By Steph Rodriguez

Whether they’re deep-fried to a golden crisp and tossed with shaved Parmesan and fragrant herbs, or served in a piping hot dish under a bubbling layer of melted mozzarella cheese, Sacramento serves up a variety of ravioli. These traditional, mostly square, dumplings date back to 14-century Italy where they first made their appearance on the plates of merchants. Traditionally green herbs are blanched and mixed with fresh cheese, eggs and herbs and stuffed and sealed into fresh ravioli pasta. In the City of Trees, Italian restaurants serve both circular and square-shaped ravioli with an assortment of cheese fillings like ricotta and goat cheese, to a blend of palate pleasing proteins like spicy sausage and grilled chicken, and for the herbivores, look for the spinach and asparagus varieties when in season. Mangia!

Biba Ristorante Italiano
2801 Capitol Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95816
(916) 455-2422

Born and raised in Bologna, Italy, Biba Caggiano grew up cooking the food of her region. She moved to Sacramento in the late ’60s and eventually saw a lack of authentic Italian cuisine in the area, so she decided to open up Biba Ristorante Italiano modeled after the cusine she grew up cooking and eating. With her more than 35-year career as a restaurant owner, Biba has published nine cookbooks and filmed 100 episodes of her cooking show “Biba’s Italian Kitchen”, which appeared on the TLC and Discovery Channels in the ’90s. So, if you choose to dine in at this Italian eatery, you’re in for food that’s not only traditional to its region, but cooked with love from Biba and her chefs. Biba’s take on ravioli is buttery, yet delicate and full of earthy flavors courtesy of purple beets. There is always a “stuffed ravioli of the day,” so the menu is always changing to include options like cheese and prosciutto.

1806 Capitol Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95811
(916) 447-8646

There are three mouth-watering words that will bring utter satisfaction to your stomach when you dine at Paesano’s in Midtown: deep-fried ravioli. Paesano’s serves baskets of fried ravioli as a starter on its menu and each square-shaped pasta pocket is stuffed with a simple blend of spinach and ricotta cheese and then served with a spicy marinara for dipping. One order is only $9 and comes with six pieces and are dusted with a nutty parmesan cheese and fresh, green herbs. However, if there’s more than two dining at your table, I strongly suggest splurging on two orders because these crispy and delicious ravioli are gobbled up so incredibly fast.

Roma’s Pizzeria
5347 Franklin Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95824
(916) 421-1881

Roma’s is the perfect, low-key family dining experience Sacramento has to offer. When you step inside the family-owned restaurant you’re greeted by the cashier who will take you into one of two dining areas. There’s old-school arcade games and a pinball machine for the kids and for the adults, there is a jukebox with a variety of music that ranges from Latin, pop, soul and R&B. Roma’s is known for its rich, Italian gravy (red sauce), which, if you order any pasta dish, is served straight out of the oven bubbling with a layer of melted mozzarella cheese. Roma’s also serves manicotta, lasagna, and spaghetti dinners with its dense, delicious meatballs. But, the ravioli dinner is also a must-try dish. Try the house-made ravioli with meat sauce, which is Italian sausage-based, and you can choose either a side of sausage or a couple of the restaurant’s prize meatballs.

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La Trattoria Bohemia 
3649 J St.
Sacramento, CA 95816
(916) 455-7803

La Trattoria Bohemia is a unique and quaint, little eatery in the heart of east Sacramento. This restaurant serves both Czech and Italian cuisines on its menu, so expect to find authentic Czech dishes like sausage platters, hearty goulash varieties, schnitzel and chicken paprikash. In the Italian region of La Trattoria’s vast menu are comfort dishes like penne with your choice of either tomato, alfredo or pesto sauce, lasagna with homemade tomato sauce, spinach, red and green bell peppers, garlic, ricotta and mozzarella cheeses. Of course, this place also serves ravioli two ways. Choose from either spinach and ricotta ravioli with a side of two Italian sausages or the meat-stuffed ravioli, both are served with the diner’s choice of tomato, alfredo, aglio-olio (garlic and olive oil), or pesto sauces.

Mama Susanna’s Ristorante Italiano
River Park Shopping Center
5487 Carlson Drive
Sacramento, CA 95819
(916) 452-7465

For more than a decade, Mama Susanna’s is known as the little hole in the wall that cooks up old-world Italian food at its finest. New owner Michelle Gully and her family aspire to keep the warm feeling of grandma’s Sunday dinners alive with their extensive Italian menu. At Mama Susanna’s, kids under 10 years old can peruse the child’s menu with dishes for $8 a piece while parents feast their eyes on all the ravioli options the restaurant has to offer. Start with the Asparagus and Cheese Gigante with imported mixed giant ravioli in a creamy portobello mushroom sauce, or there’s the Grilled Chicken and Four Cheese Ravioli filled and topped with grilled chicken, mozzarella, Swiss, ricotta and Parmesan cheese with hints of garlic in alfredo sauce. But, it’s the Lobster Ravioli filled with Atlantic lobster and a blend of gourmet cheeses, topped with a rich gorgonzola-sage sauce and topped with toasted hazelnuts that is a foodie’s dream dish.

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