Ravioli are a traditional type of Italian filled pasta. They are composed of a filling sealed between two layers of thin egg pasta dough and are served either in broth or with a pasta sauce. The word ravioli is reminiscent of the Italian verb riavvolgere ("to wrap"), though the two words are not etymologically connected
The earliest mention of ravioli appears in the writings of Francesco di Marco, a merchant of Venice in the 14th century. In Venice, the mid-14th century manuscript Libro per cuoco offers ravioli of green herbs blanched and minced, mixed with beaten egg and fresh cheese, simmered in broth, a recipe that would be familiar today save for its medieval powdering of "sweet and strong spices".
Today, ravioli are made in worldwide industrial lines supplied by Italian companies such as Arienti & Cattaneo, Ima, Ostoni, and Zamboni. Italian fresh pasta has a shelf-life of 30 days.
"Fresh" packed ravioli have in USA seven weeks of shelf life. Canned ravioli was pioneered by Chef Boyardee. This type of ravioli is filled with either beef or processed cheese and served in a tomato, tomato-meat, or tomato-cheese sauce.