A new family moved into town. That was very special in the place I lived in. When someone decided to abandon a city or another town for ours, everyone wanted to know who the new people were and what brought them to this foolish decision.
This family was even crazier: they had decided to take over the town’s only restaurant! Grandma would be the cook, the mom would stay at the bar, and grandpa would serve.They ended up staying a couple of years to disappear later, as most of the families who decide to move in town from the city.
Grandma, the cook, well, she was special to me. There is no adjective to describe the freshness of her dishes: they were all homemade, made with the experience and love that only an italian “nonna” can have. She used to call me “fatina“, which means “little fairy“. Whenever I went there she didn’t even have to ask me what I would order: it was always ravioli. The most amazing, tasty, filling and delicious ravioli I have ever tried. I used to ask for sugo alla bolognese (bolognese sauce; at the time I was not 100% vegetarian) and put an extra couple of teaspoons grated cheese on them.
Ravioli are my favorite dish ever since. Roberto’s nonna used to know that as well and made them for me every now and then, my mum always buys them when I go back to Italy and I even made them myself a coupe of times.
Good Italian food is very hard to find abroad: in supermarkets you can only find the packed thick pizzas, simil-mozzarellas and other pseudo-italian packed stuff that usually is so predictably not italian, since 90% of the times the spelling on the packages is completely messed up (I would advise the companies to hire a translator instead of using Google Translator). Therefore either you buy the core ingredients and take a day off to prepare a really good, traditional dish, or.. you go to your friends’ little Italian restaurant. That’s what I decided to do last week.
This little place called Bocconi it owned by an Italian woman, but basically run by a few young Italian guys who happen to be my friends. I met them about a year ago and they welcomed us in their little Italian community in Leiden. They have an insane passion for food, real food, homemade and mostly organic.
Last week, my friend Sonja and I decided that we would make an Italian dinner together on Saturday. I knew the guys make fresh pasta and ravioli every Tuesday night, so I went there on Wednesday to get some of their freshly made spinach and ricotta ravioli.
On Saturday Sonja came here, we sliced a few slices of bread, put it in the oven, and when roasted, we topped it with tomatoes, and fresh herbs to make some beautiful bruschette; we prepared the ravioli with a simple tomato sauce (they are awesome enough already!), put some breadsticks on the table with a dip, we had each her personal bottle of wine, red for her, white for me, and enjoyed. While listening and chatting the hours away, we took a lot of pictures and had a good laugh. It was great, and the good food made it even a pinch better.
So, you see, our story, the story of ravioli and me, goes way back in the past. It is a long story with a happy ending. I will never get sick of them..