If you want to be taught how to make perfect ravioli and tortellini where would you go? You’d go straight to the master of fresh pasta, you would go to Mr Giovanni Rana.
If you don’t know, Giovanni Rana is an “institution” in Italy. He is the king of quality freshly made ravioli, tortellini, lasagne sheets and of a wide range of fresh pastas.
When you say Giovanni Rana you say fresh pasta. That’s all I can say.
Giovanni’s story is truly inspiring. It is a story of passion, a passion for pasta making and of hard work that transformed his life and made all his dreams come true. He began learning his skills as a boy in his family kitchen, then he worked in a bakery with his brothers until, inspired by the old-world techniques of local women, he began making tortellini in a small shop in San Giovanni Lupatoto near Verona. He used to deliver fresh tortellini on his red moped to the homes of families who didn’t have time to make their own pasta.
Initially pasta was made by hand but later because of increasing demand Rana switched to machine-made pasta in 1968, patenting the machinery that was developed for making filled pasta shapes. In the 1980’s the Rana brand expanded throughout Italy. Today he is a major player in all European markets and beyond, with production plants in Italy, Argentina and the USA and over 600 employees worldwide.
The majority of Italian supermarkets stock his pasta which is considered the best fresh packaged pasta available on the market. I am a keen customer too and let’s face it, I love making my own but it is hard to find the time to make fresh pasta most days!
Still. I had my chance to learn to make my own here and I certainly didn’t turn it down! Here I was, full of excitement at Giovanni’s restaurant learning to make fresh pasta the proper way!
And let the fun commence: the eggs are cracked..
Flour and eggs magically turn into a smooth and soft dough
Which is energetically and firmly rolled into a thin flat sheet
Then magically ravioli begin to appear…
I felt “secure” and confident under the paternal and watchful eye of Mr Giovanni!
The stuffing is made with ricotta and fresh spinach, a classic delicious Italian filling.
Leftover bits of pasta are never thrown away as they can be used to make “maltagliati” (which translates to “badly cut”); they make a fabulous addition to soups and minestrone.
So special learning from the master!
And a final shot as a memory of this exciting day!
And then a really REALLY yummy and rich lunch was waiting for us at Giovanni’s fab restaurant in London to end the lesson in style!
A mixed Italian meats antipasto with “gnocco fritto” (delicious fried dough typical of Emilia Romagna) was followed by a dish of black squid ink ravioli filled with ricotta and prawns (and you know how much I love seafood!). The dessert was an interesting plate of sweet ravioli filled with ricotta, chocolate and interesting spices…so dangerously moreish!
Oh yes, it certainly was a great day! Thank you Mr Rana!
And next time I will be sharing my newly acquired skills and I will be giving you some tips on how to make fresh ravioli in your own home. They are so delicious and the taste of fresh dough is just fabulous!