Kale Fagottini

When I first heard of the name of this pasta, I tried really hard not to react. The term, fagottini, I pronounce the “g” like a “j”, just because I don’t want to accidentally offend anyone. The pasta itself is a purse-like dumpling, stuffed with traditionally sausage or ground mince meat. However, when I prepared this recipe, I literally had everything except for meat. So I wanted to prepare a dish where you not only won’t miss the meat, but it celebrates the (rather limited) produce I had at the time, i.e. kale, garlic, and dried cranberries.

For the dish itself, it is a kale and ricotta cheese stuffed pasta with a cranberry infused butter sauce, and a toasted pine nut and parmesan crumble. I prepared a sable, which is like a shortbread dough, using the parmesan, just so that the preparation of the crumble would not result in burnt bits of cheese permanently fusing to your pan. This dish was perfect to serve on a cold-ish day, where you can enjoy the company of just yourself, while marveling at a view of an entire city that you can quietly judge from afar. Call me pretentious, I really don’t give a fuck.

For the pasta dough:
1/3 cup all-purpose flour + more for rolling
1 egg
1 egg white*

Make a well in the flour, and crack in the egg. Start first with a fork or chopsticks, and gradually beat the egg into the flour, incorporating more flour into your dough with each stir. Once the mixture becomes too thick to stir with a utensil, start kneading the dough with your hands until it forms into a dough. Allow to rest for 30 minutes.

Once rested, begin rolling out the pasta. Since this is a stuffed pasta, you want it to be as thin as possible (if using a pasta machine, roll it out to the thinnest setting).

Combine an egg white with 1 tablespoon of water. You will be using this mixture to seal your pasta.

Kale-Ricotta Filling:
1/3 cup blanched kale leaves; steams removed but reserved
1/3 cup ricotta cheese; water removed
1 egg
3 tablespoons parmesan cheese
a pinch of salt
a pinch of black pepper

Press out the water from the kale and ricotta. Combine ingredients together.

For pasta assembly:
Spoon about 1 1/2 tablespoons’ worth of filling onto the pasta sheet in mounds that are about 1 inch apart from each other. Brush the egg white mixture between the bare portions of the pasta sheet and fold over the pasta to seal. Cut out each individual stuffed dumpling, trimming the edges, so that you will have a ravioli that is shaped like a rectangular pillow. Take the top two corners of the dumpling and fold them towards the center, pressing all of the ends together to seal any seams. Take the bottom two corners, and fold them towards the center as well. Seal any seams between the bottom and top two corner folds, but leave the opening between the bottom two corners alone, since trying to seal that will only rip open the ravioli. Blanch these in hot water for about 2 minutes before transferring to the sauce.

Cranberry-Butter Sauce:
Cranberry Agro Dulce Base*
Garlic Brown Butter*
Leftover pasta water*

Combine the garlic brown butter and pasta water mixture with the cranberry agro dulce. Keep warm so that you can toss the pasta into this once it is blanched.

Cranberry Agro Dulce Base*
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup cider vinegar or Meyer lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
the leftover kale stems; chopped finely

Reduce together until the berries are rehydrated.

Garlic Brown Butter*
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 small clove of garlic
leftover pasta water*

Smash and peel the garlic. Cook with the butter until it begins to brown. Take the water used to boil the pasta, and add a little to stop the cooking process.

Parmesan-Pine Nut Crumble:
Polenta-Parmesan Sable*
1/4 cup pine nuts
a pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika powder
a pinch of black pepper
a pinch of fennel pollen

Toast the ingredients together until it smells fragrant.

Polenta-Parmesan Sable*
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 egg yolk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Combine ingredients into a dough. Bake at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes. Break the dough apart and allow to cool into a crumble.

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