Haha, I can imagine the invite: “Wanna come over to my house and spend a few hours making pasta with me before eating it? Yeah? Yeah?”
I think the effort is worth it, though, as it usually is for fresh, handmade pasta. While this recipe is not low-fat (I shocked myself when I backtracked and calculated how much butter went into it), the trade-off is that it is very comforting and homey. AND you can tell your friends and family it’s vegetarian. And leave it ominously at that. (People love assuming that vegetarian food is healthy, am I right?)
The inclusion of sage makes it feel like autumn and reminded me that Thanksgiving is just around the corner. The small lemony presence in the sauce and in the zest cuts the richness and gives it a nice floral-like quality. And shiitakes. Man. Mushrooms are just awesome.
Is it worth the effort to go hunt down golden raisins? I’m not sure. I was being superficial and just picked them for the color. I loved how the yellows and greens and white and browns contrasting together.
Here be the longest recipe EVER:
- 5 large eggs
- 4 cups of all-purpose flour, maybe a little more if you need it
- 1 tsp salt
- 12 oz ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- 1½ cup of pistachios, shelled
- 1 cup of golden raisins
- ⅛ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
- 2½ tsp kosher salt (maybe more or less, depending on if and how much your pistachios are salted)
- 1 cup of butter (two sticks)
- 4 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
- 15-20 sage leaves, in a chiffonade
- 10-12 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 2 tbsp heavy cream
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp sugar
- 1½ tsp salt (to taste)
- ¼ cup pistachios
- Lemon zest to taste
- Asiago (or another hard cheese) to taste
- In a medium bowl or on the clean surface of a smooth counter top, add salt to flour and stir to incorporate. Make the flour into a "volcano" (make a mound and then make a hole in that mound).
- Add the eggs into the hole. With a fork, scramble the egg and start pulling in flour from the sides of the volcano hole. Keep doing so until it's the mixture becomes a dough. Knead by hand until the dough ball stops absorbing flour. If you've run out of flour and you see it's still a bit wet, go ahead and sprinkle in more flour, a few tablespoons at a time. This should take about ten minutes. The dough should be stiff and tough like clay.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for at least half an hour or in the refrigerator for up to a day.
- Pour boiling water over raisins until they are fully submerge. Let them plump up for about five minutes or so (while you worry about the pistachios).
- Roast all pistachios on a low broiler setting (watch carefully because they can burn really fast), stirring the pistachios after a minute to get all sides. This should take only 2-3 minutes after the broiler gets hot enough.
- Reserve ¼ cup of pistachios. Run 1½ cup in a food processor until it's like coarse black pepper. Reserve. Then, run the ¼ cup of pistachios in the process so they break up until smaller chunks, but not as fine as the other pistachios, but you want them to be pebble-like. Reserve separately.
- Add ricotta, pistachios, raisins, some salt, and nutmeg together in a bowl. Taste it to see if it's seasoned how you like it. You want to be slightly on the side of "overly salty" rather than bland, because the pasta is not significantly seasoned at all. After you are happy, add in the egg and mix it all together. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside while you make pasta sheets for the agnolotti.
- WIth a pasta roller (or a rolling pin, but you really want to have the pasta roller), start running the rested pasta dough through on the thickest setting. Fold it over on itself and repeat. And repeat. And repeat. How much you do this depends on the moisture in your dough. You want to get your dough to be elastic and lighter in color.
- Once it's a creamy off-white and the dough is elastic and gum-like, cut it up into 6 or 8 manageable pieces. Run the first piece through the pasta roller until it's thin like a wonton skin (on my pasta roller, which is a KitchenAid attachment, that's a 7 setting).
- Lay out the sheet of pasta (it'll be about 6 inches wide) on a wide, clean, and lightly floured surface. Brush the edges of the surface with either an egg wash or a bit of milk
- Spoon teaspoon-size bits of filling down the sheet of pasta, spaced two inches apart, one inch from the bottom edge (you want to have enough material to be able to fold the pasta over the filling.)
- Fold the pasta over lengthwise, covering the filling. With your fingers, push out potential air pockets between the two sides of the agnolotti.
- With a ravioli cutter (or a pizza cutter, or something similar) trim the edges of the agnolotti before cutting them into separate pieces. Place them on a floured surface on a cookie sheet or on the counter until you're ready to cook them.
- Repeat with the rest the pasta and the rest of the filling. This will be intense. You can shove the scraps into the new sheets and no one will know. If you ration things out well, you will have about 60 agnolotti.
- Melt the butter over medium heat. You don't want the butter to brown.
- Add in mushrooms and cook until they are evenly coated and have softened.
- Add garlic, salt, sugar, and cream. That little bit of cream will emulsify with the butter and give your sauce a heftier body.
- Turn off and take the pan off the heat. Finish the sauce with lemon juice and the sage, letting the residual heat of the sauce wilt the sage leaves a bit. Adjust the seasoning if you'd like.
- Set aside until ready to serve.
- When ready to serve, bring a stock pot of water to a vigorous boil. Salt the water so it tastes like seawater.
- Have a big bowl to toss the pasta in nearby.
- In batches of about 12-15 agnolotti, boil the agnolotti until they float (it will take about 2 minutes or less). Scoop the agnolotti out with a slotted spoon and add to the big bowl. It's okay if all the water isn't drained. It adds to the sauce.
- Repeat with the rest, working fast so the agnolotti doesn't start drying and start sticking to one another.
- Once all cooked, pour the prepared sauce over the batch of pasta and gentle toss, taking care not to break up the pasta. The heat from the pasta will warm up the sauce.
- Serve immediately, topping each plate with a sprinkling of the reserve pistachios, lemon zest, and a little (little!) grated cheese.
I often make pasta in a bowl because when I make it on the counter, I make a big ol’ mess.
The pasta is resting. Shh! Don’t disturb it.
I picked pistachios for this recipe for color first. Then for taste. That said, you can substitute just about any nut you please. Walnuts or hazelnuts would be pretty neat, I think.
My fillings were FAT teaspoons, so what happened is that I ended up with 3 feet more pasta than I had filling for. Have no fear though, I’ll have a recipe for the leftover scraps posted up soon.
Oh, and a note, agnolotti is made up of one sheet of pasta that is folded over a filling. Ravioli are two sheets pastas that sandwich a filling.
The pasta should be lightly sauced. It’s not supposed to be drenched like Olive Garden alfredo style. So don’t be alarmed if you think that there isn’t enough sauce. There is! You want to taste the pasta anyway, not the sauce.
This is a picture of my test plate after I ravaged it. It’s not the prettiest picture, but I think its yummy quotient is quite high.