Pasta is not a seasonal food. Pasta is an all the time food. Sure, you might not drench it in ragu in the middle of July, but you’ll definitely pair it with bocconcini in a salad. And seafood pasta dishes were made for patios and beer and white wine. Pasta always has a place at the table, but fiddly pasta? Well, that’s a tougher sell. I know the thought of spending time in the kitchen is less than ideal when summer is underway, but I truly believe these Ricotta Agnolotti with Sautéed Fiddleheads are worth the extra time indoors and I intend to prove it to you. You can eat them al fresco and I promise that cold white wine you pair them with will taste all the sweeter.
I know we’re all past the kitchen project phase of the COVID experience. Yes, we all made banana bread and gave birth to sourdough starters a mere two months ago, but it’s summer now and who has time for that sort of thing? Well, I do. Nothing but time. The truth is I always do. Give me a repetitive task and I will give you my meditation face.
I love forming pierogies, pleating dumplings, and stamping out ravioli. These activities soothe me. But I know I’m probably in the minority here. Especially in the summer months when simple grilling recipes dominate. But as far as stuffed dumpling projects go, these Ricotta Agnolotti are the least fussy. They’re way easier to form than ravioli and you can make 10 or so in minutes. So, even if you’re past the #fromscratch quarantine experience, these Ricotta Agnolotti are worth the extra hour in the kitchen.
What makes agnolotti so efficient? Well, when you make pasta from scratch, you wind up with sheets. To make those sheets into agnolotti, you simply dot the center of the sheet with dollops of your filling, leaving 3/4 inch space between each dollop. Then you simply fold the sheet over itself. Yeah, you don’t have to fit a second sheet on top perfectly as you do with ravioli. You just fold that sheet over itself, like a lazy sandwich. From there you form an airtight seal around each dollop, working from the center of the row out, so the air always has somewhere to go. And then you’re just a few swipes of a pasta wheel away from making upwards of 10 agnolotti. So much easier than folding tortellini or gyoza.
The best part of this whole simple enterprise is agnolotti are just as fun to eat as any other stuffed pasta. And anything you’d put in tortellini or ravioli you can put in agnolotti. I also found the Ricotta Agnolotti stood up much better when being sauteed than their ravioli brethren. I think it’s a size thing. Agnolotti tend to be smaller and therefore they’re are a heck of a lot easier to maneuver across a hot pan. It’s science…I think.
Now, I think any good stuffed pasta deserves an accompanying green. I tend to gravitate towards greens with a bit of bitterness, so fiddleheads were an obvious choice for me. But having said that, these fiddleheads are very likely the last batch I will see this summer, so I figure I should provide you with a few alternatives.
If you can’t find fiddleheads to accompany your agnolotti, I think asparagus would be another great option. Just cut them into thirds and throw them in the skillet, no need to blanch, in fact, don’t – you’ll overcook them. If you’re in Canada like me, there are still a few weeks left in our asparagus season.
If asparagus is out of season where you are or you just straight-up hate it, go for rapini. Again cut the rapini into thirds but I recommend separating the leaves from the stalks. The stalks need more time to cook, whereas the leaves only need a bit of time to wilt. So, after you add the oil to the pan, toss blanched rapini stalks in before anything else. Once they’re well on their way to being tender add the agnolotti followed by the leaves. The leaves only need the barest kiss of heat.
If you hate fiddleheads, asparagus and rapini, maybe ask yourself why you’re such a hater. I’m just kidding. Other greens you could use are swiss char, green beans, broccolini, sugar snap peas – really anything that’s green and likes butter, which I’m sure doesn’t narrow anything down. So, my personal choice, if fiddleheads were not an option, is rapini. I think it would be so delicious with these Ricotta Agnolotti.
So that’s everything you need to know about this Ricotta Agnolotti with Sautéed Fiddleheads. This dish offers savory indulgence with a burst of refreshing seasonal flavors. It may not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think summer dining, but it should be
Ricotta Agnolotti with Sautéed Fiddleheads
- Pasta Roller
- 165g (6oz) all-purpose flour
- 165g (6oz) durum semolina
- ¾ tsp salt
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 whole eggs
- 1 tbsp water
Spinach Ricotta Filling
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 cups spinach
- 227g (8oz) full-fat ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- ½ cup Parmigiano Reggiano shredded
- ½ tsp salt
- Fresh ground pepper
Ricotta Agnolotti with Sautéed Fiddleheads
- 454g (1 lb) fiddleheads** washed
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic thinly sliced
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup white wine
- 1 batch Ricotta Agnolotti see above
- 2 tbsp butter
- ¼ cup Parmigiano Reggiano shredded, for sprinkling
- fresh pea shoot for serving
For the Pasta
- Whisk the flour, semolina, and salt together in a big bowl. Form a well in the center on the mixture with high sides. Place the eggs and egg yolks in the center and add the water.
- Using a fork, beat the eggs in the center gradually integrated the dry ingredients into the wet until a dough starts to form. Knead the dough until silky and relatively smooth to the touch. The dough will feel dense, that's normal – don't worry about it.
- Form the dough into a ball and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
- Once the dough has rested, divide it into 8 pieces. Using a manual or electric pasta roller, roll the dough out into 8 thin sheets. I used the KitchenAid pasta attachment and I rolled my sheets out to setting 5. If you're using a manual machine, roll your dough out to whatever setting will get it thin enough to see your hand through it.
- Dust the sheets with semolina and place them on a semolina-dusted baking sheet. Wrap with plastic wrap and set aside.
For the Filling
- Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant. Working in batches, add the spinach, waiting for each addition to wilt before adding more.
- Once the spinach is wilted but not soggy, take the skillet off of the heat and set aside to cool. When the spinach is cool enough to handle. Place it in the center of two layers of cheesecloth. Gather up the edges to form a bundle and squeeze to expel any excess moisture. Transfer the spinach to a large bowl and discard the liquid and the cheesecloth.
- Add the remaining filling ingredients to the bowl with the spinach and stir to combine. Transfer the filling to the fridge until ready to use.
To Assemble the Agnolotti
- Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip with the ricotta filling. Pipe a series of teaspoon-sized dollops through the center of a pasta sheet, leaving ¾ inch gap between them. Fold pasta sheet over itself and seal along the sheet's longest edge.
- Working from the center dollop out, force the air around each dollop out while forming a seal. Once all the dollops are sealed, use a pastry cutter, pasta wheel or pizza cutter and trim the excess pasta along the longest edge. Separate the agnolotti from one another and transfer the finished agnolotti to a baking sheet dusted with semolina flour. Repeat with the remaining pasta sheets.
For the Final Dish
- Place a large pot of water over high heat and bring to a boil. Add the fiddleheads and boil them for 3-4 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Rinse out the pot and refill it with water. Place it once again over high heat and bring the water to a boil.
- While you're waiting for the water to boil, heat the olive oil in a large deep skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and saute until translucent. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and saute until fragrant. Add the fiddleheads and saute until tender. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and turn the heat to low.
- Once the water is boiling, add the agnolotti and cook for 3 minutes or until the agnolotti are tender and rise to the surface. Using a slotted spoon, remove the agnolotti and place them in the skillet. Add the butter and as much pasta water as you need to form a sauce. Start with a ¼ cup and go from there. Cook until a light, glossy sauce coats the agnolotti.
- Divide the agnolotti across 4 bowls. Finish each serving with a sprinkling of parm and a handful of pea shoots. Serve immediately.