Inside, we’ve taken to soups and baked goods, willingly turning the oven on to help warm our cold kitchen space. And while I enjoy the contentment that comes with autumn, I’m in denial that winter is around the corner. I turn my face up to every last bit of sunshine, and I look for ways to extend the last of the garden herbs into our meals—the last lingering bits of the season.
Where summer meals are often quick and hasty, I allow more time spent cooking when it’s cold, and this allows for meals of fresh pasta, rolled by hand on the counter while bread or a dessert bakes in the oven. Casoncelli are a stuffed pasta that can be formed from a circle folded in half, similar to a potsticker but without the pinching, and the potato and pasta combination is similar to pierogis. They are often served tossed in a butter sauce with herbs; I’ve added a walnut pesto here to continue eeking out those summer notes.
Tips for juggling dinner and the realities of life: If you are looking for a way to work ahead, the pasta dough can be made and refrigerated wrapped in plastic wrap the night or morning before. Likewise, the filling can be stored for a day or so before having the cheeses mixed in.
- 2 cups Italian 00 flour
- ¾ cup semolina flour
- 4 large eggs
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 ½ cups cleaned and sliced leeks
- 1 ½ cups peeled and diced potatoes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- ¼ cup fresh ricotta cheese
- ¼ cup finely grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh fennel fronds, optional
- ½ cup crispy guanciale
- walnut pesto
- On a cutting board or another flat surface, mix the Italian 00 flour, the semolina flour, and the eggs with a fork until a smooth dough forms. Place the dough in the refrigerator to rest for one hour.
- While the dough rests, prepare the filling. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat. Sauté the leeks for 2-3 minutes. Add the potatoes, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon white pepper. Add water until it just covers the potatoes. Cover the pan and cook for 15-20 minutes, until potatoes and leeks are soft and tender. Mash until smooth and refrigerate until cool.
- Stir the ricotta, Grana Padano/Parmigiano-Reggiano, an additional ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon white pepper to the potato filling. Set aside.
- At a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough until it is ½” thick. Sprinkle the dough with parsley, fold over once, and continue rolling until it is ¼” thick or thinner.
- Cut circles 3” in diameter. Place quarter-sized balls of filling on each circle of dough. Fold each circle in half, bringing the ends together and pressing firmly to seal each filled pasta.
- Bring a pot of salted water for a boil. Cook the cancelli for 3-4 minutes. Drain, reserving some of the water. Toss the pasta with 2 tablespoons of reserved pasta water and 2 tablespoons of butter. Serve topped with crispy guanciale and walnut pesto.