Eating a Ravioli as Big as Your Face
Bottega, Yountville, California
Take a drive 20 minutes north of Napa, and you will find Yountville, a town of only 3000 residents. In this little town, there are also many great restaurants. That means that when I am in the mood for some great Italian food, I often wander up to Yountville and head to Bottega.
The meal always starts with buttery focaccia, but the best part is the dip made with olive oil and parmesan cheese they bring alongside it. The meal is definitely not healthy, but all the flavors are amazing. Usually, I get a salad to start, one of my favorites is surprisingly made with raw Brussel sprouts. It also comes with whole Meyer lemon dressing, Marcona almonds, a sieved egg, and pecorino cheese.
Another amazing starter is the Uova Croccante con Pancetta Cotto. It is basically a crispy soft boiled egg with a warm pecorino and fig leaf budino, along with fresh black mission figs. It typically comes with a smokey pork belly glazed in rosemary balsamic pork jus as well.
For my main dish, I always like to get pasta. Their best dish is a huge Ravioli, better known as a “Raviolo”. It is quite literally as big as my face, and definitely one of their signature dishes. I have also had the Gnocchi which is made with ricotta and referred to as “pillows” because it is so fluffy and soft. However, you really can’t go wrong with any of their homemade pasta options, with a homemade sauce of course.
Sirved Must Try:
- Uova Croccante con Pancetta Cotto: Great savory flavors with a bit of added sweetness for balance.
- Raviolo di Uovo: This is a potato pasta filled with farm hen egg yolk, meaning it explodes when you cut into it. There is also ricotta and Swiss chard with truffled brown butter and sage for amazing flavors and texture.
- Ricotta Gnocchi della Nonna: Referred to as Ricotta “pillows”, this large gnocchi is covered with their signature old hen tomato sauce and Pecorino Romano. It is the best gnocchi I have ever had by far.
- Burrata Caprese d’inverno: Grilled artichokes and lemon marmalata with wood grilled bruschetta and Sausalito watercress. It is basically a twist on a classic Caprese with many different flavors.
- Pappa al Pomodoro Spaghetti Grande: You most likely haven’t had a dish like this before. It is Tuscan bread and tomato soup with pickled cherry tomatoes, Parmesan Reggiano spuma, and a twist of spaghetti on top. You just have to try it.
When it comes to “secondi” the part of the menu that is considered to be the main course, it can sometimes be hard to find something at an Italian restaurant that is not meat-heavy. However, there is a great vegetarian option, the “Lasagnetta di Zucchini al Forno”. It is a wood oven-baked zucchini and potato lasagna, with shaved mushroom-celery salad and a broken tomato vinaigrette. For a vegetarian dish, it has a lot of flavors.
I also love seafood, so I recommend the “Brodetto ai Frutti di Mare”. This comes with Gulf prawns, Savory clams, Monterey calamari, and mussels, in a white wine tomato broth with an olive oil crouton, plus saffron aioli for an added twist. Sometimes they have risotto on the menu, and that is absolutely to die for. Comes with a soft farm egg on top to mix in, with shaved truffles. Unfortunately, this dish is seasonal, so you have to catch it at the right time!
You might be full, but don’t forget to save room for one of the desserts of the day. I highly recommend the chocolate olive oil cake or homemade Italian doughnuts!
Explore Bottega’s restaurant menu in Yountville, California here.