Agnolotti dal plin (agnolotti with a pinch) are wonderful filled pasta. The “pinch” forms these pockets at both ends of the pasta that catch the sauce very nicely. As most filled pastas, agnolotti are very versatile because you can use almost anything as filling – cheese, ground meat, vegetables, chopped seafood. It is also a great way to turn leftovers in something new, delicate and delicious. In this case I used my Thanksgiving leftovers for the filling.
serves: 10 difficulty: complex prep time: 2 hrs
- 3 cups of flour
- 13 egg yolks
- 1 whole egg
- 1 1/2 tbs olive oil
- 1 1/2 tbs milk
Filling – Thanksgiving leftovers
- 2 cups Thanksgiving leftovers – chopped cooked turkey, stuffing, moistened with gravy
- [optional] 1/3 cup of wilted spinach (if you would like to freshen up the leftovers a bit)
Alternative filling – ground meat
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1⁄4 cup finely diced onion
- 2 oz pancetta
- 1⁄4 lbs ground pork
- 1⁄4 lbs ground chicken
- or 1⁄2 lbs leftover roast chicken, pork chops, braised meats or a combination, roughly chopped
- 1 egg
- 1 bunch spinach, wilted, drained, and chopped
- 1⁄4 cup grated Parmesan cheese nutmeg, salt, pepper
First make the pasta dough because it needs to rest for an hour.
Separate the 13 egg yolks, add the 1 whole eggs, olive oil, milk and a pinch of salt, and beat the mixture with a fork.
Pour the flour in a heap on your work surface (a large cutting board), and with a measuring cup make a circular well in the middle of the flour heap. The well should be large enough to hold the beaten eggs mixture. Pour the eggs mixture in the well and with a fork start mixing a bit of flour into the eggs while being careful not to breach “the walls” of the well and let the egg mixture spill out. As you mix more flour in the well in the middle, the egg mixture will thicken and you need to be less careful. Once the egg-flour mixture in the middle is hard enough to manipulate with your hands, start forming it in a dough, and mix in more of the flour. You can see all of the above demonstrated in the following video.
Once you are done adding the flour to the dough, it should look something like this:
And now comes the somewhat tedious and physically demanding but crucial process of kneading the dough for 8-10 min. Place the palm of your hand on the dough, place your other hand on top of the first hand, and apply as much pressure as you can to flatten it. Then fold it in half, turn it 90 degrees, place the palm of your hand on it, apply as much pressure as you can … Keep repeating for 8-10 min. You can see the whole process in this video:
At the end the dough has to look smooth, and it should not be “snapping back” – i.e once you flatten it it should not be snapping back in tighter shape.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let rest for at least an hour at room temperature. While the dough is resting, prepare the filling. In this case I was using some Thanksgiving leftovers. I chopped the turkey meat, and mixed with the leftover stuffing and gravy.
If you are making the alternative filling suggested above, melt the butter in a fry pan and sauté the onions until translucent. Add the minced meat and brown it. While you are browning the meat, break it down in small pieces with a fork. Render the pancetta in a separate fry pan. Then mix everything together: the onion-meat mixture, the pancetta, the wilted spinach, and grated Parmigiano. Add the lightly beaten egg – it will help the filling hold together. Season with a touch of nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Once the dough is rested, divide it in 4 equal parts. Take one of these quarters, and flatten it with your hands. Start running it through the pasta machine – starting with the widest gauge (which on my machine is 1). Once you have run it through the widest gauge a couple of times, you can fold the sheet of dough so that its width matches the width of the pasta machine. Continue rolling the sheet through the pasta machine and gradually tighten the gauge to about 5 or 6. Each time you run the sheet through the pasta machine dust it lightly with flour so that it does not stick.
The resulting pasta sheet should look like this:
Then cut the sheet into rectangles with width = the width of the sheet = width of the pasta machine and length of 4 inches. Each such rectangle will be big enough for 3 small or 2 big agnolotti.
Take a rectangle and place 2 tbs of filling on it. Brush some water all around the edges of the rectangle and between the filling.
Fold the rectangle on its long side, and with your fingers press on the edges and in the middle between the filling to close it, and remove any pockets of air. With a serrated roller cut off a small strip of the long edge. That helps close it.
Then lift the sheet from the long side and fold it into two, pressing both edges and in the middle with your finger to form the “pinch”. Then with the serrated roller cut off small strips off both ends, and slide in the middle. Voila – you have got two agnolotti.
To cook the agnolotti, bring a large pot of water to an aggressive boil. Add 2 tbs salt. Add the agnolotti and cook until they float to the surface – about 3 min.
To prepare the butter emulsion, melt the butter in a large pan over low heat, being careful not to brown the butter. Scoop up 1/3 cup pasta water from the pot where you cooked the agnolotti, and add to the pan. Stir well. Optionally, you can add some sage leaves.
Remove the agnolotti from the water, and add to the pan with the butter emulsion. Stir carefully to coat them well.
The pictures below have a liberal amount of black truffles shaved on top.
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