The Home of the Original Toasted Ravioli is... Missouri!

An extremely popular appetizer served on a daily basis at our Lake of the Ozarks Italian restaurant is our hot, crispy, full-flavored Toasted Ravioli. Many assume that, since it's a dish commonly found in Italian restaurants, it was created in Italy. On the contrary, this tasty treat was invented right here in the Show-Me State, good old Missouri, U.S.A.!

Toasted Ravioli History 
Many people are surprised to find out that the first toasted ravioli were served just north of us in St. Louis, Missouri. Un-toasted ravioli is a traditional food that's earliest known appearance did occur in Italy in the 14th century. Still, it was a cook right here in our home state that decided deep-frying these tasty morsels was a good idea. (And we're so glad that someone did!)

As with many foods, there is more than one restaurant that claims to be the original spot to serve toasted ravioli. One thing rings true in all accounts, its origin can be traced to one particular area in St. Louis - a predominantly Italian neighborhood known as "The Hill." Another common thread in the stories is that this dish was created by accident! As for which of the following tales is the true one, well, it's still a mystery. 

The first story to lay claim to creating toasted ravioli comes from "Mama Campisi's." They say that Chef Fritz accidentally dropped some ravioli into the fryer. Mickey Garagiola, the older brother of Major League Baseball Hall-of-Famer Joe Garagiola, happened to be in the bar at the time. He was the first to get a taste of the "mistake" and soon after, toasted ravioli began showing up on menus across The Hill. 

Another restaurant, "On The Hill" (originally "Angelo's"), says that in 1947, Chef Mario Battocletti had meant to drop some ravioli into water but accidentally dropped it into oil instead. 

Still another account claims that the origin of this appetizer should be credited to Louis Oldani who is said to have named the dish "toasted" ravioli because he thought it sounded better than calling it "fried" ravioli.

Toasted Ravioli, Li'l Rizzo's Style 
Here at Li'l Rizzo's at the Lake of the Ozarks, as we already mentioned, toasted ravioli is a very popular menu item. (Especially during Happy Hour, when appetizers are half-price!)

Our style of toasted ravioli is stuffed with beef. Once it has been deep-fried to a beautiful, crispy, golden brown, we top the tasty treat with parsley flakes and parmesan cheese. Lastly, it is served with a side of our savory meat sauce.  

If you are already a toasted ravioli fan, then we're willing to bet they are one of your go-to orders each time you dine at Li'l Rizzo's. On the other hand, if you have not had the chance to give this amazing appetizer a try, then you need to get over here as soon as possible and get that done. You'll be happily surprised at just how delicious a "Missouri-Italian" creation can be! Enjoying an order of toasted ravioli alongside the best Italian food at the Lake of the Ozarks is going to be a highlight of your time in the lake area.   

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