Italy Recap + Tomato Basil Cheese Ravioli

This is a sponsored post by Giovanni RanaThis post contains lots of photos. If you prefer you can scroll to the bottom for just the recipe.

A few weeks back I was lucky enough to travel to Verona, Italy on a sponsored trip with Giovanni Rana, an authentic Italian pasta company.

I was in the company of a few blogger friends, Erin, Tiffany, and Alana, as well as dozens of people who had won a trip to Italy. Yes for real.

You can enter at the dinewithrana.com site and there are still three more trips this year you can win. Talk about dreams coming true and the trip of a lifetime!

We saw so much and did so many fun things (if you’re following me on Instagram you may have seen some of these photos) including a trip to the Masi Winery with wine tasting and a gorgeous four-course lunch.

This cheese board is everything.

Let’s not forget dessert. Lightly fried ravioli with a panettone filling, and dusted with confectioners’ sugar. You guys seemed to love this photo on Instagram.

We saw a short Romeo and Juliet play and although Romeo and Juliet are fictitious Shakespeare characters, their families, the Montagues and the Capulets, were real families living in Verona in the 1500s and this is Juliet’s (fictitious) balcony.

And her wall where people write and leave love notes to each other and to her.

We toured a centuries-old church. The architecture is astounding.

I walked by this gorgeous case of macarons daily.

We toured the Rana pasta plant and although I couldn’t take pictures inside because all the machines and the production are patented, we concluded with a fabulous pasta making class.

Pasta making was pretty easy. Just flour, two eggs, a fork to whisk the eggs into the flour, lots of kneading by hand, rolling out the dough, and filling it with spinach, mascarpone, ricotta, and Parmesan cheeses.

I think I did a pretty good job as a first timer. Not as perfect as the pasta that the pasta-making machines roll to 0.4 millimeter thickness but it was made with love. That’s what counts, right?

And that’s what is so amazing about Giovanni Rana. It’s a family-owned business started by Mr. Giovanni Rana decades ago. He gave us a private Q&A session and history about his company.

Pasta is family, pasta is love, Giovanni Rana is rooted in tradition, artesian practices, and inspires people to gather around the family table to enjoy a delicious meal together.

Giovanni Rana pasta is refrigerated. It’s not dry and doesn’t come from a cardboard box. The Rana family takes such pride in their pasta, in their company, and in all the ingredients they use. All the ingredients in the factory are tasted and tested to ensure they’re the best quality.

After our pasta making class we had a food styling and recipe creating session.

The ingredients to choose from were the most beautiful I have ever seen, hands down, and I have been to dozens of high brow food photography and food styling workshops, and these ingredients blew anything I have previously seen out of the water.

Not a penny was spared and everything was ridiculously fresh, vibrant, and colorful.

This is the dish I created and photographed. It’s light, fresh, but full of flavor. Giovanni Rana 4 Cheese Ravioli, cherry tomatoes, green beans, and garnished with basil.

The photos in this post were all taken on my iPhone 7+ but when ingredients are so fresh and the lighting in the Rana family’s lake home on Lake Garda that they so graciously opened up to us is so pristine, you don’t need a DSLR.

The trip concluded with a gran finale pasta gala bash complete with a live band, so much pasta, and wonderful wine.

Left to right: Tiffany, me, Erin, and Alana. Such fun ladies!

Today I am recreating a recipe that’s a twist of the one I created on the trip.

It’s light but satisfying, the cherry tomatoes and basil complement each other perfectly, it’s accidentally vegetarian because I used Giovanni Rana 4 Cheese Ravioli but you can substitute with your favorite.

As a bonus the colors in the dish – red, green, and white – remind me of the Italian flag.

What I love about this dish is that it’s ready in 10 minutes.

Because the pasta is refrigerated you only need to boil it for 4 minutes to achieve al dente perfection.

It’s a perfect dinner for busy weeknights that comes together so easily and the whole family will love it.

Tomato Basil Cheese Ravioli

Light but satisfying, the cherry tomatoes and basil complement each other perfectly, accidentally vegetarian, and ready in 10 minutes. A perfect dinner for busy weeknights that comes together so easily and the whole family will love it.

Ingredients:

  • one package Rana 4 Cheese Ravioli
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved if desired
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh basil, chiffonaded
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese, optional for garnishing

Directions:

  1. Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook for 4 minutes; don’t overcook. Drain and set aside.
  2. To a large skillet, add the olive oil, tomatoes, and cook over medium-high heat for about 1 to 2 minutes, or until tomatoes have softened.
  3. Add the ravioli, stir to combine, and cook for about 1 minute.
  4. Add the basil, salt and pepper, stir to combine, and serve immediately. Optionally garnish with freshly grated Parmesean. Dish is best warm and fresh.
Only Eats

Post is brought to you by Giovanni Rana. The recipe, images, text, and opinions expressed are my own. #dinewithrana