RAVIOLI CON PERE E PECORINO. I love homemade ravioli, these little pockets of delight. Pear and cheese is a classic combination, but it’s not traditionally used on pasta. This recipe is a good example of Italian modern cuisine. For me this is defined by a few traditional ingredients of excellent quality used in a novel way and brief cooking to preserve flavors. The result is light, balanced and utterly delicious.
To obtain the right texture you need pears with firm smooth flesh, not the grainy and soft ones. Then you need seriously aged balsamic vinegar, I use 15 years old .
For the ravioli:
- 250 gr./8 ounces fresh ricotta
- 1 pear
- 60 gr (2 ounces) grated Parmesan
- grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1 recipe basic pasta dough
For the sauce:
- 60 gr (2 ounces) butter
- 30 gr (1 ounce) thin shavings of Parmesan or aged pecorino
- optional: 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar/person or best quality raw honey
Peel, slice and cut the pear in very small pieces, saute briefly in 1 teaspoon butter and cool. Add to the ricotta cheese, lemon zest and grated Parmesan.
Divide the pasta into balls of the size of a large egg. Using a pasta machine roll them out into long thin strips.
Put teaspoons of the pear and cheese filling about 5 cm (2 inches) apart on the sheet so that you can make a “parcel” by folding over the pasta sheet. Using a pasta cutter seal each parcel by cutting on three sides (the fourth is the fold). Dust a large tray or your worktop with flour and carefully place the ravioli on it taking care that they do not overlap.
Cook in salted boiling water until al dente, about 3 and 1/2 min. Cooking time depends on the thickness of the pasta and on how dry the ravioli are. Drain and toss ravioli with the remaining butter. Distribute onto 4 plates, top with Parmesan (or pecorino) shavings and drizzle with balsamic vinegar or honey.
To make vegetable ravioli, substitute pear with 500 gr./1 pound spinach leaves, blanched in boiling water, squeezed as dry as possible and very finely chopped. Another delicious alternative is to dice 3 medium zucchini and sautè in olive oil until just golden. Add one finely minced garlic clove and a few thorn basil leaves. Pulse chop in a food processor together with the ricotta and two tablespoons Parmesan until creamy.
Makes about 50 ravioli, serves 4.