Linda explores food facts, folklore, and fabulous recipes, one ingredient at a time.
Enjoy Olive Garden Without Leaving the House
Several weeks ago, my daughter saw an advertisement from Olive Garden for their "signature dinner" of the month. And, I have to admit, it sounded amazing: artisanal pear-and-gorgonzola ravioli.
She decided that was what she wanted for dinner (my daughter obviously has excellent taste), but she didn't want to go out to eat; she wanted to have this dish here in our home. So I donned my thinking cap and created this pear-gorgonzola ravioli recipe.
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
1 hour 20 min
1 hour 35 min
4 to 6 servings
Equipment You Will Need
- 2-inch round biscuit cutter or ravioli stamp
- pasta machine (not a necessity, but will certainly make your life easier)
- food processor
- pastry brush
- heavy-bottom saucepan (for the balsamic reduction)
For the Pasta
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (plus additional for rolling, shaping)
- 3 large eggs
- 6 tablespoons water
For the Filling
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
- 1/2 crisp Bosc pear, peeled and finely diced
For the Balsamic Reduction (optional)
- 1 pint (2 cups) balsamic vinegar (use a moderately priced one, not the expensive stuff)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
For the Garnish
- 1 small bunch fresh sage leaves
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- flaked sea salt or coarse salt
Instructions for the Pasta
- Place flour and eggs in bowl of food processor. Pulse until combined. Mixture should resemble coarse crumbs.
- While food processor is running, slowly pour in water through feed tube and process until balls forms. (NOTE: you might not need all of the water. The amounts will depend upon the humidity).
- Turn dough out onto a floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic. Cover and allow to sit for about 20 minutes. Resting the dough is important because it allows the gluten in the flour to relax so that it will be easier to roll out.
- Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces. Work with one piece at a time and cover the remaining pieces. If you are using a rolling pin, I hope you took your multi-vitamin this morning. It's a workout, but well worth the effort. If you have a pasta machine (and honestly, I believe they are well worth the investment) follow the manufacturer's instructions and roll the dough to one step less than the thinnest setting. If you are using a rolling pin, roll the dough to about 1/16 inch thickness. Your goal is to achieve a strip of pasta dough about 6 inches in width and as long as possible. Lay saran wrap over your rolled pasta so that it doesn't dry out.
Instructions for the Filling
- Combine cheeses until smooth and well-blended (I used my food processor). Stir in pear until evenly distributed. Set aside.
Assemble the Ravioli
- Lay one strip of pasta on work surface, one long side facing you. Place about 1 teaspoon of filling 1/2 inch in from the long edge, spaced about 2 inches apart.
- Using a pastry brush, gently paint a bit of water on the upper edge of the pasta (the part that does NOT have filling on it)—just enough to moisten the dough. Bring the far edge of the pasta toward you until the long edges are aligned. You should now have a long "rope" of pasta dough in which are enclosed evenly spaced teaspoons of filling.
- Gently press the spaces between the filling so that the two layers of pasta dough will stick together.
- Using your 2-inch biscuit cutter, cut out the ravioli, making sure to center the cutter over the filling. Place the cut ravioli on a slightly floured surface and set aside. Continue rolling, filling, and cutting until all of the pasta dough is used up. Note: Keep the ravioli in a single layer; don't stack them up or allow them to touch.
- When ready to cook, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the ravioli (you can cook about 20 ravioli at one time) and turn your heat down so that they gently simmer (you don't want them to boil wildly—they are very delicate). They should be done in about 4 or 5 minutes.
- Remove with a skimmer, and place in a bowl to keep warm until all ravioli are done.
Instructions for the Balsamic Reduction
- Pour the balsamic vinegar into a heavy-bottomed saucepan and place over medium heat.
- Stir in the honey, drop in the rosemary, and bring to a low boil. Adjust the heat to maintain a steady simmer and allow the vinegar to reduce slowly.
- After a half-hour or so, when it has lost more than half of its original volume, the vinegar will start to appear syrupy. At this point, it could scorch, so watch it closely and stir frequently.
- Reduce to about 1/4 of its original volume. Bubbles will rise from the bottom of the pan and it will take on the consistency of honey, leaving a thick coating on a spoon.
- Pour it through a small strainer into a heatproof bowl or measuring cup. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator in a sealed container.
Instructions for the Fried Sage Leaf Garnish
- Remove sage leaves from stems.
- Heat olive oil in small saute pan over medium-high heat.
- Drop 2 or 3 sage leaves at a time into the hot oil. Fry for about 3 seconds, until crisp.
- Remove to paper towels to cool. Repeat with remaining leaves.
How to Present Your Delicious Meal
Serve with your favorite Alfredo sauce or simply tossed with melted butter or olive oil.
We topped our pasta with the balsamic reduction, freshly grated Parmesan, the fried sage leaves, and finely chopped walnuts.
Questions & Answers
Question: At which Olive Garden did you see the pear and gorgonzola ravioli as a special?
Answer: This isn't a recent article. It was written many years ago. Unfortunately Olive Garden ran that special only once as far as I know. I'm sorry if I mislead you. I do hope that this recipe pleases you.
© 2011 Linda Lum
Cloverleaf from Calgary, AB, Canada on August 21, 2011:
I love eating at the Olive Garden, and this looks like a good replica of their Pear and Gorgonzola Ravioli. I find fresh pasta very easy to make at home so I think this would be a winner :-)