Tag Archives: parsnip

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.

The candy man?

24 Apr

It’s pasta, not taffy.
This particular shape is known as caramelle precisely because of its resemblance to wrapped candy. Usually I fill caramelle with cheese, which is the traditional way.
But I’d just dug up these parsnips in the garden (they get sweeter if allowed to stay in the ground through winter), and decided to play around.
First step was to roast them. Then, after they cooled, into the Cuisinart.
I’d picked up some baked ricotta at Micucci, for no particular reason, and decided that might work.
Crumbled maybe a quarter pound of the ricotta over the parsnips.
Not much to look at, I know, but molto tasty. All I added was a little nutmeg, so it’s just the parsnips (roasted with xv olive oil, salt and pepper), the cheese and the nutmeg, that’s it.
The dough gets rolled on the thin side because this is a delicate type of stuffed pasta.
And the filling and forming goes like so. All it takes is a roll and a light wrap on either end.
The pasta landscape.
Since the parsnip was so flavorful I decided to take the ultra simple approach and just cook them in homemade chicken stock. Caramelle en brodo, if you will.
I know this doesn’t look at all exciting, but it’s a major tasty dish, perfect as a small plate before the entree, or as lunch with a salad. Unless I get a better offer, I’ll be having it for lunch today.
Have a good weekend.