Mimi’s Ravioli in Hollywood has become an institution, providing Italian pastas, sauces, breads and gourmet groceries to loyal customers for 38 years.
The store is part Italian food emporium and part New Jersey-style market with a counter piled with cheeses, dry salami and crusty breads. It has expanded four times, most recently adding a brick oven for pizza plus prepared foods for takeout.
It’s a family affair for owners Frank and Linda Billisi, with Frankie Jr. managing and another son, Anthony, making the pizza. The family roots are in Sicily, and several generations were in the food business in New York. Mimi’s is named for the wife of a cousin who opened the tiny original; today the business supplies American Airlines with frozen pastas.
On the shelves you’ll find imported olive oils, dried fungi, preserved fruits and risotto rice. House-made dishes include flaky lobster tail pastries stuffed with custard cream and clamshells filled with sweet ricotta.
The pizza pies have a blistered, chewy crust with a crisp, blackened bottom. Sicilian pizza, known as sfincione, is like thick focaccia bread baked in a pan and cut in squares.
Prepared foods include stacked slices of grilled eggplant, fresh mozzarella and tomato drizzled with balsamic vinegar, artichokes stuffed with seasoned bread crumbs and kamut salad made with large wheat grains tossed with cranberries and pecans.
Ravioli pillows (fresh or frozen, round or square) hold fillings of butternut squash, goat cheese, spinach and tofu, eggplant, lobster and porcini mushrooms, to name a few. There are also gluten-free and whole-wheat pastas.
Save room for a slice of amaretto cake or Sicilian cassata cake with a marzipan shell filled with cannoli cream.Linda Bladholm is a Miami food writer and personal chef who blogs at FoodIndiaCook.com.