If you happen to know the slightest bit of Italian, or anything about different types of fresh pasta, you know that raviolini refers to small pasta, ravioli is medium, and raviolone is large—like the-size-of-your-hand large. Silvia Barban, executive chef and co-owner of Brooklyn-based restaurants LaRina Pastificio & Vino in Fort Greene and Aita Restaurant in Clinton Hill, serves her early-morning customers a big breakfast ravioli, or, as she calls it, a black pepper raviolone. It’s stuffed with mashed potato and four cheeses and smothered in a butter sauce. As if that weren’t enough, the raviolone is then topped with a sunny-side egg and four strips of bacon.
Barban was born and raised in Northern Italy by a mother of Calabrian ancestry. She's been cooking since she was a child and says it's easy to make pasta from scratch. When both of her parents were at work, Barban spent lots of time in the kitchen with her grandmother. “I was a pretty hyper kid, so there were two ways to make me sit still,” Barban says. “One was to give me wine and water at six years old. It never worked very well. The other one was cooking with her.” Although rolling dough is tough for a kid, Barban learned to appreciate it and now loves making pasta dishes like this huge raviolone.