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Nov 19, 2011 06:26 PM

A Curmudgeon and his Ravioli

I lived in Rome for 17 years and took good agnolotti, as ravioli was called locally, for granted. In the U.S., I've had good ravioli only a couple of times: once around 1980 in an Italian restaurant in North Boston, and once in Seattle in the mid nineties. The latest debacle involved ravioli so large you had to cut them in four pieces to eat them, with a good three cheese filling and tough pasta (tough--not al dente) swimming in a mushroom broth with portobello and shitake mushrooms that were buried under so much (good) bacon that everything else was overwhelmed by salt and smoke. I longed for simple porcini ravioli tossed in butter flavored with sage and maybe a bit of speck. I loved stuffed pasta all'uova--whether in a clear broth or in a light sauce. Is it possible to find a dish that simple in American restaurants? Or do I always have to make it myself?

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  1. I don't know about American restaurants, but if you're ever in Toronto I could list off a handful of places that would fit the bill. Unfortunately so many try to just throw so many impressive sounding ingredients into one dish and instead of being beautiful and simple it doesn't work at all. The size I am not sure what to say, the places around here you've gotta cut them but I wouldn't say they are oversized by any means, and as long as they're proportionally filled and I am not just paying for excess pasta it doesn't bother me too much.

    1. I know just what you mean.

      I don't go to a lot of Italian restaurants in the US since I live in Italy, but I have had amazing, tender ravioli at Maialino in New York.

      BTW it's pasta all'uovo (singular) not uova (plural). Also, in Rome, local terminology uses agnolotti for meat-filled, often semicircular, ravioli, and ravioli for ricotta e spinaci, usually square, but it's not hard and fast. There are many names for stuffed pastas and the problems are the same for all of them.

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