GRANA PADANO PDO CHEESE AGNOLOTTI “CACIO E PEPE”

GRANA PADANO PDO CHEESE AGNOLOTTI “CACIO E PEPE”
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Details

. Difficulty: Hard . Serves: 4 people . Preparation time: 1 hour and 20 minutes . Variety: Filled pasta
It is a mixture of Italian regional cultures joining together to create a delicious pasta dish.
 
Traditionally from Piedmont, the Agnolotti are tiny pasta parcels filled with roast meat. The “cacio e pepe” refers to a very famous and much-loved Roman recipe of dressing a bowl of spaghetti with grated cheese and cracked black pepper. So I thought, why not put a Grana Padano PDO cheese ‘Cacio e Pepe’ filling into a tiny pasta parcel instead of using it only as a sauce? Well, it worked quite well for me and I would go as far as saying it is becoming one of my favourite recipes so far.
 
Chef’s tips: Never throw away the Grana Padano PDO cheese rind, it is always useful for resourceful cooks! In this recipe I use the rind to make wonderful, crunchy ‘croutons’ for added texture and flavour. Go the extra mile and use the Grana Padano PDO cheese “Riserva” for a full body, rich plate of Agnolotti.
Enjoy this decadent starter with a refreshing glass of Prosecco DOC brut.

Ingredients

100g Grana Padano PDO cheese rind
50g grated Grana Padano PDO cheese
Salt and black pepper to taste
20g unsalted butter
100ml veg stock
20ml Prosecco DOC
1 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil
For the filling:
200ml milk
24g butter
24g 00 flour
100g finely grated Grana Padano PDO cheese Riserva
Black Pepper to taste
For the pasta:
6 large eggs
600g 00 flour

Preparation

Prepare the filling by melting the butter in a casserole dish, then add the flour and cook until brown and caramelized. Add the milk and bring to the boil while whisking continuously to avoid lumps. Cook for 5 minutes and remove from the fire. Add the Grana Padano PDO cheese, and season with black pepper. Blitz in a powerful blender and put aside to cool. Once cool, put the filling into a piping bag.
 
To prepare the pasta knead together eggs and flour and work it until smooth and elastic. Set aside to rest for 30 minutes covered with film.
 
To prepare the puff crust ‘croutons’, gently grate the outer rind to get rid of the tougher part. Place the rind that is left (whole) it onto a microwave dish lined with baking paper. Now cook it at maximum power for 30 second to 1 minute. Simple as that! Let it cool and cut it into crouton-like shapes.
 
With the help of a pasta machine roll the pasta gradually to until it becomes 1mm thick.  Place teaspoons of the Grana Padano PDO cheese filling along the sheet leaving 4 cm between them. Brush the pasta around the filling with a tiny amount of cold water and fold the pasta sheet in half to cover the filling. Now gently press the pasta along the edge of the filling removing the excess air inside the parcels. With a pastry wheel create your small pasta parcels cutting alongside each piece from top to bottom.  The jagged shape on the pastry wheel will seal each parcel and will also help to create their signature curly shape!
 
Melt a knob of butter in a large pan and once caramelised pour in the Prosecco DOC. Let the alcohol evaporate and add the stock. Season with salt and pepper and let it reduce. Cook the Agnolotti for 1 minute in salted boiling water then drain and add into the pan. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve straight away.
 
Plate onto a large plate, add finely grated Grana Padano PDO cheese on top and garnish with the puff crust ‘croutons’. Add some extra black pepper to taste.
Serve straight away.
Danilo Cortellini
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