There are a number of things we love about Italy. The food for one is delicious. It’s not just what they eat, but how they eat. They take their lunches and dinners seriously. Food is to be enjoyed. Everyone sits down, enjoys multiple courses of fresh, homemade cuisine and there is no microwave, television or work e-mail cram session. No one is rushing you to finish and get back to work. No one feels pressure to prove to the boss that lunch is not as important as business because he’s sitting right next to you. It’s beautiful, it’s relaxing and it’s the norm.
The Piedmont region is where the Slow Food revolution started. It’s the anti-venom for fast food and it is becoming a global movement. They encourage commitment to the environment, community and food heritage. They are the original ‘Farm to Table’ that has become increasingly popular in the States. Fabrizio’s mother Mariuca, up until last year when his father passed away, ran a tiny restaurant a few doors down from the winery. It was a Slow Food restaurant and she received multiple awards for her cooking. So when she offered to show us how she makes her homemade ravioli we answered with an enthusiastic, “Si, per favore!” Of course, our Italian being what it is, we weren’t 100% sure what we had said yes to.
Mariuca makes everything by hand. She grinds the meat for the filling, makes her own dough for the noodles and picks most of the veggies and herbs out of her own backyard for the sauce. She doesn’t hunt but she knows the hunters that she buys her meat from. I love the idea of knowing exactly where your food is coming from and what is in it. No mystery meat or additives you can’t pronounce, what a novel idea!
The machine she uses to roll the dough and fill/press the ravioli together is about 100 years old and just amazing. Hopefully the pictures I took will do it justice. Of course this process takes longer than tossing frozen ravioli in the microwave but it is a million times tastier and healthier when it’s fresh.
Do yourself a favor if you aren’t used to enjoying a sit down meal and make something from scratch, cook with a glass of wine and friends or family, tell everyone to forget their diet and schedule for the evening and enjoy the good food and good company. You’ll be glad you did. Here is one of my favorite Italian soup recipes from The Barefoot Contessa and a good place to start. Buon Appetito!