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Borgatti's Ravioli and Egg Noodles

rose water Oct 20, 2006 02:10 AM

Just about every thread on Arthur Ave mentions this place, but it deserves its own chow praises. Borgatti's is a delightful old school pasta place off Arthur Avenue.

Enormous mixers in the back room mix up enormous wads of dough that are rolled out on enormous pasta machines. Plain egg pasta is cut to your desired width, then fluffed out on wax paper with a generous sprinkle of corn meal on top. The pasta cutting machine is perhaps a touch less jangly than the one at Rafetto's (on Houston Street, also a great place) but evokes images of pasta making as it's been done for as long as there have been machines to do it.

And the staff there is lovely. The elderly woman who seems to call the shots insisted that delivery men lugging huge bags of flour into the shop get sodas on their way out. And she packaged up my friend's small spinach and meat ravioli with such painstaking care--gently tearing off just the right number from a larger sheet, slipping it onto wax paper, tucking that into a brown paper bag, folding it over, taping it closed, and handing over the precious goods.

So yes, I've been charmed by the people and the place for a while. And I've dragged all my friends there on all my Arthur Avenue expeditions. But I finally tried their ricotta ravioli for the first time tonight, and it was totally heavenly. The pasta was light and fresh. And the filling was dense, salty, chewy and smooth simultaneously. It was far and away the best frozen ravioli I've ever had.

632 E. 187th Street
Bronx, NY 10458 (718) 367-3799
http://borgattis.com/

(Full disclosure: I'm hoping that if I talk about greatness in the Bronx enough, perhaps folks will join in...)

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  1. Chas RE: rose water Oct 20, 2006 02:42 PM

    My Italian Grandmother was an excellent home cook. She had last made homemade ravioli when I was in my middle 20's. They were something to behold. Some 10 yrs after that for a Holiday meal I brought some of Borgatti's Rav's to her house to have with her Meat Sauce which she was still doing at the time. Homemade ravioli were just too much for her to do though. After she tasted them she looked at me and said, "I think these are even better than mine". Because she lived for praise of her food, I would only say that they were close. But in fact Borgatti's Rav's are the best I have ever tasted. If you cook them after refrigerating them without freezing, the result will be a very creamy ricotta filling. But they aren't as sturdy in cooking and require more care. so they don't burst. Freezing will result in a grainy curd, but still out of this world. Their homemade dried pastas are also the best.

    1. k
      kenito799 RE: rose water Oct 20, 2006 08:00 PM

      I will add that the meat ravioli are also fantastic...subtly spiced puree of meat. And don't forget that ravioli are only $1.30 a dozen.

      Next I will be trying their spinach, tomato, or squid ink pasta!

      1 Reply
      1. re: kenito799
        rose water RE: kenito799 Oct 20, 2006 09:10 PM

        the $1.30 a dozen are for the small meat and spinach raviolis. the large ricotta ones, which are much bigger, cost more.

        if you want to check out the dried bagged pastas, they also have carrot!

        to get back to the heavenly ricotta raviolis, i've had grainy curd in other frozen raviolis before. but these were in my freezer for about a month before i used them last night, and they survived incredibly well. delicious fresh pasta, and not a smidge of graininess to the cheese.

      2. Cheese Boy RE: rose water Oct 21, 2006 04:45 AM

        Rose water, I don't know how long you've been familiar with Arthur Avenue, but another place that was family-owned and operated much like Borgatti's, was Calandra's Cheese in the same neighborhood. First stop for us was always Borgatti for the pasta, and sure to follow was Calandra for the fresh ricotta and mozzarella cheese. (When making lasagna, of course). Try Calandra's braided mozzarella in water sometime. Have the guy slice it up right in front of you.

        Not to digress, I enjoy the # 3 fresh egg noodles from Borgatti. I'll also get the lasagna sheets from there too on occasion. Just a side note, my very good friend is responsible for getting Borgatti's their custom printed T-shirts made surprisingly in upstate NY. My close friend delivered some raviolis and such to his friend living upstate one weekend. His friend was so impressed with their products that he decided to surprise the owners of Borgatti's with a bunch of custom made T-shirts one day. Long story short, more shirts were ordered, and the employees and family members wear them proudly. Rightfully so.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Cheese Boy
          rose water RE: Cheese Boy Oct 21, 2006 02:10 PM

          Interesting recommendation. I've never gotten the long tradition, family run feel at Calandra's. I've only been there a couple times, but both times I was helped by surly teenagers, and felt like I needed to drag information out of them. But their canestrato cheese is amazing, and that braided mozzarella sounds great.

          As for ricotta, the most amazing ricotta I've ever tasted comes from the Calabria Pork Store. (I can't believe I'm using superlatives twice in this thread, but these places are that good). It's exquisitely delicate and creamy (and worth braving the assault of the damp, salty sausage smell when you walk into the store). The ricotta at Calandra's is drier, and less salty.

