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Agnolini with Goat Cheese, Fresh Ricotta, Peas and Herbs

Agnolini, like ravioli, are filled pasta. These half-moons, made by cutting the pasta into rounds and then folding them in half, are a perfect pocket for cheese. Ricotta is the traditional filling, but goat cheese adds a tang and complements spring peas and herbs. Serve with a crisp white wine.

Ingredients:

For the filling:

  • 1 1/2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g) frozen petite peas
  • 1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g) fresh whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 3 oz. (90 g) soft goat cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh chives
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh mint 
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  •  
  • All-purpose flour for dusting
  • 12 oz. (375 g) fresh pasta sheets
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) (4 oz./125 g) unsalted butter, melted and kept
      hot
  • 1 cup (4 oz./125 g) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • About 1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz./75 g) frozen petite peas, boiled until
      just tender (optional)
  • Fresh mint leaves for garnish (optional)
  • Fresh chervil for garnish

Directions:

To make the filling, in a small fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and peas, reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring, until the onion is translucent and the peas are tender and still bright green, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a blender or food processor, add the ricotta, goat cheese, egg, chives, mint and salt and process just until blended. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

On a lightly floured work surface, unfold the pasta sheet. Using a 3-inch (7.5-cm) biscuit cutter, cut out 36 rounds from the pasta.

Place a generous 1 tsp. of the filling on one half of each round and brush the edges with water. Fold the round in half and use your fingers to press the edges together, sealing them securely.

Dust a baking sheet with flour and place the filled agnolini on it. (The agnolini can be made up to 2 hours in advance. Leave them on the baking sheet, lightly dust the tops with flour and cover with a kitchen towel.)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Working in batches, gently slide in the agnolini, being careful not to crowd them. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the agnolini until tender to the bite, about 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the agnolini to a warmed platter. Repeat until all the agnolini are cooked.

Transfer the agnolini to a warmed shallow bowl or individual plates and pour the butter evenly over the top. Sprinkle with the Parmigiano-Reggiano, peas, mint leaves and chervil. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Cheese, by Georgeanne Brennan (Weldon Owen, 2010).