Let's be real people. When the cold weather rolls in, it's time to dig into some serious comfort food. For us, this generally means braised meat and carbs, preferably pasta. Chef Renato Donzelli of Basso Cafe in Norwalk makes beautiful housemade pasta for his guests, and now you can make it in your own house. Enjoy his recipe for Stuffed Ricotta and Spinach Agnolotti.
Stuffed Ricotta and Spinach Agnolotti (10 simple steps)
FRESH EGG PASTA DOUGH
- 3 ½ Cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 4 extra large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. of water (room temperature)
- 2 cups spinach, cleaned and trimmed
- 1 egg
- 1 cup ricotta cheese (drained for a few minutes in a fine strainer)
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and fresh black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
FOR THE SAUCE
- 6 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter
- ⅓ Cup. Cooked Chestnuts, roughly chopped
- 2 Tbsp. Cognac
- 2 Tbsp. Fresh Sage Leaves (I used the lower, small leaves and left them whole. If using larger leaves, you may want to chop them a bit)
- Coarsely Ground Black Pepper
- Freshly Shaved Parmesan.
Combine the spinach with the egg, ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, pepper, and nutmeg. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Use to fill the pasta immediately, or refrigerate for up to a day before using.
- Make a batch of fresh pasta by putting the flour in a bowl, create a deep well in the middle and add the eggs, oil and water. Begin gently folding the dough on itself, flattening, and folding again. It will be extremely soft at first, then gradually start to firm up.
- Run it through a pasta maker on the thicker settings. Fold the pasta sheet over on itself and run it through the pasta maker again. Repeat 8 - 10 times, until the pasta is very smooth and elastic.
- Wrap the pasta in plastic and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Roll out the pasta and run it through the pasta maker once again on the thinner settings.
- Cut the pasta into rectangular sheets (about 12 inches long). Lay them on a floured board, sprinkle flour lightly on each sheet after you cut it, and continue stacking sheets on top of each other.
- Pipe out the filling. Put the potato-mascarpone filling in a large pastry bag fitted with a wide tip (it should be at least 1/2-inch across). Pull one rectangular sheet of pasta off and pipe a straight line of filling lengthwise, leaving enough pasta at the top to fold over the filling.
- Fold the pasta Press firmly to seal. You can moisten the tip of your finger and run it along the seam if it doesn't want to stick together.
- Use a wheeled pasta cutter or a sharp knife to cut the filled tube of pasta away from the rest of the sheet. Use the tips of your fingers to pinch the tube of pasta into equally-sized sections, creating a seal between pockets of filling. You should be left with small, individual pockets of filled pasta.
- Place the finished Agnolotti in a tray of coarse cornmeal.
- To make the sauce, heat the butter and chestnuts in a wide saucepan over medium-high heat until the butter melts. Toss in the sage leaves and let the butter bubble until it takes on a golden color, 2-3 minutes. Add a pinch of salt and ground pepper to taste.
Buon appetito - Chef Renato Donzelli, Basso Cafe, 124 New Canaan Avenue, Norwalk CT 06850 / 203 354 6566
Basso Cafe have a HAPPY HOUR food and drink menu! Available for lunch and dinner, Tuesday - Friday (11am - 12pm and 4 - 6pm) to be enjoyed at the bar and high top tables.