I love the handmade fresh pasta at Savio Volpe. It is – for me – the very best thing about the restaurant and what keeps me coming back. So I know what it is that I’m getting before I walk in the door. Consequently, my expectations are elevated, so any dip in quality registers plain as day. It works both ways, too. If a dish is better than anticipated, you take equal – albeit happier – notice. I’m sure you do much the same at your favourite establishments. You can’t help it.
Anyway, I was in the other night, and their orecchiette with tomato and pork sausage ragu sounded predictable, almost pedestrian when described to me by the server (it was a special). When it arrived, however, there was a dimension to it that I hadn’t caught in the description. Between the hot plate and the little ears of sauce-laden pasta was a super soft and creamy bed of EVOO-whipped, beautifully seasoned ricotta. I’ve enjoyed ricotta as a garnish on similar pastas, but whipped up and spread as the foundation? Never. I’d never even heard of it before. It turned something rustic into another thing entirely — something decadent. And its deliciousness was amplified by the joy of it being something new.
Chef Mark Perrier was quick to explain to me that it was a technique he learned from Portland chef Joshua McFadden (Ava Gene’s, Tusk) when they were cooking together at Savio Volpe for the Visa Infinite dinner last October. It’s not rocket science or anything especially innovative, but it worked so well. “Yeah, it’s pretty good.” Perrier agreed, adding that he’d never seen it before either. Again, it was just a special, so chances are slim it will be available on the next night you dine at the Fraserhood restaurant. But if it is, order two.
$18 | 615 Kingsway | 604-428-0072 | www.saviovolpe.com