I can still remember one of the best meals I’ve ever ate. It was in Florence, on the final Thursday of our trip–a few friends and I ventured over to the other side of the Arno (which we didn’t really do much, as the side we were staying on was more populated/central) to a little restaurant called Trattoria Quattro Leoni. I ordered the pear tortellini (Somehow, even after 5 months, I still didn’t get sick of pasta. Go figure.) and I’m telling you right now, it was out. of. this. world. It was one of those dishes where you’re instantly like, “I wish everyone I’ve ever loved in my whole entire life could eat this right now.” That kind of good.
So that long-winded explanation boils down to this: for Valentine’s Day dinner, I’ve recreated that best dish ever in the hopes of letting you guys in on it. Is it going to be as good as the original? Nope. Probably not even close. Are these even tortellini? Also a no, but I made fresh pasta, OK? Shaping them into tortellini just seemed too complicated…
I know homemade pasta sounds intimidating, but I promise it’s not. You can even make it without that fancy Kitchen Aid attachment (I should know, because I don’t have one either). All you need is three ingredients, which I suspect are already hanging out in your kitchen.
For the fresh pasta, you’ll need:
- 2 cups flour
- 3 large eggs
- olive oil (I used truffle oil for a little extra somethin’ somethin’)
- sea salt
To start, sift your flour onto a clean, flat surface. Create a well in the middle with your fist or finger, like shown above. Crack the eggs into the well, adding in your oil and salt too. Mix together carefully using one hand–the dough will start to come together sticky at first, but keep kneading it until it’s smooth. If it feels too dry still after about 5-7 minutes, add a few drops of water–likewise, if it seems too wet still, add a pinch more flour.
Ball up the dough and coat with a bit more oil. Wrap in saran wrap and allow it to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. In the meantime….
…Chop up two pears! You can leave the skin on, but you’ll want to cut them rather small and cubed. First up is caramelizing the pears. If you’ve ever made apple pie filling, you’re going to be a pro at this. Just put the pears in a skillet with 1 tablespoon unsalted butter and 2 tablespoons brown sugar, cooking them on low until they’re slightly mushy and deep brown in color.
Add the pears to a bowl with the ricotta (I used one whole small container) and a handful or two of chopped fresh spinach (uncooked). You’re also going to want to add one teaspoon of granulated sugar to this mixture (like you would with lasagna, etc.). Mix together fully, then cool until you’re ready to use it.
After a half hour, your dough should be ready–roll it out on a lightly floured surface until it’s very thin–about 1/4 of an inch or less. You’ll need two of these “sheets” for your ravioli–one to serve as the base, and one to serve as the top. Plop teaspoon-sized scoops of the ricotta mixer onto the bottom sheet in a grid formation. Top with the other sheet of pasta dough, then cut between the ricotta dollops to form squares. Press around the edges of each with a fork to seal them. Allow to set for an additional 10 minutes, while you boil a pan of water that’s been heavily salted.
Cook the ravioli for about 3-4 minutes, or until the pasta is tender and cooked through, but not mushy. Plate with a bit of unsalted butter, parmesan cheese and fresh parsley. Enjoy over a romantic candle lit dinner, then check each other’s teeth for spinach afterwards.
True love…there’s nothing like it.