Agnolotti del Plin with Braised Shallots & Grana Padano
This recipe serves 2, though there's plenty of leftover filling. To make 4 servings, make a 400 gram batch of pasta dough and reinforce the braising liquid with more vermouth and stock.
For the filling…
450 grams (1 pound; about 8 to 10 medium) shallots, peeled and halved lengthwise
30 grams (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter
180 ml (¾ cup) dry vermouth
240 ml (1 cup) vegetable stock
1 large Grana Padano cheese rind
A few fresh thyme sprigs
70 grams (2½ ounces) finely grated Grana Padano
80 grams (⅓ cup) full-fat ricotta
A squeeze of lemon juice
Freshly ground back pepper
Heat the oven to 325°F. Trim the roots of the shallots but leave the base intact to keep the layers together. In a shallow Dutch oven or medium sauté pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, cut-sides down, and sprinkle with salt. Cook until they begin to caramelize, 3 to 5 minutes. Turn down the heat if the butter starts to brown too quickly.
Pour in the vermouth, scraping up any browned bits, and simmer until reduced by half, about 3 minutes.
If you’re using a sauté pan, transfer the shallots and liquid to a baking dish (otherwise, keep them in the Dutch oven). Add the stock, cheese rind, thyme, and a generous pinch of salt. Cover with foil and braise in the oven until the shallots are very tender, about 45 minutes. When done, let them cool completely. Strain the braising liquid to use as the sauce later.
Cut off the roots from the cooled shallots, remove any tough outer layers, and pat dry. Roughly chop and add to a food processor, then pulse until fine. Add the cheeses and pulse again, then adjust seasoning to taste with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Transfer to a piping bag and chill thoroughly before use.
For the agnolotti…
Make a 300 gram batch of egg pasta dough and allow it to rest, tightly wrapped, for at least 30 minutes at room temperature. Then roll about a quarter of the dough into a very thin sheet (setting 8 on my Marcato Atlas 150), keeping the rest wrapped.
To form the agnolotti, dot very small amounts of filling, no more than ¼ teaspoon, along the length of the bottom of the pasta sheet. Leave a small gap between the edge of the sheet and the filling pockets, as well as small gaps between each dollop. Then, starting from the bottom edge, gently fold the pasta sheet over to encase the filling. Use a finger to press and seal the top edge.
Pinch the gaps between each filling pocket upwards between your thumb and pointer fingers—it should stand vertically. Then, using a fluted pasta cutter, trim off the rest of the pasta sheet close to the filling, leaving enough overhang to prevent leakage (you can make more agnolotti out of the trimming). Cut forward forcefully between each filling pocket so the pasta folds over itself.
Spread the finished agnolotti out on a baking sheet dusted in semolina flour while you work and repeat the process with the remaining dough.
240 ml (1 cup) shallot braising liquid (or however much you have)
60 ml (¼ cup) heavy cream
15-30 grams (1-2 tablespoons) unsalted butter
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fresh thyme leaves, for serving
To finish the dish, add the strained braising liquid to a saucepan and simmer briefly over medium heat until it coats the back of a spoon. If you’re low on liquid, add a little more vermouth and reduce it by half, then add more stock and reduce that until thickened. Stir in the cream and simmer again until slightly thickened. Season to taste.
Cook the agnolotti in well-salted water for about 2 minutes, then transfer the pasta directly to the sauce.
Over low heat, add the butter and toss gently to combine until melted. Add a little pasta cooking water to loosen, if needed. Serve immediately, topped with a generous dusting of Grana Padano and a little fresh thyme. Enjoy!