Monday, July 27, 2009

Mystery of Hitchcock and the Raviolo

While researching
A Mediterranean Feast I rented an apartment in Venice where I explored both the cuisine of the city and the region of the Veneto. I was introduced to a kind of unusual ravioli called casunziei ampezzani made in a variety of ways. In Venice one can see these various casunziei at the Pastifico Ca d’Oro on the Strada Nova in Cannareggio. One kind in particular was called casunziei del cadore and was made with beet roots, parmigiano cheese, and smoked ricotta cheese. Casunziei look pretty and have a strong taste. As I dug deeper I discovered that this ravioli, also spelled casumziei, cassunziei, casônsei or casumzieei is simply the name for a kind of ravioli from Brescia in Lombardy and Ampezze in the Veneto. It is much influenced by Austro-Hungarian cuisine. It is usually stuffed with sautéed grated beet roots, poppy seed, and cheese in butter with some salt and pepper. It is also made with turnips. It was first mentioned in La Cronaca di Bergamo at the end of the fourteenth century. Casunziei also makes a rather surprising appearance in Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller ROPE. In one scene, as food is laid upon the table where the murdered David is hidden, the brilliant young aesthete, Brandon Shaw played by John Dall, tells Rupert Cadell played by Jimmy Stewart, that one dish being offered is casunziei. As far as I know this is only mention of this kind of ravioli ever in a movie or for that matter anywhere non-food related. [Photo: Amy Seponara]


  1. Bravo! I love it, and the history...

  2. When I need to think about these things I will definitely come back here
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