The city of Florence is without a doubt one of the most desired destinations in Italy. However, before you cross this Tuscan beauty off your bucket list, any well-seasoned traveler will offer you some dining advice–don’t sleep on the pear ravioli.
As the name implies, there are no basic flavors in this dish. Rather, the taste buds are greeted by the unique combination of cheese and pear while fiocchetti, or little bows, encase the surprising filling.
Despite the fact that this is not your typical pasta, Fiocchetti di pera has left a lasting impression on many diners. One diner, in particular, is none other than Giada De Laurentiis, Food Network’s sweetheart of Italian cuisine.
In a recent Instagram post, De Laurentiis mentions that she daydreams of the pear pasta dish so often that she decided to make it herself. But she isn’t just making any old pear pasta, she’s making her favorite rendition from 4Leoni’s, and she’s showing her fans how to recreate it using her tried and true pasta dough.
Giada De Laurentiis’ Pear Pasta
In addition to the many restaurants serving this delectable Italian dish, one restaurant in Florence adds a bit of flair that puts it over the top, Trattoria 4Leoni. Known for its casual yet elegant charm, the cozy restaurant has a reputation for serving up some of the best pasta with pear and cheese. What makes rendition stand out from the rest is their sinfully delicious asparagus cream sauce.
Fiocchetti di pera in salsa di taleggio e asparagi, or Fiocchetti with pear and cheese in an asparagus sauce, is superb because the asparagus gives the dish a wonderful crunch. Plus, pear and asparagus both boast crisp, bright flavors that combine in a divine savory, sweet combo.
With her tried and true pasta recipe, Giada De Laurentiis makes recreating this masterpiece as easy as possible. Making homemade pasta may be the most difficult part of the whole process, but after that, it’s only a walk in the park.
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese, drained
- 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- 1 large ripe pear, peeled and cut into small ¼ inch dices
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Asparagus Cream Sauce:
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups whole milk, at room temperature
- Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 bunch thin asparagus, about 25 spears, ends trimmed, and cut into 1-inch slices
- Fresh basil, chopped, for topping
- Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, for topping
- Prepare the pasta dough, as per her instructions.
- In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, Pecorino, Parmigiano Reggiano, diced pear, egg, and salt.
- Prepare a sheet tray by dusting it with 1/4 cup of semolina flour and getting a small bowl of water ready for your workstation.
- Roll out the fresh pasta dough into thin sheets using either a pasta machine or by hand.
- Cut each rolled-out dough sheet in half–each half should be about 1 foot long. Using a small round cookie cutter measuring 2 1/2 inches, or the rim of a glass, cut circles from the sheet of dough. Place on a sheet tray dusted with semolina flour. Keep going until you have used up all the dough.
- With your fingertips dipped in the water in your small bowl, very lightly dab around the circles of dough. Fill the circle with a heaping teaspoon of filling. Make a pouch by gathering the edges of the circle together, trying not to have too much empty space in the filling, and pinch the edges together to seal. Place the fiocchetti on the sheet tray.
- Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Salt it generously.
- Over medium heat, melt five tablespoons of butter in a large skillet. After the butter has completely melted, add the flour and whisk until smooth, about 2 minutes.
- Add the milk gradually, whisking constantly to prevent lumps from forming. Over medium heat, continue simmering and whisking until the sauce is thick, smooth, and creamy about 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low and add the asparagus pieces, stirring occasionally. Season with salt if needed.
- Using a spider or slotted spoon, remove and place directly into the sauce. Mix gently to coat, adding pasta water if necessary to thin the sauce. Garnish with fresh basil and extra Parmesan, if desired.