This dinner is really easy to makeâ€”but looks and tastes like you spent hours slaving in the kitchen. The contrasting flavors and textures of a few good, fresh ingredients make this meal something special.
Earilier today, my folks dropped in on their way up to Maine to celebrate their 38th wedding anniversary. They arrived with a bag of treats in hand, which included a pound of fresh spinach and gorgonzola raviolis from Prima Pasta in Middletown, Rhode Island.
I knew what The Angry Chef and I were having for dinner.
As soon as they left, we busted over to Whole Foods to pick up a handful of things that would do the raviolis justice. We came back with a hunk of aged gorgonzola, some fresh baby spinach, and one really ripe Bosc pear.
In about a half an hour, we had a totally satisfying and rather unexpectedly fancy dinner.
All I can say is: Yum.
The chopped spinach cooked ever-so-slightly when combined with the hot raviolis bathed in garlicky butter. The creamy, strong gorgonzola began to melt when crumbled onto the pasta. The thin pear slices provided a cool and crisp contrastâ€”and a little crunch.
A note on ingredients
This is made with aged gorgonzola, also known as gorgonzola piccante or gorgonzola di monte. It has a sharper taste than the softer gorgonzola dolce that most folks know, and is firmer and crumbles well. If you can’t find it, any firm, strong blue cheese will do.
This would also be just as good with regular spinach and cheese ravioliï¿½or any other kind of fresh pasta, really.
Spinach Raviolis with Aged Gorgonzola and Shaved Pear
1 lb. spinach gorgonzola ravioli
1/2 stick butter
1 clove garlic, mashed
fresh black pepper
2 cups loosely packed spinach leaves
1/3 cup aged gorgonzola
1 Bosc pear, sliced super thin
Serves two generously as a main course and four as an appetizer.
Fill a large pot three-quarters full with water and set on the stove over high heat to bring to a boil.
Make the garlic butter
Add the butter to a small frying pan and set it on the stove over medium heat.
Toss in a clove of mashed garlic.
Stir the garlic and butter together as the butter melts. Add salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste.
After a minute or two, the butter will start to bubble and foam.
Lower the heat, and cook until the garlic begins to brown. (The goal is to brown the butter and garlic, but not burn either.)
Prep the spinach, cheese, and pear
Put your spinach on a board and chop it up well.
Put your chopped spinach into a large-ish bowl. Set aside until your pasta is cooked.
Measure out about a third of a cup of gorgonzola and set aside. Don’t fret if you smoosh up the cheese a little. (You’re going to crumble it over your cooked raviolis in a few minutes.)
Cut your pear in half, then into thin slices. Get them as thin as you can.
Cook the ravioli
By now, your pasta water should be boiling. Toss in a little bit of salt.
Grab your raviolis from the fridge.
Stir occasionally (and very gently) to keep them from sticking to the bottom of the pot. As they begin to cook, they’ll start to float to the surface of the water.
Depending on the size of your raviolis, this could mean that they’re done cookingï¿½or they could need a few minutes more. Keep an eye on them and test one when you suspect they’re cooked through.
When your raviolis are cooked, skim them out of the water.
Put your cooked raviolis directly into the bowl with your chopped spinach.
Keep doing this ’til all the raviolis are in the bowl.
Pour the garlic butter into the bowl on top of the raviolis.
Toss gently to coat evenly.
Plate and serve
To serve, portion the raviolis out into shallow pasta bowls. Crumble the gorgonzola onto the hot pasta. Nestle the pear slices in and under the raviolis. Serve and enjoy!