Recipes From Chena Civello Of Civello’s Raviolismo

Ravioli expert Chena Civello of Civello’s Raviolismo shares homemade recipes for pasta sauce.

Civello’s Spinach-ricotta Ravioli with No Cream Alfredo Sauce 

Ravioli Rapture
Chena Civello’s homemade ravioli and sauces add a tasty punch to your typical pasta.


Stop by any of these local stores to stock up on frozen, homemade ravioli.

Civello’s Raviolismo
1318 N. Peak St. 214-827-2989.
Holy Ravioli
4446 Lovers Ln. 214-696-3993.
Central Market
5750 E. Lovers Ln. 214-234-7000.
Whole Foods Market
4100 Lomo Alto Dr. 214-520-7993; 11661 Preston Rd. 214-361-8887; 2218 Greenville Ave. 214-824-1744.

Chena Civello has a vivid memory of playing in the back of her father’s import store on Oak Lawn Avenue in 1952. As children, she and brother Philip watched their Aunt Frances hand-make the beef-and-spinach and ricotta ravioli that was sold in the store.

Years later, as Chena tells it, she and Philip drifted back to the family business, and the two have continued the Civello legacy for 20 years now. The pair worked out of a rented commercial kitchen for a time and then moved into their current Peak Street location near Baylor Hospital, where they sell wholesale ravioli to the public and local restaurateurs. Chena says restaurant sales make up about 75 percent of her business, but her lips are sealed as to which spots around town she supplies.

Either way, we love stopping by Civello’s Raviolismo to see the day’s offerings and pick up some of our favorite combinations: crimini mushroom, goat cheese, black bean, and Aunt Frances’ original beef with spinach. The ravioli is sold frozen in individual 18-count packets, but Chena suggests giving it your own touch by pairing homemade sauces with the pasta.

Since the Civello name has been associated with good Italian food in Dallas for more than 40 years, you can’t go wrong with their family recipes. And when you present your “homemade€VbCrLf Italian feast, Chena says your secret is safe with her. She’ll never tell.

No Cream Alfredo Sauce
(serves 6 generously)

 2     cups milk
 1/2  stick (4 tablespoons) butter or margarine
 1/2  cube chicken or vegetable bouillon
 1/2  teaspoon granulated garlic
 1/4  teaspoon salt
 1/4  teaspoon pepper
 1-2  tablespoons cornstarch (in cold water)
 1/4  cup grated Romano cheese
        Fresh herbs or spices

Add milk, butter, and crumbled chicken/vegetable bouillon cube to a saucepan. Stirring often over medium flame, add granulated garlic, salt, and pepper. Bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat and add cornstarch solution to reach the desired thickness. Add grated cheese, stirring constantly, and remove from heat. Chop a few sprigs of fresh oregano into sauce and serve over feta and black olive ravioli. Or, add finely chopped fresh basil or Italian flat-leaf parsley and serve with spinach-ricotta ravioli.

Tequila Sauce Diablo
(serves 2-4)

 2        cloves fresh garlic, chopped
 1        bunch green onions, chopped
 6        mushrooms, sliced
 1        cup chicken or beef bouillon
 1/2-1  teaspoon white pepper
 2-3     teaspoons flour (to thicken)
 1/8      teaspoon salt (or to taste)
 1/4      cup tequila
            A good dash of Worcestershire sauce

Add onions, mushrooms, and garlic to bouillon simmering in large skillet. Add salt, pepper, and Worcestershire. Reduce slightly. Add tequila and cook until slightly reduced. Thicken with flour. Garnish with fresh basil or parsley. Pairs well with veal ravioli.

Italian Parsley Pesto
(serves 4)

 1           cup fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, washed and trimmed (remove stems)
 1/4        teaspoon salt
 1/4        teaspoon pepper
 1-2       cloves fresh garlic, peeled
 1/8        cup nuts (pine, walnut, or pecan)
 1/4-1/2  cup extra virgin olive oil, depending on desired consistency
 3            tablespoons grated hard Italian cheese such as Romano or Parmesan

Add first five ingredients to food processor and pulse until mixed. Turn food processor on and pour a steady stream of olive oil into the bowl until pesto reaches your desired consistency. Add grated cheese and blend a minute more. Drizzle pesto over shrimp, crab, or lobster ravioli, and garnish with a sprig of parsley.

Fresh Tomato Marinara
(serves 4)
 2     pounds fresh tomatoes (preferably Roma), washed, peeled, and chopped
 1/2  bunch green onions, finely chopped
 3     large cloves garlic, pressed or finely chopped
 2     tablespoons Marsala or Madeira wine
 1     teaspoon olive oil
 2     teaspoons sugar or honey
 1/2  teaspoon pepper
 1/2  teaspoon salt
 1     heaping teaspoon tomato paste
 3     large sprigs fresh basil, chopped

Coat skillet with oil and heat over medium-low flame. Sauté green onions for 1 minute, then add wine and garlic. When onions and garlic are cooked but not brown, add chopped tomatoes. Stir frequently while simmering. Add tomato paste and mix well. Add sweetener, salt, and pepper. Chop basil and sprinkle on top. Pairs well with most ravioli combinations.

Since 1990, Chena Civello, along with her business partner and brother Philip, has been making and supplying homemade ravioli to local restaurants and Italian food aficionados from her Peak Street store, Civello’s Raviolismo. Chena is now a business co-owner, mother, and also a proud member of the Dallas chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier, a charitable association of professional women in the fields of food, fine beverage, and hospitality. Since its founding in 1984, the Dallas chapter has raised more than $600,000 in endowments, scholarships, and grants with its annual Raiser Grazer event. For more information, visit


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