Michele’s ravioli in the frying pan were worth a 10. | Andrew Valente

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It all started with an article I wrote in sister paper Ultima Hora. I had noticed that very few places actually make their own ravioli. I know of only three that do so: the others buy them in with diverse degrees of success.

Sometimes the bought-in ravioli are made on such a small scale that they are very much of the homemade variety and are extremely good.

The ravioli for which there was a €2.60 surcharge for a little pancetta
The ravioli for which there was a €2.60 surcharge for a little pancetta.

But even so, the restaurant using them hasn’t done them on the premises: they have merely boiled them and then served them with a sauce of some kind — which, at least, is homemade.

I had asked at Bianco e Rosso in Calle Fábrica about their ravioli and was told they bought them in from another Italian restaurant called Makaria that has a fresh pasta outlet near the Escorxador.

Their ravioli were so good, I was told, they were just like homemade ones. As Bianco e Rosso is owned by Michele Caporale, whose standards are extremely high, I made a mental note to try them.

The aubergine ravioli at Makaría
The aubergine ravioli at Makaría.

In the Ultima Hora article I also mentioned Samuele and his partner Giulia who have a triple business that makes fresh pasta (including ravioli), prepared pasta and other dishes and also a cafeteria called Es Suprem that serves economical pasta dishes in Calle Parellades (Tel:688-327162).

About two weeks later Michele Caporale invited me to lunch at La Bottega, his main restaurant that is also in Calle Fábrica.

Michele’s ravioli served on a plate
Michele’s ravioli served on a plate.

As I had recently been talking to him about the simple dishes of spaghetti and tagliatelle dressed with olive oil or butter, chopped parsley and a hint of garlic, I assumed that’s what he’d be serving.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. What came to the table was a smallish frying pan containing fresh cigalas, slivers of monkfish, a tomato-based sauce and…ravioli.

But these weren’t ordinary ravioli. They were round, obviously put together by hand and in a most artisanal way.

The baba with strawberry ragout was excellent
The baba with strawberry ragout was excellent.

They were stuffed with an ultra smooth salt cod mousse that was absolutely lush and delish. The cigalas were perfectly sautéed, the flesh juicy and tasty.

But for me the best thing about these ravioli was that Michele had cooked them softish. There was nothing al dente about them — al dente ravioli are much too hard for me and I never enjoy them.

So these well stuffed ravioli with their cigalas and slivers of monkfish were, by far, the finest ravioli I have ever eaten and were worth a 10.

They were even better than the Sunday ravioli (a starter) made by my French-Italian cousin in Toulon, which she always filled with minced white veal and served with a fresh tomato sauce and lots of grated pecorino cheese.

As Michele’s Bianco e Rosso restaurant uses ravioli from Makaria, I asked him “Are these ravioli from Makaria?” He said “Yes.” I made immediate plans to get over to Makaria to try another couple of great ravioli dishes, but it didn’t quite work out like that.

I speak to Michele in Spanish and when I asked “Are these ravioli from Makaria?” He understood “from Italia”. But I didn’t discover that until I had been to Makaria.

So Michele actually has a supplier who can get him freshly made ravioli from Italy — and it really does make a difference when they’re the real McCoy.

FOOD

Pasta prices are a bit high, but they have starters that sound good and at reasonable prices.

THE VERDICT

The ravioli at La Bottega were superior in every way to any others I have ever eaten. It wasn’t because they were served with cigalas, slivers of monkfish and a lovely tomato-based sauce, it was because the ravioli were hand-made with a superb salt cod filling and had been cooked until the pasta was softish and not al dente in the usual Italian style — which, when it concerns ravioli, means the edges are semi raw. I do not enjoy them that way and I’d rather miss out on ravioli when they’re like that. So that means the ravioli at Makaría weren’t very enjoyable because they were so undercooked. I had told the waiter I wanted the ravioli well cooked but the first ones were very much al dente. I complained and asked for the second ones to be more cooked, but the kitchen didn’t pay the slightest attention to our request. I later learned the cook is Neapolitan and they make the most al dente pasta in Italy — even other Italians find their idea of al dente is much too hard. Although the ravioli were actually rather good and nicely presented, they were far too al dente and I shan’t be returning.

THE PLACES

La Bottega di Michele, Calle Fábrica, Palma. Tel:971-454892). Closed on Wednesdays. This restaurant is always busy and reservations are advisable at all times. Special dishes such as these imported ravioli are ordered in advance.

Restaurante Makaría, Plaça Raimundo Clar 7, Palma. Tel:971-058813. Closed on Sundays.

THE PRICE AT MAKARÍA

Aubergine ravioli, €17.50

Nordico ravioli, €17

Tiny portion pancetta, €2.60

Baba rum, €6

Mineral water, €2.70

Two cañas. 5.20

They invited us to a limoncello.

Total cost with VAT: €51