Zembi d’Arzillo

Sole-Filled Ravioli with Tomato and Clam Sauce

Preparation info

  • Serves

    6 to 8

    (36 to 40 ravioli)
    • Difficulty


Appears in

The Mediterranean Kitchen

By Joyce Goldstein

Published 1998

  • About

This Ligurian ravioli has an unusual name of Arabic origin. Zembi derives from zembil, a basket of double palm leaves, and arzillo is a green seaweed found on the beach with the perfume of the sea. Arzillo is also Ligurian slang for limpet, a small shellfish which is part of the traditional sauce for these ravioli. Lacking limpets, we have substituted Manila clams.


  • 2 pounds sole fillets
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup finely chopped onions
  • 4 cups spinach chiffonade
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup (or as needed) dry bread crumbs
  • ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Basic Homemade Pasta for 6
  • 4 cups Tomato Sauce
  • 36 to 48 tiny Manila clams, scrubbed
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley


Steam the sole or sauté it quickly. Drain well, then finely chop.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until tender. Add the spinach; cook until completely wilted. Transfer to a sieve and drain well. Chop the spinach mixture and squeeze dry. Mix the sole, spinach mixture, eggs, bread crumbs, and nutmeg. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add more bread crumbs if the mixture is wet.

Roll, fill, and cut the ravioli as directed on, using 2 tablespoons filling for each piece.

Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling. Heat the tomato sauce in a wide saucepan. Drop in the clams, cover the pan, and cook until they open, 5 to 7 minutes. Keep warm.

Drop the ravioli into the boiling water and simmer 4 to 5 minutes. Remove them with a slotted spoon or large skimmer. Shake off the excess water and place on serving plates. Spoon the tomato sauce with clams over the ravioli and sprinkle with parsley. Serve hot. No cheese, please.