As our longtime Pastini guests know, we have a tradition of offering ravioli dishes for holidays like Valentine’s Day, and also as special seasonal pastas. The reason? Ravioli are quite simply very special, and have been considered a holiday and celebration dish for centuries. As long ago as the 14th century, letters from the archives of an Italian merchant in Prato described ravioli, and each region of Italy has a ravioli tradition, although they are more prevalent in the center and north, where a wealthier population was able to afford the meat and rich cheeses like slow-aged parmesan for filling.
Early ravioli were filled with minced green herbs mixed with beaten eggs and fresh cheese, and served in broth or “in brodo”. It wasn’t until the 16th century, when tomatoes were introduced from the New World, that ravioli began to sometimes be served with tomato-based sauces. Today we fill ravs with all manner of delicious ingredients, usually mixed with cheeses like ricotta and parmesan: asparagus, butternut squash, or slow-braised beef (see our Braised Short Rib Ravioli in Tomato-Butter Sauce… you’re welcome). And sauces range from simple marinara to rich cream and elegant butter sauces.
This Valentine’s Day we’re continuing our ravioli tradition with lovely plump ravs filled with asparagus and four cheeses, including zesty Oregon blue for a touch of local flavor. To pair with this dish, I like either the elegant Di Lenardo Pinot Grigio, our own Pastini Bianco, which is 100% Verdicchio from Italy, or a bottle of the delicious Abacela Albarino. All of these whites will complement the flavors of our special dish beautifully. And if you lean towards red, try something medium-bodied like an Oregon Pinot Noir or the wonderful (and organic!) La Quercia Montepulciano.
Whether you are spending Valentine’s with your sweetheart, or with beloved friends or family… all of us at Pastini hope your day is filled with love!
All the best,