THE CHEF: MELISSA RODRIGUEZ
His restaurants: Mel’s, in New York; Al Coro and Discolo, both opening soon, also in Manhattan
What it is known for: Fine Italian cuisine. Technical mastery at the service of inviting combinations of flavors.
SIX WEEKS AGO, Melissa Rodriguez opened her restaurant Mel’s, in Manhattan. Centered around a wood-burning oven, the intimate space is quite different from the sprawling one next door, home to sister restaurant Al Coro, which is due to open in a few months. “I’m stretched thin,” Ms. Rodriguez said.
A dish she developed for Al Coro inspired this recipe, her first for Slow Food Fast: tender triangular packets of fresh pasta with a filling of potatoes, fontina and mascarpone, finished with brown butter and Grated parmesan.
While Ms. Rodriguez cooks her pasta from scratch, here she’s streamlining things for the home cook, calling for fresh store-bought lasagna sheets. Be sure to rice or grate the cooked potatoes while they are still hot. “You don’t want whole potato chunks,” Ms. Rodriguez said. “It should feel luscious when you bite into it.” Imagine what a pleasure it will be, an evening when you too are stretched.
—Kitty Greenwald is a chef, food writer and co-author of “Slow Fires” (Clarkson Potter)
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Chef Melissa Rodriguez developed this dish for her new restaurant Al Coro, consisting of tender triangular packets of fresh pasta filled with potatoes, fontina and mascarpone, topped with brown butter and grated parmesan.
- Kosher salt
- 2 small Yukon Gold potatoes
- ⅓ cup mascarpone
- ¼ pound fontina
- 1 whole egg and 1 beaten egg
- 6 to 8 sheets of fresh lasagne, about 12 x 6 inches
- Olive oil, for greasing the pan
- 8 tablespoons of butter
- Parmesan, finely grated
- Fill a large saucepan with salted water and bring to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, place the potatoes in a small saucepan filled with salted water. Place the saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Bake until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Filter and drain.
- When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel them. Over a bowl, pass the hot potatoes through a potato masher or grate on the middle holes of a box grater. Incorporate the mascarpone. Break up the lumps so that the mixture is completely smooth. Grate the fontina over the middle holes of the box grater and fold it into the potato mixture with 1 whole egg until fully blended. Season with salt.
- Cut the pasta sheets into triangles so that the short sides are each about 3 inches long. Brush the outer edges with beaten egg. Place about 1 tablespoon of the potato mixture in the center of half of the pasta triangles. Fill the stuffed triangles with the remaining triangles. Use the tines of a fork to crimp the edges together to seal completely.
- Working in batches to avoid crowding, carefully drop the stuffed pasta into a large pot of boiling water. Once each triangle floats and floats on the surface of the water for about 1 minute, use a slotted spoon to fish it out and transfer it to a baking sheet coated in olive oil.
- While the pasta is boiling, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Once the butter turns golden and smells nutty, after 3-5 minutes, remove the pan from the heat.
- Arrange the hot pasta on 4 plates and pour over the hazelnut butter. Garnish with finely grated parmesan and serve immediately.
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