          1. re: rose water
            Cheese Boy RE: rose water Oct 21, 2006 09:21 PM

            Ah yes that family-run feel at Calandra's cheese is long gone. This was years ago. Now things have changed. Their Canestrato is good? I will have to try it. Calabria Pork Store is another excellent find. I recommend their cheese and parsley sausage *highly*, especially if you love it loaded with bits and bits of oozing cheese, moreso than say that of Biancardi's. I will give a try to their ricotta sometime. Thanks for the recommendation. [We're exposing a lot of secrets here].

            1. re: Cheese Boy
              k
              kenito799 RE: Cheese Boy Oct 22, 2006 04:20 AM

              YES the canestrato is amazing...sweet, salty, tangy, a total cheese experience. Very intense.

              I have yet to try the ricotta from Calabria but I am hooked on their house-cured sausage, I have had fennel and spicy versions and the funky rich porky goodness can only be achieved by long aging in the moldy Bronx environment...a small miracle that places like this exist anymore.

              rose water, I paid $1.30 per dozen at Borgatti's for small meat and small ricotta ravioli, they also have larger ones.

              Let me now mention how grateful I am that Teitel Brothers (2372 Arthur Ave at 186th St, http://www.teitelbros.com/) carries marinated white anchovies packed in a plastic tray...spread them out on a plate, sprinkle thin slices of hot pepper and capers on them and squeeze lemon juice: antipasto HEAVEN. And grab some cerignola olives to eat with it...

        2. p
          peasoup RE: rose water Oct 22, 2006 12:54 PM

          No secrets!
          When I come home to the Bronx, several times a year, I make a beeline for Borgatti's - I love their ravioli and count them among the best I've ever eaten. Try their cavatelli too - they're terrific.
          The Calabria Pork Store is also a little slice of heaven - I absolutely love the smell in there - I grew up in the back of our family's deli, and the smells bring me back instantly. Their sausage with cheese and parsley is wonderful - especially when cooked over charcoal.
          What about Casa de Mozzarella? Any fans? Getting there just as the mozzarella is pulled from the water is like hitting the lottery - I can taste it even now.
          My visits always include all of the above, and a stop at Egidio's for pastry and espresso, and one at Mt Carmel Wines, for some Brunello to take home for dinner.

          5 Replies
          1. re: peasoup
            rose water RE: peasoup Oct 22, 2006 01:18 PM

            Yes, their mozarella is fantastic. That will be my comparison point when I check out the stuff at Calandra's that Cheese Boy recommended.

            I definitely haven't figured out the bakeries. I'm much more of a savory person, and one little cannoli is more than enough for me. But I had the first Sfogliatella of my life recently at Enrico's on Morris Park and thought it was completely incredible. Are there Arthur Ave places that compare?

            1. re: rose water
              p
              peasoup RE: rose water Oct 22, 2006 09:04 PM

              Well, seeing that Morris Park is/was my neighborhood, and Enrico's was "our" pastry shop, I have to agree that their sfogliatelli are unparallelled. But sadly, over the last few visits, I have noticed disturbing signs of slippage - I'm hoping it's just my imagination, but the pastries don't seem quite as good as they once were. Perhaps Agnes has backed off the running of the place, letting the younguns step up, I'm not sure. I'm not willing to give up the ship yet, but I am concerned. To answer your question, yes, to my mind, Egidio's is right up there wrt the quality level of the pastries.

              1. re: rose water
                Cheese Boy RE: rose water Oct 23, 2006 06:15 AM

                I've eaten a many Sfogliatella in my day. DeLillo Pastry shop on 187th off Arthur Ave is good. Egidio is good too. Hopefully you'll find the pastry to be nice and crisp and fresh (weekends best time to go). IMHO the best Sfogliatelle are baked at Court Street Bakery in Brooklyn. I've never been disappointed and they are consistently good *any* day of the week.

                1. re: Cheese Boy
                  Striver RE: Cheese Boy Oct 23, 2006 12:15 PM

                  I haven't exactly figured out why (maybe it's just a funny habit), but although in general I prefer Egidio's for pastry, I go to DeLillo's specifically for sfogliatelli and biscotti. Their sfogliatelli are outstanding, particularly when they're warmed in the oven for a few minutes.

                  1. re: Striver
                    rose water RE: Striver Oct 24, 2006 06:27 PM

                    Phooey! I should've reread this post before dragging kenito799 out on a sfogliatelli expedition today. First stop was Enrico's, and their batch was not ready yet. Hmph. Obligated to use my memory as the point of comparison.

                    Next stop was DeLillo's. And they just didn't look crispy and promising. So we passed.

                    On to Egidio's, where they looked incrementally better, and we got two.

                    And the memory of Enrico's wins by a landslide. Incredibly crisp. Every single layer a crunchy buttery crackly sliver of heaven. The filling a touch less sweet than and without the fruity bits of Egidio's.

                    $1.75 a piece at both places.

                    Enrico's Pastry
                    1057 Morris Park Ave
                    (between Lurting and Hone)

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