Grana Padano PDO cheese and Prosecco DOC would love you to try this recipe at home – Anolini in brodo; smoked potatoes and bottarga Anolini in Grana Padano cheese consommé, by Danilo Cortellini.
If like me you are a true Italian food lover, you might know that around Christmas time there is a big tradition of having ‘pasta in brodo’ (pasta in broth) during family lunches, and each area in Italy has its own version, with its own pasta.
The most famous must be ‘tortellini in brodo’ but the pasta I’m using today is the less famous Anolini, which is nevertheless very delicious.
Anolini are traditional in the cities between Lombardy and Emilia and they are usually staffed with a mix of cheese and breadcrumbs and served in a rich meaty broth but many variations are done depending on the area you are in.
For my recipe I decided to go meatless and wanted to spice things up, without renouncing truly bold flavors. My Anolini are stuffed with a smoked potato puree to which I added grated bottarga (tuna fish roe) for a briny fish note and serve them in a delicious Grana Padano cheese consommé, which is a concentrated and crystal-clear broth.
Some of you might be skeptical at the combination of bottarga and Grana Padano cheese, but I invite you to keep an open mind, you’ll be surprised.
Chef tip: Be always careful when smoking with open fire, and to be honest, this dish is delicious even if you want to skip this process. If wooden chips are not available a simple rosemary sprig will do it. Don’t discard the pasta trimmings, instead chopping them up roughly and leave them to dry on a tray. They are great to use in soups or other dishes.
NEED TO KNOW
Preparation Time: 2 h (plus simmering)
Cooking Time: 4/5 h
For the yolk pasta
- 260 g of 00 pasta flour
- 150 g of egg yolk
For the filling
- 4 floury large boiled potatoes
- 50 g of butter
- 100 g of grated Grana Padano cheese
- 20 g of grated tuna bottarga
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Woodchips to smoke
For the consommé
- 1 Celery stalk
- 2 Onions, peeled
- 2 carrots
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 egg whites
- 200g grated Grana Padano cheese
- 200g Grana Padano cheese rind
- Salt, pepper to taste
Start the day before with the Grana Padano cheese broth. Place the cheese rind, the celery, a couple of garlic cloves, bay leaf, 1 onion and 1 carrot, into a big pan with 4lt of water. Bring it to boiling point, add a pinch of salt and leave to simmer for about 2 hours. Pass through a colander and let the broth cool overnight in the fridge.
Finely chop the other onion and carrot. To clarify the Grana Padano cheese broth and turn it into a consommé, mix the 2 egg whites well with the grated Grana Padano cheese and the chopped veg, and season with salt and pepper. Add this egg white base mixture to the cold Grana Padano cheese broth.
Now bring the broth very slowly to the boiling point without mixing it any more. When the egg white mixture starts to cook, it will slowly solidify and while doing so, collect all the impurities in the broth, making it crystal clear. During the process, check very gently every now and then that the mixture hasn’t caught to the bottom of the pan. When the mixture is cooked and floats to the surface, break it in the middle to let the consommé breathe while simmering. Simmer it for a couple of hours and let it reduce. Slowly and carefully pass it through a fine sieve lined with a clean kitchen cloth. Season to taste.
To prepare the filling, boil the potatoes and mash them with a ricer. While still hot, smoke the mashed potatoes by firing the woodchips in large container and place the potatoes to one side. Seal well and smoke for about 20 minutes.
Now mix the warm potatoes with the grated Grana Padano cheese and butter and add the grated bottarga.
Now for the pasta: knead the flour and eggs until you have a smooth and elastic dough. If a little too sticky on your hands, add a little extra flour. Wrap with film and leave to rest for about 30 minutes.
Slice the pasta into thick sheets and flatten them with a rolling pin. With the help of a pasta machine, roll the pasta out. (This can also be done by hand using a rolling pin and elbow grease). Pass the dough gradually from the largest setting to the narrower setting to make very thin pasta sheets. I am usually happy to use the setting just before the thinnest as I like my pasta to have a little ‘bite’.
Once the first pasta sheet is ready, place little balls of potato filling (about 2 g each) on it and make sure they are at least 2/3 cm apart from each other. Now brush the slightly larger second sheet of pasta with a little water and use it (brushed side down) to cover the first sheet with the filling. With your hands make sure the 2 pasta sheets stick to each other and that there are no air pockets. Now use a small pastry cutter (anything that is circular and about 2/3 cm in diameter, even a cocktail measure) to make the anolini. By cutting the pasta the 2 sheets should seal automatically very well so that your anolini will not open when cooking.
When the anolini are ready, drop them in salted boiling water and cook for about 1.5 minutes. Serve with the boiling hot Grana Padano cheese consommé and enjoy with a bubbly glass of Prosecco DOC Rosé. Alternatively, the anolini can be spread on a tray with parchment and frozen. Store in a sealed bag and cook from frozen when you are ready.