Friday, October 19, 2007

White Corn Agnolotti with Summer Truffles

As my parents, friends and every teacher I've ever had from kindergarten through college can attest, I have verbal diarrhea. Actually, it's more like verbal explosive diarrhea because it's less of a constant yammering and more that sometimes I hear things unexpectedly shooting out of my mouth and while I can't stop it from happening, I'm half-horrified and half-amused at myself for being this way. Most people think things. Me? I actually think them out loud. Verbally. Loudly. Sometimes inappropriately. Like I live in a nursing home or something.

A prime, albeit tame, example of this is when I strolled down one of the exterior aisles of my local Dean & Deluca a week or so ago, meandering past the cheese and charcuterie cases. I happened upon a small, laminated sign declaring the availability of the last of the season's summer truffles: "Yay, summer truffles! You have summer truffles, oh yay!" to no one in particular other than myself... or so I thought. In fact, this was one time I thought I was thinking it, and not actually saying it out loud. Loudly. People around me stared as if I had just farted in church, which really... I think those people probably need to get a life, because, c'mon! Summer truffles! Yay!

I'm really excited to do some of The French Laundry dishes with black truffles in the next few months, so it was nice to have a little teaser of things to come. I rarely cook with truffles because they are so pricey, but summer truffles are far less expensive ($22/oz. as opposed to black truffles at $75/oz. and white truffles costing about $325/oz.) so this was a fun dish to do. You'll see I still can't quite get the agnolotti shaped just right, but I'm going to practice. I'm kind of kicking myself for not asking the folks at Per Se to show me theirs (ooooo, dirty) since it was on the Vegetable Tasting Menu that night. I was just too caught up to remember to ask.

This dish didn't take all that long to do, now that I know what I'm doing (sort of).
I made the pasta dough first, because it had to rest on the counter for an hour. You've already seen how I made the pasta dough here, so I didn't re-photograph that step this time 'round. While the dough rested, I pulled together the filling, and then made the sauce.

The first thing I did was bring some vegetable stock and water to a boil in my small Le Creuset pot. I whisked the liquid and poured in the polenta, continuing to whisk it until it came back up to a simmer. I cooked it over low heat, stirring it until it formed a ball, and the cornmeal didn't taste raw anymore:

Next, I made the risotto for the filling. I brought some more stock and water to a simmer in one saucepan, and put the Arborio rice in a separate saucepan. Once the liquid had come to a simmer, I poured small quantities of it into the pan with the rice, and stirred until each bit evaporated. When it was finished cooking, it too was in the shape of a sticky ball, and I fed it through my meat grinder twice to grind it:

I put the polenta into a clean saucepan over low heat, then mixed in the ground risotto. When they were sufficiently combined, I added some mascarpone and butter and continued to stir until everything was combined. I put some corn juice (you can see how I made that here) into a small saucepan over medium heat and whisked it until it thickened and added it to the polenta/risotto/butter/mascarpone mixture.

I rolled out the pasta and put the corn filling into a pastry bag and piped a tube of it down the middle, then formed the agnolotti:

I put the agnolotti into the freezer for a few minutes while I handled a few business calls and emails, and prepped the ingredients for the corn/truffle/chive sauce. I also started a pot of water to boil so that it would be ready for the pasta when I was ready to cook it.

I out the rest of the corn juice in a small saucepan and whisked it over medium heat until it had thickened. I put it in the blender, and then mixed/blended in some room temperature butter. I strained this mixture into a sauté pan and turned the burner on low. The water was boiling by this point, so I put the pasta in the water.

To finish the sauce, I added just under a cup of blanched corn kernels, minced truffle and minced chives:

I drained the pasta and put it in the sauté pan with the sauce, and at the last minute drizzled a few drops of white truffle oil on top. On top of each serving, I shaved a teeny bit of Parmiggiano-Reggiano cheese:

The verdict? It was good, but not as good as the sweet potato/bacon agnolotti. That combo was so good, I've been searching the Internet to find a way to have my wisdom teeth grow back, so I can have them removed again to justify eating this filling as my mushy food for a week or so.

Back to this dish, though. I like the smell and taste of truffles, and I love corn, but this one needed some salt or something else to bring out the flavor a little more. I went back and re-read the ingredients and instructions, and there was no mention of salt, which I found surprising. The only time salt was used was in blanching the corn (which I did a few weeks ago and then froze it to thaw later for this dish). I also salted the water I boiled the pasta in, but it wasn't enough. This dish needed some salt. I added my own at the table, but I think if I ever made this again, I'd use it elsewhere in the preparation.

