Pear and Gorgonzola Ravioli with Walnut Balsamic Sauce

These ravioli have a slightly sweet, mildly pungent and creamy filling. The intensely flavored walnut balsamic drizzle adds sweet, tart and earthy elements, which make the dish both intriguing and immensely satisfying.

Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • Pasta Dough:
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Filling:
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 large pear, peeled, cored, and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 2 1/2 ounces gorgonzola or blue cheese, crumbled
  • Sauce:
  • 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup walnut halves and pieces
  • Ravioli:
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 fresh marjoram sprigs, (plus more for garnish)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pear slices for garnish, if desired

Directions

  1. Make the pasta dough: combine the flour and salt in a bowl. Form a well in the center and add the eggs, yolk and oil. Break the eggs up with a fork. Use your fingertips gradually draw the flour into the center and stir it together with the egg mixture until all the flour is blended in and the dough is shaggy.
  2. Gather the dough into a ball. If it is still sticky, sprinkle it with a little more flour a and mix it in. Flour your work surface and knead the dough (push down and away with the heel of your hands and turn it repeatedly) until it feels smooth. If while kneading, the dough becomes sticky or soft, sprinkle just a little flour on it and continue kneading. The process will take about 6-7 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball, dust it lightly with flour and wrap it in plastic wrap. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, make the filling. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the pear and honey; cook, stirring occasionally, until the pear begins to brown slightly, about 6-7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cool 10 minutes. Stir in the ricotta cheese and Gorgonzola cheese; refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. Make the sauce. Combine the balsamic and honey in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high. Continue to boil until the mixture coats the back of a spoon like a syrup, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and swirl in the butter until melted. Season with the salt and pepper; keep warm. While the vinegar reduces toast the walnuts in a small skillet over medium heat; cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until the walnuts are fragrant and lightly browned, 4-5 minutes. Stir into the reduced balsamic mixture; keep warm over low heat. (Or it may be re-warmed just before serving.)
  5. Divide the dough into 4 even pieces. Set a pasta machine to the largest opening. Roll through one piece of the dough, first on the 7 setting, then on the 5, 3 and finally on the 2, at which point the sheet of dough will be about 1/8-inch thick.
  6. Lightly dust the ravioli mold with flour. Place the pasta over the mold; half of it will lie on the work surface. Press the dough to conform to the mold and place 1 teaspoon of filling in each hollow. Lightly brush water on the pasta around the filling (on what will be the edges of the raviolis) and fold the pasta over to cover the filling Press the pasta sheets together to seal the edges around the filling, pressing out any excess air. Roll over the dough with a rolling pin to cut the ravioli into individual squares. Invert the mold over a lightly floured baking sheet to release the ravioli. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
  7. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  8. Add half of the ravioli to the pot, return to a boil and cook until the pasta is tender, 4 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter with the marjoram and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large skillet over medium heat. Transfer the ravioli from the pot to the skillet with a slotted spoon. Keep warm. Return the water to a boil and repeat with the remaining ravioli. Toss the ravioli in the skillet to coat with the butter.
  9. Divide the ravioli among 6 plates and drizzle with the walnut balsamic sauce. Garnish with sautéed pear slices if desired.
  • Yield: 6 Servings


Making ravioli from scratch is rewarding on so many levels:  fresh pasta has an incomparable texture, you can customize the filling to your palate, and the process itself is inspiring.