This winter, we found ourselves craving a classic Italian pairing: ravioli and red wine! Our featured seasonal entrée is a rich, meaty Braised Short Rib Ravioli with Roasted Tomato Sauce, with a savory sauce made with garlic, onions, fresh thyme and lots of butter. This may be my favorite pasta special of this year, and it’s a perfect dish for the season.
It’s easy to see why ravioli has been an Italian favorite for centuries…and here’s a bit of history. The first known mention of ravioli dates all the way back to the 14th century. This iconic Italian dumpling is incredibly diverse, and manifests itself in a variety of recipes from around the region. In Rome in 1549, Bartolomeo Scappi served his take on ravioli with boiled chicken, to the papal conclave. In Venice, ancient ravioli recipes are documented with fresh green herbs, blanched and minced, and mixed with a beaten egg and fresh cheese, all simmered in a broth. On the island of Sardinia, ravioli is prepared with grated lemon rind and filled with fresh ricotta cheese. These all sound like something I’d be happy to eat right now!
You won’t be surprised to hear that the natural pairing for our special winter ravioli is a great red wine. So, we’ve chosen two plucky reds from our list to recommend this season, one from the Old World and one from closer to home.
Our neighbors in Washington state, Revelry Vintners, make a terrific Merlot that may even convince Cabernet fans to have a change of heart. Merlot was actually the varietal that inspired Revelry’s initial winemaking. Known for its rich fruitiness and smooth body, Merlot makes for a great pairing with a rich and savory dish like our seasonal ravioli. Do yourself a favor and try this local Merlot, made with 100% Columbia Valley grapes.
For a slightly softer red from across the pond, Travignoli Chianti Rufina is a longtime favorite of mine from the Rufina region outside of Florence, where wine grape cultivation goes back over 900 years. That’s a long time—even for Italy! Travignoli is a well- respected Chianti producer, and this wine is known for its complex, dry character and soft finish. This sophisticated red is less fruity than American reds, and balances the richness of our winter ravioli beautifully.
Our winter special is only available for a limited time, but if you join us in Eugene you can try this delicious dish every Tuesday as part of our daily specials series.
We look forward to sharing these special winter offerings with you this season at Pastini.