Sunday, April 3, 2011

(Not-so Pictureless) Post 2: Sweet Potato Agnolotti

The saddest part of my second picture-less post is that my agnolotti came out so well on the first try!  And now everyone will just have to take my word for it (well, that plus see my second batch of agnolotti, which came out even better)  Everyone check out how pretty my agnolotti are!!!!

Excluding the fact that pasta making is a giant pain constituting an entire workout for me (you knead dough for at least 20 minutes then tell me your arms don't hurt!), this was pretty easy.  And very do-ahead-able.

Thursday night: filling night.  First, I roasted some sweet potatoes with some nice chunks of butter in them.

They were bright orange and very pretty after I took them out.

After they cooled a little bit, I pressed them through my potato ricer.  (ETA: woohoo, found a second time and place to use it!)

I started browning some bacon while the potatoes were cooling... then remembered that one of my guests is a vegetarian.  Whoops.  I decided to press on, and just tell her that she'd have to pick them out.  Sorry Rebecca.  Luckily for her, I hadn't diced them all that well, so they were easy to pick out.  And looking into the future, a word of advice: dice your bacon well.  It really makes a difference later in the process.

Anyways, bacon browned [just imagine a pretty picture of sizzling bacon here], I stirred in the sweet potatoes and spices, mixed well, and cooled/stuck in the fridge.

Friday night: Pasta Time!
I've made pasta before.  I didn't remember it being too hard.  It wasn't really, although it made a damned big mess.  Mostly because I didn't make a great well, and started spilling the eggs everywhere.  Whoops again.  And then I kneaded and kneaded and kneaded.  And then it was done, woohoo!

Saturday morning: Time to fill
My lovely lovely husband (have I mentioned how lucky I am to have such a lovely husband) helped me roll out the pasta.  Apparently my pasta roller doesn't attach to any of my counters, so we strapped it to a cutting board and hubby held it and cranked while I fed the pasta through.

After we have nice sheets of pasta, I piped a line of the filling onto the sheet.  This is where the fine dice came in - the pieces were too big and kept sticking/spitting out big chunks of filling (rather than the nice even line I wanted).  After reading the directions 20 times, and STILL not quite getting how to fold them so they looked like little pockets, I just went for it.  And it worked!

In case anyone else has a hard time with the directions, here goes: (1) pipe a line of filling about an inch from the bottom along the length of the sheet;

(2) fold that inch on the bottom up and over the filling, so that the dough overlaps along the top edge of the filling; (3) pull the edge closest to you up just a little bit, then pinch the dough along regular 1 inch intervals - pinch it tight, so that it seals well;

(4) cut along the top of the dough with a pasta roller (or knife or something - I got my pasta roller for $3 from Amazon); (5) cut into the middle part of each pinched section, rolling away from your body and letting the agnolotti roll away from your body a little.  This seems like a pain, but once I got the hang of it, it went really quickly.  (and maybe i'm the only one who felt like the instructions were a little patchy, so ignore these if you understand and/or will never make agnolotti)

As I finished each sheet of dough, I tossed the completed agnolotti onto a sheet with cornmeal on it and stuck it them in the freezer.

So, after all of that description, you have to think its time to eat, right?

NOPE!  There are still sage things to be done!  I blanched some sage, fried some sage leaves for garnish, wrung out some sage, infused some cream with the blanched sage.  Lots of sage!  And there are lots of pictures that are no more of these steps. 

I vaguely recall making some sort of sage cream sauce out of the butter that wasn't particularly hard (or memorable, apparently).  I also vaguely remember that it needed creme fraiche, and I realized I forgot to buy it right before people were supposed to get there, so I send B out to the store to get it.  And he did a fabulous job of being quick like bunny, so that the cream was able to infuse/cook/whatever I did with it for a sufficient amount of time (while we had our first course).

Time to plate: toss the agnolotti in boiling water for five minutes, toss the agnolotti in the cream.  Drizzle a little bit of brown butter over the top.  (not pictured: I put some sliced prosciutto on top of the agnolotti) (except the vegetarian - no need to waste perfectly good prosciutto), and served.  But I forgot to put the fried sage on it.  I have no idea what it would have added, but I hate it when I waste effort!

The verdict: yummy yummy yummy!  I loved it.  Everyone loved it.  It was sweet, with a little smokiness from the bacon, richness from the cream.  And my strategy of giving the smallest agnolotti to the vegetarian worked out pretty well, since she only got one or two (large) pieces of bacon.  And everyone else got more bacon - win win!

Resources: pasta cutter - Amazon

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