Edline Chun, an instructor at RIT and dear friend, suggested that I should try the ravioli from a new store in her neighborhood called The Ravioli Shop. She went on to recommend their pumpkin ravioli. Edline's advice in all things is always trustworthy, so I had no choice, but to visit the store. Within hours of hearing her recommendation, I was standing in the little shop near Blossom Road. Within a few steps of entering the store I was warmly greeted by one of the proprietors, who immediately wanted to know if I had been there before. I said that I hadn't and then she launched into a tour of the store, all of the products offered, and a detailed description of their soon to be famous ravioli.
Following Edline's instructions, I asked for a box of pumpkin ravioli. The proprietor said that they were being made and that a box would be out in a few minutes. While I was waiting, I was treated with tastes of breads of exotic olive oils and imported jams from Lithuania. I bought a loaf of a very nice semolina bread covered with sesame seeds that was excellent with dinner. What I am looking forward to is trying their other bread. The other bread rises slowly and is usually only available late in the afternoon. What the other bread looks like is one of the best French breads I've had in Paris. It has a hard dark crust and has a wonderful texture unlike any other bread available in Rochester.
The Ravioli shop packages their ravioli in boxes with an insert that keeps the layers of ravioli separated. The packaging looks great and is functional. My box of pumpkin of 30 ravioli set me back $5.25. I was instructed to cook the ravioli for 8 minutes in a large pot of boiling water, then to toss the ravioli in a small amount of quality olive oil in the same, still warm, pan they were cooked in. I was further instructed to sprinkle the ravioli with freshly grated parmesan cheese at the table. Do not use cheap olive oil that comes in gallon jugs or cans on the ravioli. Buy something nice. We used Wegmans Italian Classics extra virgin Puglia Style olive oil. This oil is not the best you can buy, but it is a wonderful olive oil that is frequently on sale. Wegmans describes the oil as having fruity overtones. The overtones become wonderfully aromatic when added to the hot ravioli. A tablespoon of oil may be enough to coat 15 ravioli, which is also a reasonable quantity for two people. The ravioli are so rich and delicate that it would be a sacrilege to eat a box of them as one meal
At home later the same day and having followed the instructions carefully, I served the olive oil coated pumpkin ravioli and thin asparagus on a warmed plate to my wife. One bite of the ravioli and she was in ecstasy and for a good reason. The ravioli were sublime. They were made to perfection. The pumpkin filling was unlike anything I had ever had before. They were smooth, creamy, and delicate. After dinner, we called Edline and left an exuberant thank you on her answering machine.
A few days later, we repeated the first meal. By this time, the ravioli had sat in the refrigerator for three days and were starting to show signs of aging by drying out. However, they revived nicely in boiling water. The second meal was every bit as good as the first. We knew that we were now addicted.
Pacing ourselves, we put off buying more ravioli for a few days. Coming home from my second visit to the Ravioli Store, I had a box of spinach ravioli that I chose from a selection of cheese and roasted vegetables. The instructions I received from one of the proprietors was to follow the same process as I used for the pumpkin ravioli. I was told that some customers put marinara sauce on the spinach ravioli, but that the strong flavors of the marinara sauce probably overpowered the delicate spinach and cheese flavors of the ravioli. Yet another suggestion was to use the simple olive oil coating, but with a small amount of sautéed garlic added to the oil. We opted for the simple method and were not disappointed. The spinach ravioli were every bit as good as the pumpkin. A nice delicate white wine adds a nice compliment to the ravioli.
The ravioli can be frozen and are available frozen at the store. Freezing some might be a good idea. On my visits to the store, I got the impression that the proprietors were having difficulty keeping up with demand. The prospect of getting a taste for their pumpkin ravioli and then discovering that the store had sold out could be devastating.
I will be going back to The Ravioli Shop frequently to taste all of the ravioli flavors and will report back here as more experience is gained. I have also requested that The Ravioli Shop make a wild mushroom ravioli like those sometimes served at the Macaroni Grill on Jefferson in Henrietta. I was assured that many new flavors of ravioli are in the works. This could become a very long review if that is true.
To read more about the Ravioli shop and read about their breads visit the bakeries page.