Thursday, September 9, 2010
What I Can’t Wait For: Da Cesari Ravioli
As we get closer to leaving on our Italian adventure (departure date: October 5th), I’m not only thinking about what I have to take (and will post about that, too, but one hint: ice cube trays), and what we have to get together for the dogs (big crates, to start with, for the flight), but also have been spending lots of time ruminating over what I can’t wait to do, and to have, when we get there. This will be our fifth trip to Italy, and while we have lots of favorites in our Lisciano Niccone neighborhood, since we’ve stayed there for at least a few days every time we’ve been, we also have some favorites we can’t wait to get back to in other Italian locales, since we’ve also visited a number of other spots. And by “favorites” I mean both towns and cities and artistic vistas and such, but also specific dishes and drinks, which I’ll blog about as they start to overwhelm my imagination. The first, and a dish I’ve been dreaming of since the night after I ate it, is the Ravioli di Zucca at Da Cesari in Bologna, at Via de’ Carbonesi 8. Da Cesari is, to my mind, one of the must-stops on a culinary tour of Italy (and the spot of one of the best meals I ever had). Da Cesari is over 100 years old and family owned, with all the produce from the family farm and all the wine made by the family, too (we had an especially lush and delicately frizzante Laumbrusco). The staff is incredibly friendly and helpful (even bringing out the house digestif, which was a berry and herbal liqueur in a bottle that is frozen within a block of ice that has berries and leaves suspended in the ice), and everything we had to eat over the few hours we were there was delicious. But my favorite was the Ravioli di Zucca. It had solely a swirl of olive oil and parmigiano-reggiano on top, which is good, because with truly perfect homemade pasta, cooked to al dente excellence, you don’t need or want much in the way of sauce. After that first ethereal munch into the pasta, you hit the pumpkin filling, which is creamy without sacrificing bright flavor. It may have been the best ravioli I ever consumed (and believe me, I consumed every last smidge), and I can’t wait to taste it, and visit Da Cesari. Even though Bologna is about 3 hours away from Ciaro Chielo, we plan on making the trip before too long after we get to Italy (and don’t worry, we’ll post about it here).