Cheating from the Freezer
Everytime I check Facebook or Twittter these days, it seems that one of my left coast friends is celebrating the arrival of spring, touting the juicy strawberries, fat favas, or thick asparagus stalks that they’ve picked up from the market. To those pals, I have only this to say.
When I go to the grocery store, it’s so hard not to succumb when confronted with rows of upright asparagus and stacked packs of fragrant strawberries. Yet, I know that it won’t be guilt that will plague me if I do – they just won’t taste as good as the local version. I can wait.
I did, however, cheat from my freezer. With a little extra La Quercia prosciutto from a recent demo, I turned last season’s English peas into a Pea Agnoletti with a Pea and Prosciutto Sauce, popular with both big and little kids alike.
Sweet Pea & Goat Cheese Agnoletti with Prosciutto & Spring Onions
Making pasta is a really fun activity for kids and it’s a lot easier to do than you think. Nevertheless, if you don’t have the time or inclination, square wonton wrappers are a fine alternative.
For 6 servings
10 ounces shelled peas, fresh or frozen
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 tablespoons fresh goat cheese at room temperature
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons canola oil
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
5-7 tablespoons cold water
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup thinly sliced Spring onions
¾ pound prosciutto, thinly sliced
½ cup shelled peas, fresh or frozen
¼ cup white wine
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Heat the butter in the sauté pan over medium heat until the foam has subsided. Add the shallots and sauté until softened and just slightly colored – 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. Cook the frozen peas for 5 minutes in a microwave. Purée the peas in a food processor or mash with a potato masher. Add the cooled shallots and goat cheese to the peas. Process or mash until well mixed. Season with ½ teaspoon kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, about 5 grinds, or to taste.
Measure the flour onto a clean work surface and make a well in the center. Put the egg yolks, oil, salt and 5 tablespoons cold water into the well, mix with your fingers of one hand. With a dough scraper or a table knife, mix the flour into the liquid being careful not to break through the walls of flour. Keep cutting in the flour until the majority of the water has been absorbed. If the dough is dry, add the additional water little by little. Knead until relatively smooth – the dough will still appear to be slightly dry. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a half hour to allow the glutens in the dough to relax.
Divide the pasta dough in quarters and work with one piece at a time, keeping the remainder refrigerated. Flatten the dough with your heel and put through the largest setting of the pasta maker. Fold the dough in half and put it through pasta maker, folded side first, eight more times. Roll the dough through the pasta maker 4 more times, reducing the setting each time and ending on setting 5. Lay the dough onto a floured cutting board. Cut into 2½ inch squares. Slice any remnants into ¼ inch slices, which can be dried, frozen and added to soups. Repeat with remaining dough.
Place a ½ teaspoon of filling onto each of the squares slightly left of center. Brush the left and top sides with water and fold in half by taking the bottom right corner to the top left corner. Press the edges lightly to close and then push out from the center to get rid of any air bubbles, pressing on the edges to seal firmly.
Fill a pasta pot with water and bring to a full boil. While the water is coming to a boil, heat the butter in 9-inch sauté pan over medium heat until the foam subsides. Add onions and sauté until softened. Add prosciutto and cook until warm. Add a teaspoon of kosher salt to the boiling water and add pasta. Boil 2 minutes or until the agnoletti float to the top. While the pasta is cooking, add peas and wine to the sauté pan and cook for 1 additional minute. Drain the agnoletti and toss with 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil so they don’t stick together.
Put the agnoletti onto a platter and dress with sauce. If desired, garnish with pea sprouts.