Thursday, October 25, 2012

Butternut Squash Agnolotti

If you have been reading this blog you may have the impression that we only work with exotic ingredients and challenging techniques.  Receiving rare ingredients and experimenting with new techniques is always fun, but most of our dishes are actually classically-based and rely upon easily accessible, seasonal ingredients.   The butternut squash agnolotti, currently on our lunch menu, is a great example of how a classic recipe is sometimes hard to improve upon.  

Agnolotti is an ancient pasta shape that originated in Piedmont, Northern Italy.  There are numerous variations - but we practice the “agnolotti al plin” which is slightly rectangular and gently pinched to form smooth pillows that work perfectly for trapping sauce.  I've included the recipe below along with a few preparation videos.

Pasta Dough
  • 1 lb. Flour
  • 12 Egg Yolks 
  • 2 Whole Eggs 
  • 1 tbs Olive Oil 
  • 1 tbs Milk 

  • 1 ea 2# Butternut Squash
  • 2 tbs Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  • 3 tbs Butter
  • 1 tbs Ras El Hanout (Moroccan Spice Blend)
  • 1 cup Mascarpone Cheese
  • 1 tsp Lemon Zest from Micro Plane

For Finishing
  • 8oz Butter - Cooked over low heat until very brown.
  • 2 tbs Lemon Zest
  • 1 tbs Salt
  • 2 tbs Chopped Sage

Preparation Instructions
To make the pasta dough, combine all of the ingredients into a mixing bowl.  Mix by hand until it forms into a smooth, elastic dough.  Roll the pasta into thin sheets using a pasta machine or rolling pin.

For the filling, take fresh butternut squash, cut it in half and season it with freshly ground ras el hanout, sea salt, black pepper and butter.  The halves are then roasted in the oven until soft.  Scoop them from their shells, place them into a mixer and combine with mascarpone cheese and lemon zest.  Mix until they are smooth.  Adjust final seasoning to taste.

Lay a sheet of pasta lengthwise in front of you on a well-floured surface. Put the filling into a piping bag and pipe a line along the front edge of the sheet.  Brush the sheet with egg and egg wash.  Fold the sheet over the filling and use your fingers to make indentations every inch to form small pouches.  Fold the pasta over again and use a cutting wheel to remove any extra dough and then cut between pouches. 

To finish the pasta cook in boiling salted water for 2 minutes and then sauté quickly in brown butter with pecans, sea salt , chopped sage and lemon zest. 

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