Switch things up this holiday season with a hearty pear and pork ravioli filled with rustic autumn flavors!
Thanks to Nugget Markets for sponsoring this post!
Sometimes I feel bad for pears.
They are the underdog of fall ingredients. As soon as temperatures begin to dip, apples are all the rage. The leaves start turning and we simply cannot hide our affection for winter squash.
Meanwhile, there sit the pears. Beautiful in their green, reddish-brown, and tan fall colors, but second place to the front row attention-seekers.
I’m not sure why I turn to apples and pumpkins over pears, but more often than not, I do. Guilty.
So when Nugget Markets gave me the opportunity to do a fall-inspired post, an alternative to the traditional holiday meal, I set my sights on pears. At the very least, I owe the fruit some time in the spotlight.
There is a chance you might not be familiar with Nugget Markets if you aren’t living in California. In fact, I was unfamiliar with them until their team reached out earlier this year. I received a lovely box of goodies from their store right before the kitchen remodel and that led to some discussion about developing a recipe for them here on Fake Food Free.
At my first introduction, I knew it was a store I’d enjoy shopping at. They carry California products that I use. What I didn’t know is how my fondness would grow after a tour of their West Sacramento store last month.
Nugget Markets have been around for over 90 years with most of their locations in Sacramento and a few in the Marin area. If you’ve been following me on social media you know that I’ve been popping up to Sac a bit lately for events which has given me the opportunity to shop there.
Five minutes into my tour, I’m pretty sure I asked Nicole, the Director of Marketing, if they would open one in the South Central Valley. I might have even begged. On my knees. It’s all a bit fuzzy, I was so overwhelmed with food love.
My deeper look at the store taught me that the grocer has maintained long-lasting relationships with area farmers, sourcing much of their produce from California. California products are mixed with high-quality imported products from the U.S. and abroad so that you really can get everything you need in one store, especially if you are a worldly cook like I am.
The friendliness of the staff and their enjoyment working there was pleasantly overwhelming. Artisan cheeses, craft beers, hot bar, deli, coffee shop (that makes pumpkin lattes with real pumpkin!) – I could go on.
And I know it’s not always polite to talk about money, but I must bring it up. One of the best qualities about this store is that it’s affordable. You notice right away that your whole paycheck is going to go much further for the foods you really want to buy. Sourcing, pricing research, and making more foods available for more people are priorities.
Fortunately, given what I owe to pears, they also carry several varieties of the fruit. So as I shopped for ingredients there a couple weeks ago, I decided to put a twist on a fall meal that could be carried through to the holiday season.
This is not your standard ravioli. First of all, it’s hardy and filling for the cooler months. While you could opt to buy some pre-made dumpling or wonton wrappers to make a quick version, I make the pasta dough from scratch.
To say it’s a pasta dough might be a bit of a stretch, but in a good way. I use the food processor to make it come together more quickly. What results is something a bit like a dumpling dough. By adding seasonal herbs, each bite tastes like a familiar seasonal favorite, stuffing.
The filling is a blend of rich ground pork and caramelized roasted garlic that is sweetened by sauteed pears. It adds just the right balance to the savory exterior.
There’s no sauce here. Only a light drizzle of garlic and sage infused olive oil, a sprinkle of shaved Pecorino Romano cheese, and some chopped fresh sage.
Three of these hearty ravioli paired with a fall salad make a filling comfort food meal. What’s just as inviting about them, though, is that they can be served individually as a party appetizer, too.
Either way, you might choose to have your turkey or ham step aside this year and let this dish have its moment, along with the fall pears, of course.
The recipe has several components, but none of them are too difficult or time-consuming. It’s broken down in a way that will let you accomplish one at a time until the final meal comes together.
Roasted Garlic, Pear and Pork Ravioli
Makes: 4 servings
Roasted Garlic and Finishing Oil
1 head + 2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 sage leaves
2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh sage leaves
1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves
1/2 pound ground pork
1 small Bartlett pear, cored and diced (about 3/4 cup)
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water
Olive oil for sautéing
Pecorino Romano cheese slivers for garnish
Chopped fresh sage leaves for garnish
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. To make the roasted garlic, cut the top 1/3 off the head of garlic to expose the cloves. Place the garlic head in the center of a piece of aluminum foil large enough to wrap it completely. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Wrap and place in the oven, directly on the oven rack for 30 to 45 minutes, until tender. Remove from the oven and let sit until cool enough to handle.
While the garlic roasts, warm what remains of the ¼ cup of olive oil over medium heat in a saucepan. Gently warm it for 2 to 3 minutes and then remove from heat (do not allow it to simmer or boil). Peel the two garlic cloves and add them to the oil. Tear the two sage leaves and add them to the oil as well. Let sit.
To make the ravioli, place the flour and eggs in a food processor. Process on low for about 1 minute, until the dough begins to come together. Add the olive oil, rosemary, sage, and thyme. Pulse in 20 to 30 second intervals until the dough comes together in a ball in the center of the bowl. Turn out onto a flour surface and knead into a ball. Set aside covered with a damp dish towel and let rest.
While the pasta rests, make the filling. Brown the pork in a large skillet, breaking it into small pieces, about 5 minutes, until no longer pink. Add the pear and continue to cook for 3 more minutes until the pears begin to brown and soften. Remove from the heat.
Add the pork and pear to a food processor. Squeeze the roasted cloves from the skin of the garlic head into the food processor. Add the cheese, salt, and pepper. Pulse in 15 to 20 second intervals, until the filling is blended.
Roll the ravioli dough onto a floured surface to make about a 12-by-18-inch rectangle. Cut it into 24, 3-inch squares.
Place a generous teaspoon of filling into the center of 12 of the squares. Whisk together the 1 remaining large egg and water in a small dish. Brush the sides of the square with egg wash. Place another square over the filling and pinch the ends together. Use a fork, if desired.
Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large soup pot. Use a slotted spoon to place the ravioli, a few at a time, in the water. Cook for 3 minutes, until they float to the top. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a plate covered in a paper towel.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Cook the ravioli a few at a time for about 1 minute on each side, until they blister and brown very slightly.
Place 3 ravioli on each plate. Discard the garlic and sage leaves from the infused oil. Drizzle some of the oil over the ravioli. Sprinkle with cheese and chopped fresh sage before serving. Repeat for each plate.