Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Thomas Keller's Fava Bean Agnolotti with Curry Emulsion

Fava Bean Agnolotti with Curry Emulsion
Anna did most of the work on this recipe... shucking, peeling, and cooking fava beens for the filling... making and rolling the pasta dough... and finally shaping the agnolotti. I basically just made the emulsion, lent moral support, occasionally pinched some pasta together, and washed some dishes. Nonetheless, I thought this would be a good recipe to post about... not least because it was freakin' delicious, but also because it's not as hard to make as the recipe would seem to indicate. Oh, and what exactly is agnolotti? Basically just a type of ravioli from the Piedmont Region of Italy... different mainly in that one side is folded over.

Intro out of the way, I guess it would be nice to note that you can find the recipe itself on Epicurious... however it originally comes from The French Laundry Cookbook. Thomas Keller is of course famously exacting and it shows through in this recipe, but none of the steps are particularly difficult in and of themselves... there's just a whole lot of them. You could conceivably do this on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon and have your agnolotti ready for dinner... but you can also do what we did, and split it up over two days for what I think is a more manageable experience. Anna made the filling on Sunday and shaped the agnolotti on Monday while I made the emulsion. Even with the two of us working it still took one and a half to two hours to get dinner on the table. So unless you are some sort of pasta shaping expert you'll want to factor that in. Believe it or not, shaping roughly 48 agnolotti is fairly time consuming.

Shaping the Agnolotti
The pasta dough has so many eggs in it that it is actually quite easy to work with... no cracking, splitting, or sticking... though you should keep sheets of dough and the filled agnolotti under a wet towel to keep them from drying out. The recipe only calls for a half recipe of the dough, but like one of the commenters on Epicurious, we ended up using the full amount of pasta dough. Not sure where the disconnect comes from... maybe we should have rolled it thinner, but I found it to be thin enough since I could see my fingers through it. One thing we didn't have was a pastry wheel to make our agnolotti super cute... but for the most part they held together with just some pinching around the edges.

The emulsion is straightforward... you just reduce some stock and cream then add some (er, lots really)  butter before doing the emulsion part in a blender. I also blanched the scallions and chives (sadly no ramps or garlic sprouts in Shaw's - quelle surprise!) in the boiling water that was waiting for the pasta with a little steamer insert.

So like I said, not too hard but there are lots of steps... and it's no weeknight recipe unless you split it up over a couple of nights. It's a pretty fun little cooking project and the final dish is absolutely divine.