Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Nuts and Pansotti

Homemade pansotti is stuffed with chard and borage sautéed in olive oil and garlic and combined with pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, cream cheese, nutmeg, and marjoram leaves in these healthy foods. The dish is seasoned with a delicious sauce made with walnuts, whole milk, breadcrumbs, garlic, olive oil, nutmeg, and Parmesan cheese. Serve this as a sumptuous appetizer or a light and nutritious main course paired with a bottle of Pigato dei Massaretti.

An Italian type of pasta stuffed with preferred ingredients similar to ravioli or tortelli, pansotti is made of a two-inch square dough folded into two with filling sealed inside, forming a triangle. The edges of the pasta can be cut straight or serrated for presentation and for a different sensation in the palate. Pansotti can be stuffed with vegetables, meat, mushrooms, and spices and make a filling pasta meal. This is a vegetarian dish that makes a light yet satisfying dish.

You only need flour and eggs to make simple dough for making the pansotti. For best results, use semolina flour, which is the preferred flour for making pasta. You can also use unbleached all-purpose flour if you can’t find semolina or if it is not available although the pasta will taste more like dough compared to commercially made pasta. Some Italian groceries or specialty stores may carry pansotti dough that is premade, which you only need to stuff and cook. This usually takes more time to cook until tender compared to freshly homemade pasta.

Chard and borage have a pleasantly bitter taste that is balanced by the nuts, cream and spices used in this recipe. Because of the ingredients used, the dish is intense and mild at the same time. It also has a wonderful texture of crunch and softness that is quite pleasurable in the palate.

For the dough:
2/3 lb. flour
3 eggs
For the stuffing:
1/2 lb. chard
½ cup borage
2 spoons pure cold-pressed olive oil
1/2 garlic clove
1 spoon pine nuts, nutmeg
1.8 oz. parmesan cheese
3.5 oz. cream cheese
10 marjoram leaves

For the sauce:
3.5 oz. walnuts
3.5 oz. whole milk
1.8 oz. bread crumbs
1/2 garlic clove
1 oz. pure cold pressed olive oil
salt, nutmeg
0.88 oz. parmesan cheese

1. Mix the flour and eggs and knead until smooth. Spread the dough as thin and even as possible without breaking, using a rolling pin or pasta machine.

2. Clean the greens well and pat dry. In a pan, heat olive oil and sauté the garlic. Add the greens. Season with salt to taste and turn to high heat. Keep the lid on the pan for 5 minutes.

3. Mix the cooked greens, pine nuts, ricotta, Parmesan, and a pinch of nutmeg.

4. Cut rolled out dough into squares of about 2 inches each. Place a small amount of filling in the middle of each, fold into two forming a triangle, and close the sides by squeezing the edges. In a large pot, bring water to a boil and add 2 tbsp (30 mL) salt. Drop the pansotti into the water and cook until the pasta is tender, about 3 to 4 minutes.

5. Soak the breadcrumbs in a bowl filled with milk. In a bowl, mix the walnuts, garlic, oil, salt, a pinch of nutmeg, and Parmesan. Drain the bread and blend it into this sauce until creamy. Just before serving, dilute with some spoons of the pasta cooking water. Do not preheat the sauce before serving.

6. Serve the vegetable-stuffed pansotti with the sauce poured over the dish.

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