Pasta With Caramelized Pears and Gorgonzola 4.000

Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Marie Ostrosky for The Washington Post

Weeknight Vegetarian Oct 27, 2019

Pears pair beautifully with the bite of creamy Gorgonzola; the two are commonly found together in many Italian dishes, as the cheese balances the sweetness with just the right amount of saltiness.


Servings:
4 - 6

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Tested size: 4-6 servings

Ingredients
  • Kosher salt
  • 12 ounces rigatoni
  • 1/3 cup (1 ounce) walnut pieces
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 Bosc pears, peeled, cored and each cut lengthwise into eight wedges
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 4 ounces (1 cup) crumbled Gorgonzola cheese, plus more for finishing (may substitute goat cheese)
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

Directions

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Generously salt the water and add the pasta. Cook until just shy of al dente, tender yet firm to the bite, according to the package directions. Reserve 1⁄2 cup of the pasta water before draining. Drain well.

While the pasta is cooking, set a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the walnuts and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Immediately transfer them to a bowl or plate, so they don’t burn, and wipe out the skillet.

Set the skillet back over medium heat and add the butter. Once it melts, add the pears. Cook, turning the pears occasionally, until they are lightly browned and tender but not mushy, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer the pears to a separate plate, leaving behind as much liquid in the skillet as possible.

Add the broth to the skillet and scrape the bottom of the pan to deglaze any flavorful brown bits that may have accumulated. Add the Gorgonzola and bring to a simmer, whisking until the cheese melts and the sauce reduces slightly, about 5 minutes.

Add the pasta and 1⁄4 cup of the reserved pasta water to the skillet. Reduce the heat to low and toss to coat the pasta in the sauce. Add the remaining pasta water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if needed, to loosen the pasta. The texture should be creamy and fluid, not pasty.

Divide among warmed plates, add the pears, walnuts and cranberries, and sprinkle with a little more Gorgonzola. Season generously with the pepper and serve.

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Recipe Source

Based on a recipe in “Simple, Elegant Pasta Dinners” by Nikki Marie (Page Street Publishing, 2019).

Tested by Joe Yonan.

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