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Meat and Pear Open Ravioli from 'Pasta Modern'

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[Photograph: Lucy Schaeffer]

"Open" ravioli are simply tubes or pieces of pasta tossed with ravioli filling used as sauce. The highly unusual blend of sauce ingredients in Francine Segan's version comes from a traditional pasta from Bergamo, in Lombardy. Between the assortment of fresh and cured meats, butter, and cheese, this sauce from Pasta Modern befits a city so close to the Italian Alps. Segan balances the meat with an abundance of fruit and spices—there are pears and raisins as well as cinnamon, nutmeg, sage, and parsley intertwined in the calamari-shaped pasta. Each bite is a little different, with meat and fruit flitting in and out of the holes in the pasta.

Why I picked this recipe: Besides the fact that I had never made "open" ravioli before, the mincemeat-like blend of meats and fruit seemed like a perfect fall meal.

What worked: The sweet and savory balance of this dish was surprisingly in tune—the best bites are those that include each type of meat with a big slice of pear.

What didn't: No problems here.

Suggested tweaks: You could certainly play with the combination of meats used here, but I'd suggest making the dish as written first.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Pasta Modern to give away this week.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, KQED's Bay Area Bites, and Berkeleyside NOSH. Follow her @KateHWiliams.

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