Apparent culinary mayhem at Machiavelli
When the ravioli arrives, it looks like a battlefield, or the work of a mass murderer: half-moon purses bulging with something so red, that it recalls beef tartare, or maybe human flesh.
Welcome to the Dolomites, a mountain chain in northeastern Italy, an area overrun by invaders many times over the last few centuries.
Every region of Italy has its characteristic stuffed and sealed pasta, and in the Dolomites, it’s casunzei ampezzani, ravioli stuffed with shredded beets and cheese. The beets were uncooked before the ravioli was boiled, so they retain an almost-raw texture, which crunches nicely between the teeth, and then yields.
The ravioli are topped with a simple butter-and-parmesan sauce and dotted with poppy seeds (!), and the beet filling is not as sweet as you might fear. In fact, it’s ultra-earthy. Sit outside at one of the sidewalk tables to enjoy these in late spring, and you won’t miss the meat.
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This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 21, 2012