Nestled in the foothills of the Alps, Bergamo is an enchanting, secluded city near Milan, Italy. It is the place where my grandfather was born.  The people there still speak the native dialect and remain uniquely creative artisans, especially with their food.  There is one particular dish from this region that reigns supreme: the “Casanse alla Bergamasca.” The recipe calls for handmade pasta, pancetta, veal, amaretti cookies, and a bunch of other ingredients we unfortunately don’t have here. So I offer you a similar recipe that tastes almost as delicious and will leave you wanting more.

Level: Medium

Serving size: 4

Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 25 min.
Total Time: 35 minutes

5 oz. thickly sliced bacon, chopped into 1 inch pieces
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon of fresh sage, finely chopped
17 oz. of Beef Ravioli (I recommend Jewel since I could not find this at Whole Foods)
Kosher Salt
Pepper, preferably freshly ground
Olive Oil
2 tablespoons Shaved Parmesan
1 tablespoon Parsley

1. Add 6 quarts of water, about 2 Tbs. of salt, and 2 Tbs. of olive oil to a pot.
2. Bring the pot of water to a boil.
3. While the water is heating up, sauté the bacon in a medium-size pan over medium heat.
      Tip: This recipe works best if the bacon is not crispy!
4. Add the butter to the pan and let it melt until it begins to foam.
5. Add the sage leaves to the pan and lower the heat to the lowest setting.
      Tip: use low heat when cooking with butter because it cooks quickly and can burn.
6. When the pot of water is boiling, lower the heat until the water is just simmering.
      Tip: Unlike other pastas, ravioli should never be cooked in boiling water.
7.  Add the beef ravioli to the simmering water and cook for five minutes.
      Tip: The ravioli is ready when it begins to float and the pasta has turned a light beige color. It is best to try it to see if it is ready.
8.  Drain the ravioli and add them to the pan with the bacon and butter sauce.
9.  Coat the ravioli with the sauce and sprinkle with some salt and pepper, to taste.
10.  Add 1 tablespoon of parmesan.
11.  Serve the ravioli and top each plate with the left over parmesan and parsley. This can be modified to taste.
12.  Enjoy!

Spice it up: You can play with many of the ingredients here. If you find cubed pancetta, use that instead of bacon to make the dish truly Bergamese. You can make your own ravioli but consider using veal instead of beef.  If you have several options for parmesan and are willing to spend a little more, go for the Italian Grana Padano or the Parmigiano Reggiano and shave it yourself. These cheeses have a very strong bite and are worth the price!