Ever since an ethereal-sounding "daffodil" pasta stuffed with pear and four cheeses was featured in The New York Times last week we have been captive to a one-track mind: "Must create creamy cheese pouches in velvety sauce without making trip across town to specialty shop."
You can't always get what you want, as the song goes, but you sure can get close. With this writer's blurb as a guide, it was off to the local grocer in hopes of creating a dish that would ease our itch for rich, blooming pasta. The basics were easy -- cheese tortellini, cream and a sprightly marriage of pears, fresh mint and tangy lemon zest. Next up: cheeses to add depth while coating the tortellini with a creamy sheen. After considering mild Robiola and punchy Cashel Blue, we settled on nutty hard Gruyère and stinky, meltingly soft aged Taleggio.
The results and the recipe after the jump.
Morsels of pasta swam in a harmonious sauce that was equally creamy, sweet and minty with a touch of refreshing tanginess. Were there purses of flower-like pasta? No. But the dish calmed the craving for springy mint and cream and satisfied our DIY impulses. Give it a try and tell us what you think.
Creamy Pear, Mint and Lemon Tortellini
1 pound cheese-filled tortellini
2 unripe pears, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 pound grated Gruyere cheese, plus two tablespoons to garnish
1/4 pound Taleggio cheese
Salt and pepper
10 large mint leaves, chiffonaded (cut into thin strips)
1 lemon's worth of grated zest
Set a large pot of salted water to boil and follow directions on the tortellini package to cook. Meanwhile, In a large skillet, heat olive oil and sauté pears until they begin to soften about two to three minutes. Add cream and cheeses to pears and cook, stirring often until sauce begins to thicken. Add salt and pepper to taste. Drain pasta, toss with olive oil to keep from sticking and add to pan. Toss to coat. Turn off heat and add mint and zest, tossing to distribute evenly.
Distribute evenly on plates and garnish with remaining cheese.
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