Celebrate with friends at your next dinner party by making a mouthwatering Italian dish.
The best vacation meal I ever ate was the Pear and Pecorino Ravioli at Ristorante La Giostra in Florence, Italy. It is a magical restaurant with delicious food. Housed in an old carousel warehouse, it is run by a prince, who is quite the character. The charming restaurant is lit with twinkle lights and candles, and the tables spill out into the cobblestone street.
A few years ago, a group of us rented a villa in Tuscany. (Before you start thinking I live the life of the rich and famous, picture a typical beach rental home in the hillsides of Italy.) One evening, my friends took us to their favorite restaurant in Florence. We still talk about that beautiful evening.
A prince who used to host great feasts at his castle started Ristorante La Giostra. The family restaurant has 16 tables, so it was crowded but cozy. The walls are covered with pictures of royalty and celebrities who have dined there.
A highlight of our evening was when the prince told us about the specials and made recommendations for us. One of them was the Pear and Pecorino Pasta. Topped with a browned butter sauce that complements the sweetness of the ravioli, the unassuming plate of pasta had bold flavors of pecorino cheese and pear. It was delicious.
As soon as I returned home, I started looking into how to recreate the dish. At the time, the restaurant's Web site provided a narrative of the ingredients only, so the testing began. I am going to show you how to recreate this meal at home and impress your friends with a fabulous restaurant-quality meal.
Using homemade pasta would be my first choice, but sometimes time does not allow for that. Armed with a pack of wonton wrappers, I can pull the meal together in less than an hour.
The filling is a mixture of grated pears and pecorino cheese. A little mascarpone and an egg yolk are stirred in to hold it together.
Lay a wonton wrapper down on a cutting board and spoon about 1 teaspoon of the mixture in the center. Brush the edges with water and fold the wrapper over. With your fingers, firmly but gently press tightly around the edges to seal the ravioli.
Cook in boiling salted water for 3 to 4 minutes.
Place butter and sage in a skillet over medium heat and melt the butter. Continue to cook it for a few more minutes until the butter turns golden brown. Remove from the heat, and discard the sage.
To serve, place 4 or 5 ravioli on a plate and spoon some of the browned butter on top. Sprinkle with a little cheese and a bit of chopped sage.
If you ever find yourself in Florence, Italy, plan on visiting Ristorante La Giostra for meal you will not soon forget!