We fell in love with the stunning panoramic views and leisurely pace of life in Ravello, but what really sealed the deal for us was the food. Meals are the main event in this town; from start to finish, dining is defined by memorable flavors and a refined but relaxed atmosphere. The regional dishes appeal to a wide variety of tastes, so they’re a safe bet to prepare when entertaining a hard-to-please crowd.
Yes, it’s hard to get enough of the amazing agnolotti, tortellini and other homemade stuffed pastas throughout Italy, but if you’re looking for a unique spin on a delicate stuffed appetizer, this is the dish for you. The zucchini flowers provide a wonderful subtle flavor and crisp texture that showcases the rich cheese filling, which oozes when sliced. (Need we say more?) These pretty bites are irresistible, so don’t be surprised at how quickly they vanish from your family’s plates.
In a large sauté pan, on medium heat, add remaining olive oil. Add zucchini flowers, making sure not to crowd the pan and sauté until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes on either side. Serve immediately.
It’s sacriligious to compare the quality of pizza in Italy to most local restaurants in the U.S. and difficult to go back to ordering the standard pepperoni pie after a trip to Ravello. So when you’re longing for a taste of the Amalfi Coast at home, make this treat at home but be sure to splurge on the best mozzarella you can find.
In a large bowl, add yeast, sugar and 1 cup warm water and mix well. Add flour and salt, and mix. When dough becomes too difficult to mix with a spoon, dump onto a clean surface and knead until smooth, about 6 minutes. Lightly oil a medium bowl and add dough. Cover with Saran and set aside for an hour, while dough rises. Divide dough in half and place in two oiled bowls. Cover with Saran again and set aside for another hour. If you aren’t using dough immediately, wrap with Saran and refrigerate (up to 1 day), or place into a plastic bag and freeze.
Otherwise, preheat oven to 425˚F. Lightly brush two pizza pans with oil and roll out dough. Spread tomato sauce on top of dough, evenly distribute mozzarella and basil, and season both pies with salt. Place in oven and bake until crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbly, about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven, cut into slices and serve warm.
Briny, bright, with a kick at the end that is the essence of this dish, which is one of our favorite pastas from the region. It would work well with dried spaghetti or bucatini, but the lightly cheesy hint to this pasta and its ability to soak up the sauce makes it well worth the extra effort. Be careful not to overcook the mussels or all your hard work will be for naught.
On a clean surface, place flour in a circle. Make a well in the center and add egg, milk, 2 tablespoons oil, pecorino and basil. Gradually combine ingredients and knead until dough is smooth, about 7 to 8 minutes. Wrap dough in Saran and allow to rest 30 minutes. Cut dough into thirds. Using a pasta rolling machine, put 1/3 of the dough through the widest setting three times. Repeat process with two smaller settings. Place rolled-out dough onto a cutting board and cut into 1/2-inch slices. Place strands on a sheet pan and cover with a slightly damp kitchen towel. Repeat process with remaining two-thirds of dough.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt. Add pasta and cook until noodles float to the surface, about 1 minute. Drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta water.
In a large sauté pan, heat 3 tablespoons oil on medium heat. Add onions and sauté until soft, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, chili and a large pinch of salt and sauté an additional 2 minutes. Crush tomatoes with your hands and add to pan with wine, reserved pasta water and zest. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes and add mussels. As soon as mussels open, add cooked pasta and parsley and mix well. Drizzle a bit of extra-virgin olive on top and serve immediately.
Grilling sea bass on lemon leaves provides a wonderful citrus aroma to this light dish. Garlic breadcrumbs offer a crunchy texture to the buttery fish, and the roasted zucchini and tomato add a sweet and salty component that balances all the flavors. Feel free to substitute halibut, cod or even swordfish if sea bass is not available.
Preheat oven to 375˚F. Place bread on a sheet pan and toss with 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Bake until light golden brown and crispy, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven, allow to cool and place into a food processor. Pulse into crumbs, about 1 minute. Remove crumbs and place into a small bowl with butter. Mix well.
In a small sauté pan on medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of oil and garlic, Sauté until light golden brown and add to crumb mixture.
Preheat grill to 350˚F. Arrange 6 slightly overlapping lemon leaves on a sheet pan to form a 6-inch rectangle. Brush each side of sea bass with oil, season with salt and pepper and place skin-side down in center of rectangle. Repeat with remaining pieces of fish. Liberally sprinkle fish with breadcrumbs and add 2 teaspoons of lemon juice to each piece of fish. Place lemon and fish packets onto grill. Grill until fish is just cooked through, about 8 minutes.
Preheat oven to 300˚F. Slice tomatoes in half and place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with oil, season with salt and pepper and bake until soft, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and place in bowl.
Raise oven to 400˚ F. On a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, mix zucchini with 3 tablespoons oil, salt and pepper. Bake for 10–15 minutes, remove from oven and add to bowl with tomatoes. Toss gently and add cheese. Serve with fish.
*Please note: the leaves are meant to impart an aroma to the dish but are not supposed to be eaten.
This is our no-fuss but utterly delicious Italian spin on cheesecake. For this dessert, we don’t even bother to waste time making a traditional crust; instead, amaretto cookie crumbs provide a crunchy element that doesn’t distract from the velvety nature of the cake. A sweet-tart granita offers a counterbalance to the cake and fresh peaches on top make it just as beautiful to look at as it is to eat.
Preheat oven to 350˚F. In a small bowl, mix together butter and cookie crumbs until well combined. Place on a jelly roll pan and toast for 6 to 8 minutes. Reserve.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add cream cheese and mix on low for 5 minutes. Add ricotta and sugar and mix 3 to 4 minutes. Add flour, vanilla and zests and mix until just combined. Add eggs and mix for 2 minutes.
Butter a 9’’ springform pan and add batter. Place pan in a roasting pan that is same height or taller than springform. Add very hot tap water to roasting pan until water reaches halfway up springform. (Be careful to keep water out of springform.) Delicately place pan in oven and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until cake has just set and top is very light golden brown. Remove from oven and allow cake to cool to room temperature in pan. Place in refrigerator and chill for at least 4 hours.
In a small saucepan, add lemon juice, zest, sugar and water and heat on medium until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Strain zest. Place mixture in metal bowl, cover with Saran and freeze. Stir mixture occasionally until frozen.
In a medium bowl, add peaches and toss with honey.
To assemble dessert: slice cake and sprinkle generous amount of cookie crumbs onto serving plate. Add slice of cake and top with several spoonfuls of peaches. Using a fork, scrape granita into a large spoonful and add to serving plate.