. Continue placing spoonfuls of ricotta filling in 1 row, leaving 2 inches between them. Lightly brush dough around ricotta filling with water. Fold top half of dough over row of ricotta filling, and gently press dough around filling to seal. Using a fluted pasta wheel cutter or a sharp knife, cut filled dough into 2-inch square ravioli. Transfer to a lightly floured baking sheet; cover with plastic wrap, and chill until ready to use. Repeat process with second basil-filled dough piece and ricotta filling.

  5. Repeat steps 2 through 4 with remaining 3 dough sheets, whole basil leaves, and ricotta filling. Ravioli can be refrigerated up to 8 hours or overnight, or frozen up to 1 month.

  6. Working over a large bowl, grate tomatoes on the large holes of a box grater, discarding skin and stem. (If mixture is very loose, pour through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a bowl; discard excess liquid.) Add 2 tablespoons salt, remaining 1/2 cup chopped basil, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Let stand at room temperature 15 minutes. Gradually whisk in oil.

  7. Bring 4 quarts water to a boil over high. Add remaining 1/4 cup salt, and stir until dissolved. Working in batches, boil ravioli until tender, about 1 minute and 30 seconds. (If cooking from frozen, boil ravioli 2 to 3 minutes.) Serve ravioli over fresh tomato sauce and sprinkled with remaining 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano. Drizzle with balsamic glaze, if desired.

Suggested Pairing

Crisp, light-bodied Italian white.

Related Articles