I searched high and low, but for the life of me, couldn’t find it!
“Where is the fresh ravioloni gourmet pasta from Verona?”
At Milano, the Italian grocery store in Little Italy, Montreal, I was told that the shipment had not cleared customs and it would not be available for a while. I was dismayed. My family and I had become dependent on this product; we ate it at least three times a week, alternating between it and Sierra Leonean food.
At home I relayed the unfortunate news to my Salernitano husband, Massimiliano (Max). The next morning, he was up bright and early and out the door. He came back lugging several grocery bags with the Milano logo. The bags were filled with fresh pasta but the packaging was different.
As he sorted out the groceries, I scrutinized the new package. It read Giovanni Rana Tortellini circa $16 for two packages (500 grams), $3 more than the gourmet ravioloni from Verona.
But Giovanni Rana is Different
Like the ravioloni, Giovanni Rana Tortellini is also from Verona and comes with various fillings ranging from pumpkin, ricotta and pears, porcini mushrooms, truffles, nuts and cheese, tomatoes and mozzarella, pesto and pine nuts, prosciutto, ricotta and spinach, to name a few.
He made the one filled with prosciutto that night. After one bite, I knew my Verona Gourmet ravioloni nights were not going to be as frequent. Max used the same methods I employed to make the ravioloni: boil water, dump in the tortellini, drain it, melt butter on it, and finally sprinkle parmigiano over it.
But Giovanni Rana is different.
The tortellini is delicate and the filling is an actual little piece of prosciutto not processed to a paste. The pasta is smooth and the butter and parmigiano are evenly distributed throughout its surface. At first blush, it tastes like the tortellini floats in an invisible broth that keeps it moist and warm as it trickles down the esophagus and into the stomach; it is soothing.
When Giovannia Rana Came Out, It Completely Changed the Game
The ravioloni neither maintains the moist consistency in the pasta nor the heat. In fact, it gets cold quickly and as a consequence hardens. Moreover, the parmigiano does not uniformly spread out but forms clumps on the surface of the ravioloni.
Granted, the tortellini is three times smaller than that of the ravioloni; but is it really the size of these two pastas that create such a difference in taste?
I do believe that the small size of the tortellini contributes to its smooth texture and its ability to maintain heat. I strongly believe, however, that the main difference lies elsewhere—in the dough.
Max told me that when Giovanni Rana came out in the rest of Italy in the early eighties, it completely changed the game.
So, the next time you find yourself at a grocery store selling fresh pastas, gravitate to the freezers holding Giovanni Rana. It is more expensive than other fresh pastas, but it is worth the extra dough!