If this dish looks like work that’s because it is. It’s the kind of work I like, though, so it’s kind of not work. But, depending on who you are, these Pear and Parsnip Agnolotti may look obnoxiously involved. And it is true, this is not a 30-minute weeknight dinner. This is a lazy, rainy Sunday dinner. A keep-my-hands-busy-so-I-don’t-think-about-the-news kind of dinner. A let’s-push-up-against-the edges-of-my-capabilities kind of dinner. And maybe you’re not in the market for that kind of dinner right now, but the moment you are, you’ll be glad these petite pasta parcels exist.
The more involved recipes on this site don’t always perform very well in terms of traffic. Just a little behind-the-scenes info for you. And I get it, most of us don’t have acres of time in which to usher ornate mousse cakes into the world or perfect our dumpling pleats by making hundreds. Most of the time people have to hit the kitchen running. So recipes like the Melting Sweet Potato Bowls I posted the other day, will understandably be of more use to more people. So why would I post a recipe that’s destined to not do well? That’s easy – this is the kind of recipe I love.
The reason I got into the food industry was because of recipes like these agnolotti. I love a good kitchen project. And I continue to post them because I more or less hope other people enjoy trying their hand at something a little more involved. It may or may not shock you to learn that I’ve never seen the inside of a culinary school. Every recipe, technique, and piece of food knowledge I have I’ve earned from wandering outside my culinary comfort zone. I make a habit of it. And if you want to expand your repertoire, I recommend you do the same. I can honestly say that crafting stuffed pasta isn’t that heavy a lift for me anymore. It’s still time-consuming but not difficult. That’s the gift that repetition gives us. So let’s start logging those precious pasta hours with these Pear and Parsnip Agnolotti.
This recipe predictably starts with the pasta. I’ve been making this pasta recipe for years now and I often think about switching it up. I never do, though because it doesn’t need to be fussed with. There’s nothing wrong with it. Sure, is it a bit tiresome to post the same pasta recipe over and over again? A little. But I also don’t want to just link to an existing post in the recipe below because I hate having two tabs open for a single recipe. And I’m willing to guess I’m not the only one with this pet peeve.
Now, this pasta recipe calls for semolina flour, which you can easily find here in Canada at the Bulk Barn. I would imagine it’s also available in most Italian grocery stores and bulk food stores. If you’re not used to buying this sort of thing, I’m sorry. But I do think the semolina is important – it gives the pasta that just right bite and keeps the dough from sticking to everything while you’re working it. It’s well-worth the wild goose chase in my opinion. But other than the potentially less-than-familiar flour, this pasta recipe is super straightforward and easy to work with.
Okay, so the pasta dough is made and likely resting. This is the time to make the filling. Now, this could not be easier. All you have to do is peeled a couple of parsnips, chop them into chunks, and boil them until tender. Then you drain them and add them to a food processor with a ripe pear (this is the time to use one you might have forgotten about) and two peeled cloves of garlic. Blitz everything until smooth and stir in a cup of mascarpone cheese. Could not be easier.
Now, here is where a little dexterity is required. You have to roll the pasta out into thin sheets – thin enough to see your hand through them. Then you’re going to pipe a stripe of filling down the length of the pasta sheet and enclose the filling like a tiny burrito. I’m sure many pasta masters would object to it being explained that way but that is effectively what you are doing. From there you trim the excess, create a series of divets using your finger, and then you cut your way through those divets to separate those suckers. If you want to see this process in action, check out my TikTok video.
From this point, it’s easy peasy. Just fry some mint (which is super fun to do, by the way), cook your pasta, toss it in butter, and cover it with hazelnuts, fried mint, and cheese. What could be better? So that’s everything you need to know about these Pear and Parsnip Agnolotti. Time to flex those pasta-making muscles.
Pear and Parsnip Agnolotti with Fried Mint
- Pasta maker
- Pizza, pastry, or pasta wheel
- Food Processor
- 165g (6oz) semolina flour
- 165g (6oz) all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp water
Pear and Parsnip Filling
- 2 parsnips peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 ripe bartlett pear diced
- 2 cloves garlic peeled
- ¾ tsp salt
- 1 cup mascarpone cheese
- 1 egg beaten
- ¼ cup fresh mint leaves
- ¼ cup neutral oil I used canola
- ¼ cup butter
- 2 tbsp hazelnuts coarsely chopped
- Grana Padano cheese shredded, for sprinkling
For the Pasta
- Whisk the semolina, all-purpose flour, and salt together in a bowl. Form a well in the center and add the eggs, yolks, and water. Whisk the eggs together and slowly begin integrating the dry ingredients into the wet.
- Once the dough begins to form, knead it until it become smooth and silky. The dough will feel quite dense – it's suppose to. Form the dough into a ball and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest for 1 hour.
For the Filling
- Once the dough is resting, make the filling. Place the parsnip in a small saucepan and cover with water. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling add a generous pinch of salt and continue to boil until the parsnip is fork-tender. Drain and set aside to cool slightly.
- Place the pear, garlic, parsnip, and salt in a large food processor and blitz until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the mascarpone cheese until well integrated. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Divide the pasta dough into eights. Run each piece of dough through a pasta machine until it's thin enough to see your hand through it.** Dust each sheet with semolina and keep covered with plastic wrap to prevent them from drying out.
- Transfer the filling to a large piping bag fitted with a large round piping tip.*** Pipe a straight line of filling along one of the long edges of the pasta sheet. Brush the sheet with a little beaten egg to ensure a proper seal. Orient yourself so the edge with the filling is closest to you and roll it away from yourself to enclose it in pasta. Don't continue to roll all the way to the opposite end of the sheet, just roll it enough to form a seal. Trim the excess pasta****
- Starting from the center of the pasta pipe and working your way towards each end, create a series of divets using your index finger every inch and a half or so. Using a pasta or pizza wheel, slice through each divet to create individual agnolotti. Transfer the finished agnolotti to a baking sheet heavily dusted with additional semolina flour. Repeat with the remaining pasta sheets.
- When your agnolotti is completed, fry the mint. Pour the neutral oil into a large skillet and place over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the mint a few leaves at a time. The oil should sputter on contact. Working quickly, fish the mint out of the oil once it is crispy and before it begins to brown. Transfer the mint to a plate lined with a paper towel and set aside. Wipe out the skillet and set aside.
- Put a large pot of water over high heat and bring to a boil. Generously salt the water and add the agnolotti. Cook the agnolotti for 3 minutes or until they float to the top.
- While the agnolotti are cooking, return the skillet to medium heat and add the butter. Cook until frothy. Once the agnolotti are done, transfer them to the skillet and toss them in the butter. Divide the pasta into bowls and garnish with hazelnuts, shredded Grana Padano cheese, and fried mint leaves. Serve immediately.