At The MED, in Naples’ Bayshore Arts District, the partnership between chef Tommy Francavilla and hospitality doyenne Mary Brandt (of Veranda E and Hotel Escalante) yields dish after irresistible dish. Case in point: the fiocchi allo zola, which arrives in front of you with a ceremonious clatter of tableware. The pear-and-cheese-stuffed pasta undulates in silken ripples, swimming in a lush gorgonzola béchamel.
The family recipe marries influences from Tommy’s native Italy and his culinary training in France. He makes the béchamel in the traditional method, with butter, flour and milk, then folds in fresh pasta, finishing the dish tableside with a final grating of fresh nutmeg. The sauce is so deeply rich and savory, with a luscious texture that almost melts on your tongue. The pear is just sweet enough, balanced by the cheese and butter. Add a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper to cut the richness, “And you’re set,” Tommy says.