When pasta dough is cut into rounds, filled and folded into the shape of half moons, the resulting ravioli are called agnolotti.
Since the word is difficult to pronounce, I like to call them half-moon raviolis. I fill them with goat cheese rather than the blander ricotta, and I like to flavor the dough with green onions and fresh basil.
The dish takes some work to produce but I believe the work is worthwhile. The ravioli are delicious, unusually flavored and beautiful to behold. They are a perfect opener for a special Italian dinner, particularly when the main course is veal, chicken or beef.
Each part of this dish is quickly prepared in the processor, particularly the pasta dough, which is processed in four to six seconds. You will need some special equipment--a pasta machine, ravioli wheel and pastry brush--to transform the dough into silken filled pasta pillows.
The ravioli can be made and filled 24 hours in advance and refrigerated, provided they are wrapped well. Since goat cheese is very dry, these ravioli tend to hold up better than those filled with ricotta cheese.
GREEN ONION-BASIL HALF MOONS
Green Onion-Basil Dough
1/2 pound goat cheese, rind or coating removed
5 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon minced basil leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon minced green onion tops
1 egg yolk
6 quarts boiling water
Prepare Green Onion-Basil Dough. Divide dough into thirds. Roll each piece of dough into widest possible strip and put through pasta machine on second-thinnest setting. Lightly flour dough strips and cut 20 to 24 (3 1/2-inch) circles with cookie cutter. Cover circles with plastic and set aside.
For filling, add goat cheese, 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, basil, green onion and egg yolk to processor fitted with metal blade and pulse to thoroughly mix. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to fill pasta.
Place each dough circle on work surface. Moisten with water using damp pastry brush. Place rounded 1 1/2 teaspoons filling in center of each dough circle. Fold half of dough over cheese. Press edges together tightly to eliminate air. Seal by trimming each piece into semicircle with crimping wheel of ravioli cutter. Transfer to baking sheet covered with cloth towel. Cover with plastic and refrigerate until serving time. Can be refrigerated overnight.
Prepare Tomato Sauce and keep warm.
Add 1/2 teaspoon salt to boiling water. Plunge half moons into water. Return to boil and cook at rapid boil 3 minutes longer. Drain well.
Transfer pasta to pan with sauce. Gently toss over low heat to coat pasta with sauce. Remove with slotted spoon to warm serving dishes. Place 1 tablespoon Tomato Sauce over each portion. Divide remaining 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese evenly over each portion. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.
Green Onion-Basil Dough
2 medium green onions, cut into 1-inch lengths
1/4 cup packed stemmed basil leaves
1 egg yolk
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups bread flour, about
Place green onions and basil in dry food processor container fitted with metal blade. Process with 1-second pulses to coarsely chop. Add eggs, egg yolk and salt. Process until onion and basil are completely pureed and mixture is foamy, about 1 minute.
Add bread flour and process with 1-second pulses until small beads form. Press beads together to form dough. Wrap in plastic and set aside 20 to 30 minutes before rolling.
Check consistency of dough. If it sticks to plastic wrap, work in generous quantity of additional flour during rolling. Otherwise, dust work surface lightly with bread flour while rolling out dough. Follow manufacturer's instructions for using pasta machine. Makes about 3/4 pound.
1/4 cup packed stemmed parsley leaves
3 medium cloves garlic
1 pound tomatoes, peeled, seeded and quartered
1/3 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons mixed dried herbs (basil, sage, oregano, savory)
Insert metal blade in dry processor container. Process parsley until minced. Set aside. Mince garlic by adding to machine with motor running. Transfer garlic to medium skillet. Coarsely chop tomatoes with half-second pulses. Set aside.
Add olive oil to skillet and cook garlic over low heat, just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes, broth and tomato paste. Simmer rapidly, stirring frequently, until mixture reduces by half and sauce measures 2 cups.
Stir parsley and herbs into sauce. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Taste to adjust seasonings. (Can cool and set sauce aside or cover and refrigerate 48 hours).
Heat thoroughly before serving. Taste to adjust seasonings. Makes 2 cups sauce.