Ravioli and tortelli di magro: the best 4

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Louise Hay


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A portion of stuffed pasta 125 g can be served once a week.

"When buying, it is good to prefer ravioli or tortelli prepared without adding additives and, above all, poor in salt, because this ingredient can cause water retention and strain the kidneys and heart", says Dr. Diana Scatozza, doctor dietician in Milan.

"These are the criteria that I also followed to identify the winners of this lab from a nutritional point of view".

The importance of the filling

For the organoleptic evaluation the word goes instead to the food technologist Giorgio Donegani: «First of all I checked the amount of filling, which should represent no less than 35% by weight. All the lab samples exceeded this threshold and the winners ranged from 40% to more than 50%. I then gave an opinion on the ingredients, rewarding the simplest and most natural recipes and penalizing the presence of unspecified aromas ».

The quality of the pasta

Our expert then moved on to examining the pastry.

«For the evaluation I considered the quantity of eggs used: in some products it was definitely higher than 20% (the minimum acceptable), to guarantee a correct cooking resistance. I also "measured" the thickness, which must not be excessive, and analyzed the color, which must be quite deep yellow, without greenish spots on the surface, revealing the passage of humidity from the filling to the pastry. Finally, I checked the edges of the ravioli or tortelli: all were perfect, none had cracks or crevices from which the filling could come out during cooking ».

Ricotta, spinach and ...

Reading the labels, Dr. Donegani then rewarded the products they claimed a larger dose of the two main ingredients, ricotta and spinach, and the use of Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano DOP instead of a generic "cheese".

"As for the components that serve to" fill "and give consistency to the filling (breadcrumbs, potato flakes or even vegetable fibers), I gave a negative rating if their presence was excessive, evaluating it not only on the basis of the information on the package (in some products the amount of bread approached 50%, definitely too much!), but also of the direct verification made both by observing the color of the filling and by tasting it raw. Still on the subject of the ingredients of the filling, I gave preference to brands that used fresh vegetables instead of dehydrated ones and gave a note of merit to those without added salt ».

The cooking test

"For each sample, I followed the times indicated on the package exactly," continues the food technologist.

«After having fished out the ravioli or tortelli with a slotted spoon, I evaluated their integrity, observing the formation of any fractures, the detachment of the pasta with the filling coming out, the presence of fragments and pulping. So I tested the smell while hot, moving the pasta around a little bit: there should be no foreign scents or excessive presence of spices. After that I evaluated the flavor, which must be balanced, pleasant and harmonious, typical of the ingredients used: the aromas must be felt without covering the flavor of the spinach and harmonizing with that of the cheeses.

While chewing, I also appreciated the dough-filling balance, that is the sensation of fullness linked to the quantity of the filling in relation to the thickness of the pastry. In the best specialties, the taste of the filling did not predominatenor was there too much taste of the outer shell. Lastly, I considered the consistency of the filling, which is an index of the correctness of cooking. It was perfect if it was firm, compact, but not hard, while a negative judgment was given when the inside was mushy and inconsistent or partially passed in the cooking water ».

The quality-price ratio

As usual, Dr. Giorgio Donegani then expressed his opinion also on the basis of the price per kg, which ranged from almost € 12 for the most expensive product to just over € 3 for the cheapest one.


Giovanni Rana Browse it: ricotta and spinach € 2,49 the 250 g pack (€ 9,96 / kg).

The strong point. The super-filling filling.

These tortelli have 53% filling: the highest share of all the products in the lab. The sheet, particularly thin, is prepared with soft wheat flour, durum wheat semolina and as much as 30% of eggs.

Curiously, spinach (25%) comes first in the filling, followed by ricotta, breadcrumbs, vegetable fibers, cream and mascarpone. Among the ingredients there are also Parmesan cheese, sunflower oil and butter. Once the bag is opened (it is the only product tested not in the tray) the tortelli are regular in shape, without breaking. After cooking they remain intact.

When tasted, the pastry is consistent and the filling denotes a balanced taste between the hints of aromas, cheeses and spinach. The price is medium to high, the quality more than adequate.

In 100 g: 11 g of fat (of which 5,8 g saturated), 32 g of carbohydrates (4,1 g sugars), 9 g of protein, 1,4 g of salt, 270 calories.

Esselunga Top: tortelli with sheep ricotta and spinach € 1,45 per 250 g pack (€ 5,8 / kg).

The strong point. The quality of the ingredients.

The pasta is prepared only with semolina and 28% fresh eggs from the country: a high percentage, which guarantees a good cooking resistance. In the filling, the dose of both sheep's milk ricotta (40%) and cooked spinach (21%) is high.

The ingredients also include the Grana Padano DOP, the country's extra virgin olive oil and nutmeg. When the package is opened, the tortelli have a regular shape, without broken pieces, with a thin sheet of pasta. The filling is abundant (45% of the total weight) and a nice green color. After boiling the tortelli keep their shape well.

When tasted they have a pleasantly intense aroma: you can feel both the presence of spinach and that of ricotta. The price is high, but adequate for the quality.

In 100 g: 8,3 g of fat (of which 5,2 g saturated), 36,2 g of carbohydrates (of which 4,6 g sugar), 12,3 g of protein, 0,69 g of salt, 274 calories.

Coop Fior Fiore: Maremma ravioli with ricotta and spinach, € 2,79, 250 g (€ 11,16 / kg).

The strong point. The typical and delicious recipe.

The label does not explicitly state this, but when you do the math you can see that the pastry and the filling each represent 50% of the weight.

The pasta is prepared with durum wheat semolina and 30% fresh pasteurized eggs, a high share. In the filling there is a high quantity of fresh ricotta, mascarpone and spinach, flaked potatoes, but not breadcrumbs. The shape is typical of ravioli: square, with a wide edge. There are no broken pieces and the closure is well done.

After cooking, the pastry remains consistent. The flavor of nutmeg slightly covers that of spinach and ricotta, but the whole is still pleasant, thanks also to the softness of the filling. The price is high, the quality satisfactory.

In 100 g: 11 g of fat (of which 6,7 g saturated), 25 g of carbohydrates (of which 1,4 g sugar), 9,1 g of protein, 0,90 g of salt, 236 calories.

Buitoni Traditions: tortellini with ricotta and spinach, € 2,49 per pack of 230 g (€ 10,83 / kg).

The strong point. The presence of few saturated fats.

The pasta is prepared with soft wheat flour, durum wheat semolina and eggs to the extent of 20%. In the filling we find a good 40% ricotta and 17% spinach, which surpass the breadcrumbs in the list of ingredients.

There is grated cheese, unspecified, there are natural flavors, potato flakes, whey powder, nutmeg, garlic, but no additives. Once the package is opened, the tortellini appear to have a regular shape, without broken pieces or badly welded edges.

After cooking, the pastry has the right consistency. The filling is quite compact, with a flavor in which both spices and spinach are felt, in good balance with ricotta. The quality is adequate for the medium-high price.

In 100 g: 7 g of fat (of which 2 g saturated), 39 g of carbohydrates (of which 5,7 g sugar), 10 g of protein, 0,96 g of salt, 263 calories.

XNUMX our lab tester: Dr. Giorgio Donegani, food technologist in Sesto San Giovanni (Milan); Dr. Diana Scatozza, specialist in Food Science in Milan. 

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