Friday 12 July 2013

Danilo aka The Bear

We first met Danilo, his wife Maryda & their son Matteo, when we arrived in Santa Maria on 3rd October 2010. They run Sulle Onde della Collina, a B&B located slightly lower down the mountain from Il Sogno and are our nearest year round neighbours. Flavio at the estate agency had booked us in for a few nights so we could hunt for somewhere to rent for a couple of months whilst work on the house was finished. Maryda is an artist and Danilo is a big friendly bear of a guy I just want to hug whenever I see him. He does all the cooking at Sulle Onde and this evening was the first time ever we've tasted his cooking - it really was a 'mouthgasmic' taste of the Cilento. We'd originally been invited last week, so that John could take some publicity shots, but, as we've come to learn in our new life, nothing ever happens at the first time of asking, or even the second - it's always a case of 'third time lucky'. The original promise had been that he would get us to take the shots and then we'd either dine with him or all go to his pizzeria, de Gustibus, on the outskirts of Santa Maria - again that plan didn't come to fruition & we instead found ourselves in Sulle Onde's kitchen watching Danilo cook ravioli ripiene, pancetta e fichi, topped with mandorle (ricotta stuffed ravioli, pancetta & figs, sprinkled with almonds).
The ravioli had been resting in the fridge in a huge tray and the other ingredients were lying on the central island unit - everything was ready to go as soon as we arrived.
The water for the ravioli was coming to the boil in a pan and a frying pan was put on over a high heat. After a couple of minutes the pancetta was added to the pan, stirred briefly & then the flame turned off. Next the ravioli was added to the boiling water & while they cooked Danilo chopped the fresh figs, added them to the pancetta and stirred until they had turned almost to syrup. By this time the ravioli were cooked and it was time to plate up. First the ravioli were arranged on a pristine white plate, then the pancetta & figs were poured over and finally a few chopped almonds were sprinkled over the dish. I was very kindly proffered a taster plate of the spare ravioli while hubby & Danilo took the main platter out to the terrace to take the photos
The whole combination of flavours just burst in my mouth; this was a typically simple yet tasty dish, the fresh ingredients combining to perfection. Photoshoot over, John & I were invited to eat the plateful of food, washed down with an excellent white wine. Dining on Sulle Onde's terrace as the sun slowly descended was wonderful and we hope to do so many more times in the coming years.

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