Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Fagottini di Formaggio (Cheese Bundles)

I have always wanted to make pasta at home from scratch, without any machines or professional pasta tools - get a true glimse of how the old Italian ladies used to do it back in the day.  I thought what better pasta creation to attempt than fagottinis!  This is a style of pasta that I fell head over heels for when I was studying abroad in Siena and have not been able to find a great replica of since I left that tasty country.  In Italian fagottini means little bundle...and crazy enough, that is exactly what they are!  After searching through many recipes online I came up with the following combinations based on my preferences and what I had in the house.  Honestly, this dish turned out better than most that I have had in any Italian restaurant in the states..and a close second to real Italian deal.  Feel free to follow the little old Italian lady inside of you and get creative with your own filling and sauce twists.  Buon appetito!

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 40 mins
Cook Time: 20 hour
Total Time: 1 hour

For the pasta: 
1 1/2 cups flour
two eggs and 1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp salt

For the filling:
½ cup gorgonzola
2 Tbls fresh cheese
1/2 tsp dried thyme
3 small garlic cloves
freshly ground black pepper
a bit of olive oil
one egg white

For the sauce:
100 g butter
½ cup roughly chopped pecans
1 Tbls chopped dried parsley
1 tsp chopped dried sage
1/4 cup + 2 Tbls heavy cream
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
Finely grated Parmesan for topping

To make the dough, combine the flour and salt in a large bowl.

Create a well in the center and add the eggs and egg yolk. Using a fork, beat the eggs while mixing in the flour a little at a time.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Form into a ball and knead until the dough takes on a smooth surface, about 10 minutes. Form the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Let it rest on your kitchen table while you're preparing the filling.

To make the filling, heat oil in a small pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, cook until translucent. Combine in a bowl with gorgonzola, fresh cheese, thyme and season with salt and pepper. Add egg white and stir to combine.

To make the pasta, cut the ball into few pieces. Work with only one piece at a time and keep the remaining pieces wrapped in plastic wrap. Lightly flour the table and roll the piece of dough until the pasta is very thin. You may use pasta machine, too. Using a decorative pastry cutter or a sharp knife, cut the sheet into small squares of equal size. Using a teaspoon, drop balls of filling onto each square. Brush around the filling with a bit of water. Take the square in hand and form the fagottini - a bundle. Place them onto a lightly floured tray or towel. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.

Bring a large pot of liberally salted water to a rapid boil. Add the fagottini in small batches and cook until al dente, about 5 minutes.

Once you put the fagottini in the water start cooking the sauce. In a skillet over medium-high heat, cook the butter without stirring until it starts to darken to a golden color. Add the nuts and cook until the butter is golden brown and the nuts are fragrant (about 1 minute). Add the herbs, cream, and lemon juice, and stir to combine. Cook for 30 seconds. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer the fagottini with a slotted spoon to the skillet with the butler, swirling to coat. Move to a bowl, sprinkle with the parmesan, spooning the sauce over the ravioli to melt the cheese.

Serve with pride and some nice white Italian wine! =)

(The only hastily taken photo of the final product before they were all devoured - so irresistible!)

Adapted from Duonos ir Zaidimu and many other sites...