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The 5 Iconic Dishes of Southwest Florida

Specialties that we're famous for.

(page 1 of 5)

As much as sweet ambrosia and Dionysus’ happy potion defined what the gods indulged in, these dishes have achieved near mythic status in our own local food lore. Whether you’ve lived here for 20 years or you are just visiting for a week, you need to check out these recipes that have defined the restaurants that invented them.

Butternut Squash Ravioli

Angelina’s Ristorante

24041 S. Tamiami Trail, Bonita Springs, 239-390-3187, angelinasofbonitasprings.com

Perhaps what Angelina’s is most famous for is its climb-up wine tower, which ascends into the cathedral ceiling like a spinning castle turret and houses more than 4,000 bottles. And then there’s the complimentary limoncello shots to end each flawless meal. But what you may not know of, and what keeps regulars returning time and time again to pair with those extraordinary libations, is the equally exquisite butternut squash ravioli.

Aside from the dish being the restaurant’s No. 1 best-seller consistently since the first time the grandiose doors opened 10 years ago, it says something meaningful that the recipe has remained unchanged despite a changing of the guard in the kitchen several times (including a one-year stint by Top Chef finalist Sarah Gruneberg, who also had a 3-year stretch with Michelin stars as the executive chef of Spiaggia). If you see the ravioli mentioned in a Yelp review, chances are it’s a five-star write-up.

Reinvention of the wheel is the secret ingredient, as the dish itself is not groundbreaking or novel. Brown butter-sage treatments are a dime a dozen. But the more-is-more approach deployed here is one you won’t find anywhere else, and it is unforgettable. Candied pecans swim in an orange-infused sauce with currents of truffle oil and peppery arugula—there is sweet, there is tang and there is crunch, all before you even get to the pillowy pockets of puréed squash perfection, making it everything you want in a plate.

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