On Set: The Raviolatrice

On Set: The Raviolatrice

Vintage ravioli machine on the Food Over 50 set

If you've watched an episode or two of Food Over 50 you might have noticed a particular culinary device that sits on the counter of the hutch behind me. It's an unassuming gray metal Raviolatrice that was manufactured by an Italian company, Alba, circa 1970's. It's a sturdy device standing 18" tall, weighing well over 10 pounds and cranked by hand. It's got some years on it, but still works like a charm.

Now you may be asking yourself, "What's the big deal David? It's just a pasta machine. What's so special about it?" Well, in one way you would be correct. It's just an old school ravioli maker from Italy that operates on elbow grease. With plenty of fuss and manual labor all it does is roll out two ribbons of dough. Then with some more culinary hijinks - and lots of cranking - it extrudes a pre-prepared filling onto one of the dough sheets, while sandwiching, crimping, cutting and dispensing the neat little ravioli out the bottom. "So why the big write up about a "Macchine per Pasta Fresca?"

Well, there's a little more to this story than meets the eye. The size, style, origin and date of manufacture isn't what's newsworthy about this particular Raviolatrice. The interesting part involves whose kitchen this machine lived and worked in before finding its way to our FO5O set!

Maybe you've read the piece already about my "Celebrity Butcher Block?" If so, then you've seen the list of Hollywood performers who once-upon-a-time owned houses in Palm Springs. As it was explained to me when I bought that hefty chunk of hard rock maple, the butcher block was previously owned and used by just such a film or television personage who had their weekend resort home in the desert. But I also indicated that I knew of one Hollywood/Palm Springs mega-celeb who assuredly was not the source of the butcher block. That's because "The Raviolatrice" came from this celebrity's personal chef back in the 1990's. The chef's name was Roland and he made some pretty nifty pasta with it for "The Boss."

The rest of this story will take more time to explain, so for now let me tempt you by saying that a future episode of Food Over 50 - and our upcoming cookbook - will feature a signature pasta dish that I've created after the machine's former owner. Just think Old Blue Eyes!