The Legend of Agnolotti dal Plin
The agnolotti dal plin is dish that is very traditional dish from Piedmonte. It’s origins are said to have come during a celebration after a castle in Piedmonte successfully defended an invasion. A cook named Angeloto had only limited ingredients available, due to the fact that they had been raided. So he took the meats he had available, roasted them, chopped them as fine as he could then filled the pasta, he also made a sauce with the roasted bones.
Just as with most things in Italian cuisine what a “true” agnolotti is depends on who you ask, here at Perbacco we roast whole rabbits, pork shoulder, and veal breast. Next, we cook savoy cabbage, carrots, onions, and celery with butter until tender. After the meat is removed from the bone it is ground finely with the vegetables. The filling is finished with roasted meat jus, parmigiano reggiano, and nutmeg. For service, we simply cook the pasta in water until just cooked then finish it in sugo d’arrosto and a touch of butter.
RECIPE: Perbacco’s Agnolotti dal Plin
3 cups Italian “00” flour or all-purpose flour
5 whole large eggs, plus 5 egg yolks
2 tablespoon butter
1 garlic clove, sliced
2 pounds roasted veal shoulder or breast, chopped in food processor
2 cups Savoy cabbage, finely chopped and blanched
½ cup reduced veal or beef broth
1 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
Salt and black pepper
1 cup reduced veal broth
Sift together and then mound 3 cups of the flour in the center of a large wooden cutting board. Make a well in the middle of the flour and add the eggs. Using a fork, beat together the eggs and begin to incorporate the flour, starting with the inner rim of the well. Start kneading the dough with both hands, using the palms of your hands. The dough should be elastic. Cover the dough in plastic and let rest for 30 minutes.
In a 12-inch saucepan, add 1 tablespoon butter over high heat until hot. Add the garlic and veal; cook for about 10 minutes. Add cabbage and cook for another 15 minutes. Let the veal and cabbage cool until room temperature then place in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the Parmigiano, veal broth, a pinch of nutmeg, and salt & pepper to taste. Mix until well combined. Set aside.
Roll out pasta into thin sheets, about 3 inches wide. Using pastry bag, pipe out equal amounts of the filling (about 1 teaspoon) and place along the bottom half of the pasta sheet, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border of dough at the bottom and sides. Each dollop of filling should be approximately 1 1/2-inches away from the next. Pull the top edge of the pasta up and over the filling. The dough should form 1 large pocket over the dollops of filling. Seal the agnolotti by gently & carefully molding the pasta over the filling and pressing lightly with your index finger to seal the edge of the dough to the pasta sheet.
To shape agnolotti: Starting at one end of the dough, place the thumb and forefinger of each hand together as if you were going to pinch something. Leave about 1-inch of space between your hands and holding your fingers vertically, pinch the filling in 1-inch increments, making about 3/4-inch of “pinched” are between each pocket of filling. It is important to leave this much “pinched” area between the agnolotti. Separate the individual agnolotti by cutting the center of each pinched area, rolling the pastry wheel away from you. Place the agnolotti on a baking sheet dusted with flour.
Bring 8 quarts water to a rolling boil, and add 2 tablespoons salt.
Add the agnolotti to the water and cook until tender, about 4 minutes total. Drain well and toss with butter and some meat broth. Sprinkle with Parmigiano Reggiano.