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…
2 tablespoons butter
8-10 medium shallots, halved lengthwise & peeled
¾ cup dry vermouth
¾ cup stock of choice (I used vegetable)
1 large Grana Padano cheese rind
A few sprigs fresh thyme
¾ cup Grana Padano, finely grated
⅓ cup firm whole milk ricotta
A squeeze of lemon juice, to taste
Salt & pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Trim the roots of the shallots but leave some intact to keep the pieces together. Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Add the shallots, cut-side down, and a pinch of salt. Cook briefly until beginning to caramelize, about 3-5 minutes. Adjust 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 saucepan, transfer the shallots and liquid to a baking dish (otherwise, keep them in the Dutch oven). Add the stock, Grana Padano 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, allow them to cool completely and strain the braising liquid to use as the sauce later.
Cut off the roots from the cooled shallots, remove any especially tough outer layers, and pat them 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. Transfer to a piping bag and chill thoroughly.
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.
Shallot braising liquid (1 cup or more)
¼ cup heavy cream
1-2 tablespoons butter
Salt & pepper to taste
Fresh thyme leaves, for garnish
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!