San Domenico Ristorante: Emilia Romagna Italy

After watching an enticing and decadent episode on Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations” I was drawn to this gorgeous restaurant. The segment that almost made me faint was the famous dish that this restaurant is famous for. I watched Anthony Bourdain cut into this delicate handmade ravioli and watched a luscious vibrant orange yolk ooze out onto the plate. The story that unfolded about mentorship between Gianluigi Morini and Michael White was a story of the sheer love of cooking and culture. Just look at the picture……ENOUGH SAID!


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The dish was created in the 1930s by Nino Bergese, who was a chef to the Italian royal family including the last king. Italy became a republic after the Second World War. Bergese, who had had an acclaimed restaurant in Genoa, was brought out of retirement in the 1970s to consult at San Domenico at Imola, where this dish found a second life among the non-aristocracy (if not exactly the downtrodden).

Below is a version the egg in the raviolo adapted from The Valentino Cookbook by Piero Selvaggio and Karen Stabiner (Villard, 2001). There is no way around it, the preparation is somewhat involved. And, very expensive, if a fresh white truffle is involved.

Spinach – ¼ cup, steamed and chopped
Ricotta – ¼ cup
Pamigiano – 1 ¼ cups, grated
Egg, large
Nutmeg – a few gratings
Fresh Pasta – 8 sheets, rolled thin and cut into four 4-inch circles and four 5-inch circles
Salt – to taste
Pepper – to taste
Egg yolks, large – 4
Butter – ½ cup
White truffles – 2 ounces, shaved

Cooking steps:

  1. Combine the spinach, ricotta, the egg, half of the parmigiano, nutmeg and salt and pepper and mix well.
  2. Place the 4-inch circles of pasta on a baking sheet. Divide the spinach mixture equally among them.
  3. Make an indention into the spinach mixture and pour in the egg yolk to each.
  4. Brush the edges of the pasta with cold water and place a larger circle of pasta on top of each. Press down gently with your fingertips around the filling to seal the edges well.
  5. Melt the butter until lightly browned.
  6. Boil the pasta for 2 ½ minutes in a large pot of salted water.
  7. Carefully remove the ravioli with a spatula and drain well.
  8. Place each raviolo on a plate. Pour butter and parmigiano over each.
  9. Shave fresh white truffles over each, if you have them.

To Note: Selvaggio mentioned to me that quail eggs, which have much smaller yolks, are probably easier to use for the home cook, if you can find them.


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