At times, I’m sure I’m the only person in on earth who feels this way, but I’m not crazy about things stuffed with cheese. Save for a once-a-year indulgence of baked macaroni and a rare grilled cheese sandwich, I just don’t enjoy cheese by the cheek full. It feels too rich, indulgent. I think cheese was meant to be savored, bite-wise, in a setting where its delicate twists and turns can be pondered. It seems whenever the quantity is amplified, it has an inverse effect on the quality. Frankly, the dry, flat stuff that fills most ravioli is just depressing.
It’s also boring. Years ago, in a tiny, nearly-empty restaurant in Venice, I had a taste of what ravioli could be were its potential ever actualized. Minced porcini and wild mushrooms bound ever-so-slightly by ricotta, or perhaps in hindsight, breadcrumbs, filled a thin, almost translucent piece of pasta, which floated in a subdued puddle of tomato broth. It was perfect, innovative, lightweight and healthful. I came as close as ever to recreating it in November, though stopped short of the tomato broth, serving them instead pierogi-style.