Tuesday, October 21, 2014

B is for: Blue Cheese Stuffed Bosc Pears with Balsamic Glaze {+Arethusa al Tavolo Restaurant Review}

Inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes.

I often draw mine for this blog based on a number of things. The alphabet (e is for eat!), the current season, fresh produce, experiences, adventures, and restaurants have all sparked my creativity when coming up with a new blog post.

These pears fit into all of the above.

My mom was here visiting last week, and at the top of her agenda was to experience the fall foliage that New England has to offer this time of year.

Originally, I had planned to take an overnight trip to Vermont since I have never been. Unfortunately, I injured my back right before her visit and suddenly a 3+ hour drive didn't sound like the best of ideas.



Based on a recommendation from my co-worker Danny Kanell, we instead made the much shorter trip to Litchfield, CT... home of Arethusa al Tavolo. The drive was gorgeous. As was the food. It's true farm to table dining, with many of the ingredients sourced from the restaurant's farm & dairy.

Our meal got off to a great start with an amuse bouche of blue cheese mousse "ice cream cones" topped with a small slice of red grape (upper left). I could've (and would've) eaten about five of these. For our starters, we went with the lobster and avocado salad (bottom left) and stuffed squash blossoms (bottom middle). The star for me was the ginger crusted salmon (top right). That particular night, it was served atop a bed of fall vegetables including baby brussels sprouts and golden raisins, and topped with a green apple slaw. We also got the ravioli (bottom right), which was stuffed with foraged mushrooms and Camembert cheese from the restaurant's dairy.

Speaking of the dairy, we decided to get our dessert next door... but they still brought us two mini oatmeal cookies with two shots of whole milk (top middle). A perfect end to a perfect meal!


The dairy is right next to the restaurant and offers a variety of scrumptious homemade ice cream which they will allow you to sample before settling on your flavor (butter pecan FTW!) You can also buy milk, cream, eggs, and CHEEEEEESE. (My fave). They graciously allowed me to sample several of the cheese offerings, but I finally settled on their blue cheese (I think I had those delicious mini ice cream cones still in my head).


Now what to do with that beautiful blue cheese. I'm a firm believer that if you use high quality ingredients, sometimes simple is best. I still had two pears in my fridge from my trip to Lyman Orchards, along with a package of prosciutto. That's really all I needed.


But first thing's first. Make a balsamic reduction/glaze. Pour about a cup of balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan, along with 2 tablespoons of maple syrup and a tablespoon of soy sauce. Bring to a simmer and reduce liquid in about half (this will take about 15-20 minutes). Keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn. It's done when the glaze will coat the back of a spoon. Allow to cool completely and transfer to a squeeze bottle if you have one. This will keep in the fridge at least 2 weeks. Some other fab uses for this glaze: drizzled on top of ice cream, a caprese salad, or steak.


Slice pears in half and remove core/seeds. I turned to my trusty melon baller for this job. (One of my most used kitchen utensils).


Shave off a little piece of the rounded part of the pear so they will sit flat.


Stuff with lots of blue cheese. Seriously. There's no such thing as too much.


Fold a piece of prosciutto in half lengthwise and wrap around each pear half. Brush any exposed part of the pears with olive oil. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until pears have softened slightly.


Serve with balsamic reduction and sprinkle with more blue cheese if you have any left. This would be great as an appetizer or even as a dessert. It's a perfect mix of salty, sweet and savory.

Blue Cheese Stuffed Pears with Prosciutto

by Jaymee Sire
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Keywords: bake appetizer dessert blue cheese pears prosciutto balsamic vinegar fall

Ingredients (4 servings)
    For the balsamic glaze:
    • 1 cup Balsamic vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
    • 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari (optional)
    For the pears:
    • 2 firm ripe pears
    • 2 ounces blue cheese
    • 4 slices prosciutto
    • balsamic glaze
    Instructions
    For the balsamic glaze:
    1. Combine vinegar, maple syrup and soy sauce in a small sauce pan. Bring to a simmer and reduce in half, or until mixture coats the back of a spoon. Take care not to burn it.
    2. Allow to cool completely and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

    For the pears:
    1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
    2. Slice pears in half and remove seeds and core. Shave off a small piece of the rounded portion so that the pears sit flat. Fill with blue cheese and wrap with a piece of prosciutto folded in half lengthwise. Brush exposed pieces of cut pear with a little olive oil.
    3. Bake for about 25 minutes, until pears have softened slightly. Serve warm with balsamic glaze.
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