Fruit adds something special to savory dishes: a generous dose of seasonality. We can get so many fruits year-round, but when they’re at their in-season peak, there’s nothing like, say, citrus to spark a winter salad, peaches to make a barbecue sauce sing of summer or pears to turn a bowl of pasta into something positively fall-ish.
The sweetness of pears is nuanced and subtle. But it’s plenty nonetheless. When I first tested this pasta recipe, which originally included a few tablespoons of maple syrup, I found it far too sweet. When I made the dish again without a drop of added sweetener, the Bosc pears stood up beautifully to the Gorgonzola, taking the salty edge off the cheese. An immodest amount of butter helped.
With the addition of walnuts and cranberries, this dish tastes like a well-balanced cheese plate — one that won’t let you forget what season it is.