Il Sogno is well-known in town as Chef Andrew Weissman’s clean, authentic Italian restaurant, with their ever-changing menu and delectable antipasti bar. It often pops up as some of the best Italian in town, in fact. While lunching there this weekend, I became instantly curious of this new menu item:
Lombo Di Maiale Ravioli: Pork jowl ravioli with Fredricksburg Peaches
We’re in the middle of peach season down here, and the Texas Hill Country is a bountiful source. I was interested to see how these Fredricksburg peaches would be incorporated in a savory dish. Truthfully, a peach sorbet sounded more appealing, but that would be going against the inventive grain of Il Sogno.
What I love about the housemade ravioli pasta is that it tugs just enough–has that slight pull and chewiness–that speaks of its origin (in this case, the second floor of the restaurant) and actually tastes like… pasta. Not that quick-to-mush, bland stuff that you slide out of the box into the boiling water abyss. I think of the pasta shell like the tortilla of a breakfast taco. (You weren’t expecting a Tex-Mex reference in here, were you?) Good quality is a must and makes the dish. (Side note: Il Sogno was recognized last year in Bon Appetit magazine as one of the Top 10 Best Places for Pasta in the U.S.)
The ravioli filling was composed of intense smoky, salty strings of tender pork. Since pork jowl (cheek) is so tender by its nature, the ravioli melted in the mouth. And though the pork did lean too salty, the sweetness of the roasted peaches was a great balance. Add to that a bit of fresh sage, and the flavors were all there of a regionally influenced dish. Yes, I’d say combining ravioli with Hill Country peaches was surprisingly successful.