Tag Archives: leeks

How (not) to make agnolotti

5 Nov

It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt. — Mark Twain

I’ll be straight with you, okay. If I called this stuff agnolotti in the Piedmont, the region in Italy where the pasta shape is most common, I’d be sent packing like the Brutto Americano that I am. Strictly speaking, agnolotti are filled with roasted meats or vegetables. Add cheese to the mix and, well, you’ve got yourself some ravioli is what you’ve got.

I knew this going in. A perfectly acceptable agnolotti filling (three parts roasted parsnips to one part leeks, all nicely caramelized) was resting in the food processor, waiting for me to crack open yet another bottle of vino rosso when…

I just had to notice the one-pound tub of ricotta in the fridge, thereby reaching both for it and a little lemon zest.

Just, y’know, to screw things up.

Why anybody playing with a full deck would further listen to a knucklehead who would act in such a way is a mystery.

And yet here we are.

Might as well have a go at creating the shape of agnolotti.

Take about 3 cups of flour (I use double zero) and create a well in the middle. Mix together three large eggs, three or four egg yolks, one tablespoon extra virgin olive oil and a half teaspoon salt.

Using a fork, slowly incorporate the flour into the egg mix. Don’t rush it; just gradually, and in a circular motion, bring the flour into the egg a little at a time until a dough starts to form.

At this stage you’re ready to work the dough with your hands.

Pasta dough isn’t like pastry dough and so you don’t need to worry about being delicate with it. Just keep working it until the egg and flour are fully incorporated.

Whe a nice dough ball forms scrape away any remaining flour from your work surface. On the clean surface keep working the dough until it’s nice and smooth. If the dough feels too wet dust the surface with a little flour and incorporate it into the dough ball. The dough shouldn’t feel sticky when you touch it, but it shouldn’t be dry either. Again, don’t worry about being delicate. You could work pasta dough all night long and not mess it up.

When you’re through working the dough wrap it in plastic and let it rest. Most people allow the dough to sit at room temperature for a few hours before making their pasta, which is fine. However, I prefer to make my dough a day in advance and let it sit in the fridge overnight. Make sure to allow the dough to come up to room temperature before rolling out sheets of pasta for the agnolotti.

Roll a thin sheet of pasta dough around 4 inches wide and lay down a line of filling along one edge. A pastry bag is ideal but I just put the filling in a plastic bag and cut a small hole in one corner.

Fold the dough over the filling from the edge.

And fold again into a small tube.

Using your fingers press down along the tube in increments of around 1 1/2 inches.

Then use your cutting tool in the indentations you made with your fingers.

And there you have it: Agnolotti.

Or not.

Ravioli with zucchini & leeks

11 Sep

According to three very close associates of mine, these here are the best ravioli that I have ever made.

Don’t ask me. I’ve made thousands of the things, and I’m not about to pick a favorite.

Had I known this batch was gonna be such a big hit I’d have documented the recipe more precisely; at the very least, taken a few more pictures.

What are you gonna do? The recipe below is pretty close, I promise.

The ravioli filling is a combination of two fresh cheeses: ricotta and goat cheese. The fresh pasta dough you’re probably all set with, but if not, here’s a step-by-step look at how I usually make pasta dough.

The sauce is a mixture of sauteed zucchini and leeks. The ravioli are boiled and then added to the pan and mixed with the sauce.

A light dusting of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and you’ve got yourself a killer plate of ravioli.

Or so my associates say.

Two-cheese ravioli w/ zucchini & leeks
Recipe

For the ravioli filling
1 lb. fresh ricotta
1/2 lb. fresh goat cheese
3 Tbsp. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 large egg
1 tsp. lemon zest
slight pinch of nutmeg
good pinch of salt
Mix all the ingredients together. Chill before forming the ravioli.

For the sauce
1 large zucchini, sliced and with the seeds removed
1 leek, sliced
3 Tbsp. olive oil
3/4 stick butter

1 1/4 cup homemade chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste

In a good sized saute pan (large enough to hold the ravioli) heat the olive oil and then saute the zucchini and leeks until softened.
Add the butter and saute until vegetables are slightly golden, then add the chicken stock and cook for around 10 minutes longer. Salt and pepper to taste.
Add the cooked ravioli to the pan, turn the heat up to high, and gently incorporate before serving.