Eating Adventures

Fresh Eats: Ravioli With an Eggy Surprise at DiFranco's

Mark Antonation
Theses giant ravioli at DiFranco's are filled with egg yolk and shredded duck.
Since opening at 955 Lincoln Street five years ago, DiFranco's has earned a reputation for its handmade pastas. The daily board of penne, spaghetti and other Italian noodles keeps Golden Triangle neighbors and other regulars coming through the door for lunch and dinner, to eat in the tiny storefront or take home. Among all the labor-intensive creations on display in the deli case, one stands out as a true obsession for pasta makers; because of the time and skill required, you won't find it on many Italian menus around town.

Every one of DiFranco's duck-and-yolk ravioli contains a single raw egg yolk nestled in duck confit (duck leg meat that cooks for hours in its own fat), a feat that requires patience and a deft touch from the cook. Once the ravioli are boiled, the yolk gels just slightly, spilling out and mingling with the pecorino-black pepper cream sauce to make an even richer mixture.
click to enlarge Making the ravioli is a labor-intensive process. - MARK ANTONATION
Making the ravioli is a labor-intensive process.
Mark Antonation
Sandwiching a raw yolk between two delicate layers of pasta and then sealing the edges so that the whole raviolo holds together when cooked is so time-consuming that DiFranco's only offers the dish as an occasional special. An order of two runs $16.50; it's currently the most expensive item on the menu. Get it now for lunch or dinner; the special will only be available for another two or three weeks before the menu is rewritten — and that's no yolk.

click to enlarge The plated ravioli in a cream sauce of pecorino and black pepper. - MARK ANTONATION
The plated ravioli in a cream sauce of pecorino and black pepper.
Mark Antonation