By Heidi Glaus
ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - It is a neighborhood as rich in history as it is in alfredo sauce. A place where pasta is always boiling and so is a delicious debate about the origin of toasted ravioli.
"When I first bought the restaurant in 1981 I was handed the recipe for the original toasted ravioli," explained Charlie Gitto Jr., President and CEO of Charlie Gitto's restaurants.
A mouth-watering deep fried pasta pillow both Charlie Gitto's on The Hill.
"Supposedly what happened was the chef dropped a boiled ravioli in bread crumbs and took that ravioli instead of throwing it away fried it," said Gitto.
And Mama's on The Hill claim to have created it there.
"Mickey Garagiola tells the story here. He was a waiter up the street and he would come down here and have a cocktail with his buddy Fritz was the chef and he was making veal scalloping with red wine well instead of using the red wine on the meal he's drinking it so he gets tanked right," said Bob Tumminia, manager of Mama's on The Hill.
Similar to Gitto's story, a ravioli accidently dropped into the deep fryer where it was then plated and loved by those who ate it.
"And hence toasted ravioli," said Tumminia.
So this deep fried debate continues.
"I can only claim what I know. We did it in 1930," Tumminia said with confidence.
"There's a lot of variations, but the original one was here. That's the one we do and we're proud of it," said Gitto.
But one thing we can all sink our teeth into is that it started somewhere on The Hill here in St. Louis and continues to be one of our city's signature dishes.
In honor of National Ravioli Day on Wednesday, all Charlie Gitto's locations are offering toasted ravioli at half price. Mama's on The Hill will be offering ravioli at prices from 20 years ago.