36: 'Nduja Egg Raviolo at Bar La Grassa


Chef Isaac Becker's take on a voluptuous Italian dish, raviolo al uovo (egg in ravioli), shows off simple ingredients while showcasing Bar La Grassa's ability to consistently execute an ambitious, artisanal, old-world-style dish in a new-world setting.

See also: 37: Corn Pancakes at Maria's Cafe

"I love those ladies... they are so great," says Bar La Grassa's sous chef, Ben Miller, referring to BLG's prep cooks. Miller touts these members of the kitchen crew, who tenderly assemble BLG's 'nduja egg raviolis, a precision-commanding preparation. During this delicate assemblage of ingredients, an egg yolk is cradled around a soft, cheesy stuffing, then capsuled in a giant ravioli -- egg yolk still intact.

Nesting with the egg yolk is a combination of whipped ricotta and Parmesan cheese along with a cured, Calabrian-style Andouille sausage spread called 'nduja. Fans of this spreadable sausage have called it "spicy pork butter" or "the red Nutella" for its versatility in adding to many savory dishes from omelets to simple bread spreads. But in this setting, the 'nduja adds a depth of meaty gusto and a slow-hitting spice to the already unctuous, silky mix. Hand-rolled pasta prepared with roasted-pepper coulis is then sealed around the edges of the layered filling, resulting a flying-saucer-esque lip.

After the raviolo is cooked to order, a brown-butter sauce finished with an ample pinch of thyme and red chile peppers is ladled over the dish, giving off an aroma of herbs and caramel.

We recommend approaching BLG's 'nduja egg raviolo with the pierce of a knife directly into the supple, doughy center of the dish. Watch the egg yolk slowly spill out like a science-fair volcano, then enjoy each heavy, flavorful bite with the curiosity of a child.

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