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Salmon and Cabbage Filled Buckwheat Agnolotti



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Perhaps you can imagine the challenge presented by attempting to locate an authentic Irish pasta recipe... My solution is to offer you a marvelous pasta dish that incorporates some ingredients closely associated with the Emerald Isle.  Enjoy!


Salmon and Cabbage Filled Buckwheat Agnolotti
Pasta: Italian, Asian, American...and More

Food & Wine Books, Editor in Chief: Judith Hill, 1997, American Express Publishing Corp.

“Cabbage may seem like an unlikely partner for salmon, but when the lowly vegetable is cooked until soft and golden it makes a perfect match for the rich fish, especially when the two are wrapped together in nutty buckwheat pasta.”

Serves 6 as a first course

Wine Recommendation:  The salmon together with the earthy flavors of the cabbage and buckwheat pasta will be delightful with a glass of Pinot Gris. A young bottle from Oregon or Alsace is ideal.

1 tablespoon butter
10 ounces green cabbage, (about 1/4 head), shredded
1 leek, white and light green parts only, cut in half lengthwise, sliced crosswise and washed well
3/4 teaspoon salt
Fresh-ground black pepper
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons crème fraîche *
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, or scallion tops
1/2 pound skinless salmon fillet, cut into 1/4-inch dice
Buckwheat Pasta Dough (recipe follows)

* Thick, tangy, nutty crème fraîche, or panna doppia, as it’s called in Italy, has a fuller, more complex flavor than sour cream. Also, it doesn’t curdle when heated as sour cream does. Both imported and domestic varieties are available in specialty shops and many supermarkets. You can also make it at home: Heat one cup of heavy cream with a teaspoon of buttermilk until lukewarm. Transfer to a jar or plastic container, cover loosely and let sit at room temperature until thick, about 24 hours. Then refrigerate. It will continue to thicken as it chills.

1.  In a large frying pan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the cabbage, leek, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very soft and just beginning to brown, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and let cool. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the crème fraîche, 1 tablespoon of the chives and the salmon.
2.  Roll, fill, and cut the pasta (see below). Use about 1 tablespoon filling in each agnolotti and a 2 1/2-inch round cutter.
3.  In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the agnolotti until just done, about 7 minutes. Drain.
4.  Return the hot pot to the stove and add the remaining 1 cup crème fraîche, 1 tablespoon chives, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper. Simmer 2 minutes. Add the agnolotti to the pan and cook another minute.

Buckwheat Pasta Dough

(equivalent to about 1/2 pound dry pasta)

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup buckwheat flour, added to the all-purpose flour
2 extra-large eggs

(If you use a pasta machine to roll the dough, it should be a little drier so that it moves smoothly through the rollers. An additional two tablespoons of flour should do the trick.)

With a food processor

1.  Put the flour and the eggs in the food processor. Process until the dough forms a ball, about 45 seconds. If the dough comes together in a sticky mass in just a few seconds, it is too moist. Pull the dough into several pieces, sprinkle with about twp tablespoons flour and process for another 30 seconds. If the pasta forms large crumbs and does not come together in a mass, press some of the crumbs together. If they stick, then the dough is the right consistency. If the crumbs are small and dry, we like to add a few teaspoons beaten egg, but you can also use water. Process again for about 30 seconds.
2.  Transfer the dough to a work surface and knead about 5 seconds. If rolling the dough by hand, dust with flour, wrap in plastic wrap and let it rest at least 30 minutes so that the gluten will relax and the pasta will be easier to roll. If using a pasta machine, you can roll the dough out at once.

By hand

1.  Put the flour in a large bowl and make an indentation in the center. Beat the eggs to combine them and pour them into the indentation.
2.  With a fork, gradually pull the flour into the egg mixture. You can also use your fingers to do this. When the dough is a soft mass, transfer it to a floured work surface. Knead the dough, sprinkling with more flour if the dough is sticky. Work the dough until it forms a smooth and elastic ball, about 10 minutes. If rolling the dough by hand, dust with flour, wrap in plastic wrap and let it rest about 30 minutes. If using a pasta machine, you can use the dough immediately.

Making Agnolotti

1.  Working with a third of the dough at a time, roll to less than 1/16 inch thick by hand or with a pasta machine. Cut hand-rolled pasta into strips 4 inches wide. Loosely cover all but one strip of dough with plastic wrap.
2.  Drop 1-tablespoon mounds of filling, about 2 1/2 inches apart, down the length of the dough. Fold the dough lengthwise in half and press around the filling to seal the agnolotti and to remove any air that may be trapped inside.
3.  With a 2 1/2-inch fluted pastry cutter, stamp out the agnolotti along the folded side of the dough into half-moon shapes.
4.  Press firmly all around the edges to make sure they’re sealed. Put the agnolotti on a baking sheet dusted with flour. Continue with the rest of the pasta and filling.


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