Ripe winter pears and sharp pecorino cheese make an unexpected and delicious pairing in this fresh pasta dish. Serve with a bright salad and rustic herbed flatbread for a simple but special dinner.
Pear & Pecorino Ravioli with Walnuts
1 lb. Bartlett pears, peeled and cored
8 oz. Pecorino Toscano cheese
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
3 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 lb. fresh pasta
3 Tbs. unsalted butter
3 Tbs. chopped toasted walnuts
Using the fine side of a box grater, grate the pears and Pecorino into a bowl. Add the mascarpone, 2 Tbs. of the parsley, salt and pepper and stir to combine.
Pasta machine method: Assemble a hand-cranked pasta machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Using the machine, roll the pasta into a thin sheet and cut into 12-inch-long pieces. Attach the ravioli attachment to the pasta machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Working in batches, fill the ravioli. Using a paring knife, cut the ravioli into squares.
Hand method: Roll out the pasta and cut into 12-inch-long pieces. Place a pasta sheet, with a long side facing you, on a lightly floured surface. Fold the dough in half lengthwise, press gently to make a crease and unfold. Place about 2 tsp. of the filling every 2 1/2 inches along the furthest edge of the pasta, about 1 1/2 inches in from the edge. Using a pastry brush dipped in water, moisten the exposed pasta around the filling. Fold the front edge of the dough over the mounds of filling. Starting in the center, gently press and shape the dough around each mound, working out to the sides and forcing out any air. Using the crinkled edge of a pasta cutter, cut the ravioli into 2-inch squares.
Transfer the ravioli to a lightly floured baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before cooking.
Bring a large pot two-thirds full of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add half of the ravioli and cook until they float and are al dente (tender but firm to the bite), 2 to 3 minutes. Using a skimmer, transfer the ravioli to paper towels to drain. Repeat to cook the remaining ravioli. Reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking water.
In a large, deep sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter and season with salt and pepper. When the butter is bubbling but not brown, add the ravioli and gently stir to coat with the butter. Add the reserved cooking water as needed to create a sauce. Stir in the remaining 1 Tbs. parsley. Transfer the ravioli to a warmed serving bowl, sprinkle with the walnuts and serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.
Inspired by a recipe from Lidia Bastianich.