Cabbagetown Italian cutie F’Amelia makes a dynamite eggplant ravioli, but you’ll need to eat it before it turns into a pumpkin—the pasta will disappear later this fall.
Eggplant is the star of this starch. After it’s cut in half, scored, and given a good rub down with a duo of oils (garlic and olive), chef James Harrison puts it in a large tray with rosemary, thyme, and a bay leaf. Then, he says, they “roast it until it’s almost mush.” After the eggplant cools, the flesh is scraped out and pressed with something heavy (often a plastic-wrapped can of tomato sauce) for 24 hours to get rid of the excess moisture. Finally, it’s “buzzed up” with confit garlic, chili flakes, salt, and white-wine vinegar.
From the heart
Pieces of artichoke hearts lend a contrasting bite to the eggplant’s creaminess. After cleaning the artichokes, Harrison places them in a vac-pac bag and cooks them sous-vide with olive oil and lemon juice. He says the ’chokes typically turn brown, but when prepared this way, they keep their green hue and are “the best colour [he’s] ever seen” in the cooked veggie.
No whey? Whey!
Dollops of creamy ricotta form a cheesy constellation and are seasoned with salt, then drizzled with olive oil. F’Amelia sources the ricotta (along with most of its cheese) from Etobicoke’s dairy darling, the Cheese Boutique. Run a knife through those dollops so the cheese mixes with the brown butter and spreads through the ravioli. Then: mangia.
Stew on it
Inspiration for the ravioli came from caponata, the Italian take on ratatouille. Harrison starts by browning butter with the artichokes, adds white wine to deglaze, then throws in roasted red peppers, vegetable stock, and more butter before adding crisp grilled zucchini sticks.
Using their noodles
To make these doughy discs, the kitchen uses semolina, powder-soft doppio zero flour, eggs, water, and salt. Harrison says forming the ravioli “could be a soothing activity, but only if you’re a patient person, because otherwise it can be a bit of a pain.” The filling isn’t solid—far less so than meat or spinach and cheese—so it’s tricky to seal the pasta without having the eggplant escape. The key is “to go slow and do it properly,” says Harrison, which is precisely what the restaurant’s pasta guy, Jason Yu, does to make sure each little pillow is perfect.
$17/$23 (sm/lrg). 12 Amelia St., 416-323-0666.