Author Notes: These classic filled pasta were once a way to recycle leftover roast meat (veal, beef or pork), so if you already have some handy, by all means use it. If you have roasting juices from a leftover roast, make use of that too—it would make the most delicious sauce for these agnolotti (tossed with a little extra melted butter). Alternately, you could pair with a meat ragu to match the meat filling.
This particular recipe is inspired by one in a cookbook of Piedmont's Le Langhe region called Nonna Genia, written by Beppe Lodi. At the end of the recipe, Beppe Lodi recounts that his father introduced him to the habit of dousing the freshly boiled agnolotti with a splash of Dolcetto, one of the local red wines of the region. —Emiko
grams unsalted butter
sprigs rosemary, leaves picked
clove garlic, finely chopped
grams pork loin, diced
small head of savoy cabbage, leaves separated
grams finely grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
teaspoon grated nutmeg
fresh sage leaves
Salt & pepper, to taste
- Melt half the butter in a skillet over medium heat, add the rosemary and garlic and then the pork, tossing regularly until pork is golden brown on all sides and cooked through. If the pan begins to dry or the pork seems to stick, add a splash of water (or even better, white wine). Set aside.
- In a pot of boiling water, cook the cabbage leaves for a couple of minutes until tender and wilted. Drain and let cool slightly.
- In a food processor, blend the roast meat along with the rosemary and garlic and add the cabbage, the whites of 4 of the eggs, the parmesan, a good pinch of salt, some pepper and grated nutmeg. It should be the consistency of a paste.
- To make the pasta, place the flour in a wide bowl and make a well in the centre of the flour. Add the 4 egg yolks, plus the whole egg, beaten. Mixing by hand, incorporate the yolks into the flour until you have a smooth, elastic ball – if you find it is looking a little dry while mixing, add some water, a tablespoon at a time. If it is too sticky, incorporate a dusting of flour until you have a nice ball of dough that is neither dry nor sticky. Let it rest for at least half an hour, wrapped in plastic wrap, before trying to roll it out.
- Cut the dough into two pieces, keeping one part covered so it doesn't dry out. Roll the pasta out to the thinnest setting on the pasta machine. You should now have one long piece of pasta about 5 ½ inches wide. Cut the pasta sheet in half so you now have two long sheets of pasta. Keep one half of the pasta sheet under a very lightly damp tea towel to keep it from drying out. Place a row of the filling – each blob measuring one level teaspoon – on one sheet, about half an inch from the edge of the pasta. Continue with another three rows of filling, keeping the blobs of filling about ¾ an inch apart from each other. Brush the spaces between the filling lightly with some water, then cover with the reserved half of the past sheet and working from one end to the other, gently press down to seal the pasta around all the edges. With a frilled pastry cutter, cut the agnolotti into small squares or rectangles about 1 1/3 – 1 ½ inches wide. Continue with the rest of the pasta.
- Prepare a large pot of salted water and bring to a simmer. Carefully drop the agnolotti into the water and cook for about 2-3 minutes or until they begin to float to the surface.
- In the meantime, prepare the sauce by melting the rest of the butter in a wide pan over medium heat with the sage leaves. When butter is just melted and before it begins to brown, add about 2-3 spoonfuls of the pasta cooking water and swirl the pan to create a thick sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
- Drain the agnolotti and place directly in the pan with the butter sauce, tossing gently to coat. Serve them with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.