I had leftovers of this one, and let me tell you, it gets better the second day. Even though I think I made my pasta sheets too thick this time, it was still pretty good. Again, not as good as the sweet potato/bacon agnolotti, but not a bad showing.

Wine Pairing: Joseph Drouhin, Chablis-Les Clos. Yes, you CAN pair a white with truffles, and this one worked better than I thought it would.

Up Next: Chocolate Cakes with Red Beet Ice Cream and Toasted Walnut Sauce (for realz this time, yo)

Summer truffles from Dean & Deluca
Estancia polenta
Corn from Musachio Produce
Bellino Arborio rice
Parm-Reg and chives from Whole Foods
Vermont Butter & Cheese Co. mascarpone

Music to Cook By: Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova; The Swell Season. Whether or not you've seen the film "Once," you should have a listen to these two. It's on the strummy-strummy-la-la side, but it's a little more coarse. I heard them on a KCRW podcast a few months ago and have been downloading their stuff ever since. Their song, "Lies" is so beautiful, although I can understand why someone on Amazon tagged it with "makes me want to smash my radio." It's all about perspective, I suppose. On another tip, I've also been listening to a lot of Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings and digging their groove. Look at me and how cool I am with my "digging their groove." I am such a fresh hep cat. Their album "100 Days, 100 Nights" is fantastic. They also have a tune called "Hook and Sling Meets the Funky Superfly" that I just love. Their music is what I play to clean up after a day's cooking because emptying the dishwasher is more fun when you can bust a move.


Anonymous said...

Looks pretty close on the angolotti. The only thing you need to do is when you get to the pinching part, stand up the cylinder with the filling at a 90 degree angel. Then when you cut to separate them you'll see that little flap curl on the outside-

Jon from CT

Anonymous said...

So, if I'm reading this right, it is pasta stuffed with polenta (cornmeal) and risotto (rice). Wow, carb attack. Take that, Atkins dieters!

Anonymous said...


Hello, lover.

Unknown said...

yo my gizzle..I'm pickin up what your puttin' down
Nice job on the wine pairing for this DO listen to the little people
I'm a little disappointed that no new article of clothing or accessory was purchased to bring the whole dish't wait for the next piece...
is that verbal diarrhea coming from me?

Great post!!!!

Jim said...

Ahh, gourmet cooking. The only place where non-hallucinogenic mushrooms cost more than psychotropic ones!

...or so I assume, anyway.

Marilyn said...

You are in serious trouble girl - I had to go buy my own copy of The French Laundry Cookbook after reading all about your adventures! Unfortunately, I have to wait for Christmas when I will have miraculously forgotten that I bought it for myself. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I love Glen Hansard, too! (Yes, I saw Once.) I love reading your blog! Thanks for squeezing the dull out of my work day.

Casey said...

the angolotti-in-process photos are just terrific. it's always exciting to find a new post on your blog.

Anonymous said...

This summer, after visiting relatives in France, I smuggled back 2 beautiful black truffles that I stored for a few weeks in my arborio rice supply.

Unfortunately, on that same trip, I also tried to smuggle back some amazing, fresh fois gras that was made by my uncle's neighbor. I had four tins--nearly 3 1/2 lbs of fois gras. Unfortunately, in customs, the tins were spotted in my companion's bags, and when asked, she let it out that it was a food product. Since there was no product label, they were confiscated.

It's taken a restraining order, a couple months of therapy, and untold amounts of prozac to get over that. At least I kept the truffles...


Anonymous said...

I think it's always a bold choice to start off a blog about food with a reference to 'diarrhea', verbal or otherwise, but any girl that throws down with her very own meat grinder--well, you just gotta respect that.

While I can't personally claim any meat-grinding experience, hell yeah, I can appreciate how satisfying that must be after a crappy day.


Anonymous said...

Tell them it's not verbal diarrhea, that it's logorrhea, it'll make you sound smarter than them and who doesn't love that?!

I love this recipe, I heart that it's pasta stuffed with risotto and polenta and cheese, I mean, YES! All my carb-addicted dreams come true! Throw in some bacon and I might just wallow around in it for a few hours. Thanks Carol :-)