Ahh… the finish line. The first bite. Experiencing the combination of textures and tastes: smooth & crunchy; sweet & salty. Everything in one bite. Total bliss. Total joy in knowing that it all turned out–rejoice in your accomplishment! Now, the final step in making butternut squash agnolotti.
After making the fresh pasta, the filling, and composing the finished agnolotti, it’s time to bring it all together by making the sauce and plating. This part probably takes only 20 minutes–so make sure you save this to just before serving. Fill a pot with well salted water; cover and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, start dicing the pancetta, thinly slicing scallions or chives, and chopping garlic into big chunks. Add the pancetta and garlic chunks to a COLD large pan. Place over medium-low heat. Once the pancetta and garlic are browned, discard the garlic. Add the pancetta and pancetta fat to a ramekin and set aside. Lower the pan heat to low.
When the water comes to a boil, drop the fresh (or frozen) agnolotti into the pot. Stir to avoid the agnolotti sticking to the bottom. Bring the pot back to a boil (you may have to cover it again to achieve). Once they float to the top, they are cooked–drain.
Meanwhile, once cooled down to a lower temperature, add 1 tablespoon of water to the pan where you cooked the pancetta. Cook the water for a few seconds and start adding the butter in 1 tablespoon chunks. Whisk or stir in the butter into the water until combined. Add the reserved pancetta fat to the butter/water (beurre monte) sauce. Stir again. Add the Chinese five spice powder. Raise the heat to medium-high. Stir and add the cooked agnolotti. Saute in the beurre monte sauce for a minute or two; sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese. Flip them over; add the cooked pancetta back to the pan. Cook another minute until agnolotti have absorbed some sauce and are lightly browned with Chinese five spice powder. Season with salt and black pepper.
Part Three: Sauce & Serving
4 dozen prepared butternut squash agnolotti, fresh or frozen
3 ounces pancetta, diced
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved lengthwise or chopped in big chunks
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1 scallion or bunch of chives, thinly sliced
3 tbsp. salted butter
Toasted, sweet breadcrumbs (see recipe below)
1/2 tsp. Chinese five spice powder
olive oil, salt & pepper
1. Fill a large pot with water, salt generously, and bring to a boil.
2. In a cold, large nonstick saute pan, add a drizzle of olive oil, the diced pancetta, and halved garlic cloves. Place the pan over medium-low heat on the stove. Stir regularly until the garlic and pancetta are browned. Discard the garlic. Pour the pancetta and pancetta fat together into a small bowl, set aside.
3. Lower the heat to low. Once the pan has cooled down to a low temperature, add 1-2 tablespoons of water. Let sit in the pan for about a minute–some will evaporate–that’s ok. Add the butter in 1 tbsp. increments and whisk into the water. This is the beurre monte sauce–it creates a butter emulsion. Keep whisking to keep the butter and water from separating. If it does, don’t worry, just whisk together again. Add the reserved pancetta fat and the Chinese five spice powder; stir. Keep on low temperature.
4. Once the water is boiling, drop the agnolotti in. Do not crowd the pot. You may have to cook in two batches. Stir regularly. The agnolotti will cook quickly: 3 to 6 minutes (depending on if they’re frozen.) You will know they’re finished when they float to the top of the pot.
5. Raise the heat under the pan to medium-high. Drain the agnolotti and add to the large saute pan with the beurre monte. Lightly stir to combine. Sprinkle with salt and white pepper. Sprinkle with a few tablespoons of parmesan cheese and the cooked pancetta. Let cook for one minute, flip again. You want the agnolotti to be slightly browned from the Chinese five spice powder.
6. Spoon ravioli into serving platter or individual bowls, topping with any sauce and pancetta from the pan. Top with more grated parmesan cheese, a sprinkle of toasted sweet breadcrumbs, and sliced scallions or chives. Serve hot.
Serves 4 – 6 people
Toasted Sweet Breadcrumbs
2 slices of white sandwich bread
1 tsp. of sugar
1. Remove crusts from the bread. Add the bread to a food processor and pulse until crumbs are formed. Add sugar, pulse again.
2. Spread sugar bread crumbs on a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil until browned. Be careful not to burn!
3. Cool crumbs at room temperature until ready to serve or store in an air-tight container for up to one week.