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John A. Benson
By Food editor
TODAY
updated 10/21/2008 1:20:14 PM ET 2008-10-21T17:20:14

This week’s recipe for Agnolotti Dal Plin (handmade ravioli with a veal stuffing) was stolen with permission from Staffan Terje, chef-owner of Perbacco, San Francisco. “Perbacco” is an Italian word used to accentuate positive comments. It can be an expression of pleasure and surprise, as well as a reference to Bacchus, god of wine and symbol of revelry: “Wow” — which is also a good word to describe the menu at Perbacco, which features house-cured meats and salamis.

Chef Terje has created a menu rich with classical dishes yet at the same time utilizing all of the seasonal bounty available. Chef Terje and owner Umberto Gibin have been sharing their passion for the food and wine of Italy with Americans for nearly three decades.

The 6,000-square-foot restaurant is located on the ground floor of the historic 1912 Hind Building, the long narrow space having been transformed into a variety of “zones,” each with a sleek, modern feel, but retaining an old-world ambiance, complete with a marble-tiled floor and marble bar top and an original unfinished-brick wall that stretches down one side of the room. The floor-level dining room and the dining room on the mezzanine level have furnished mahogany chairs with rich, deep-red ostrich-patterned upholstery. The mezzanine tables have the added allure of serving as a theater, with windows to watch all of the action in the kitchen below. 

If you are in San Francisco’s financial district a visit to Perbacco is a must, to sample the daily changing menu and soak up the lively atmosphere from opening to closing.

Frankie Frankeny

About the chef: When asked why a Swedish-born chef would choose to open an authentic Italian restaurant, Staffan Terje replies, “Italian food is the food that talks to me. You don’t choose who you fall in love with. It just happens.” 

Raised on a farm outside of Stockholm, Staffan discovered his passion for food at an early age. After several years working in Stockholm and at prestigious restaurants all around Europe, he moved to Napa in 1986 and joined the original Piatti in Yountville, Napa Valley. Being in Napa brought back memories of his childhood on the farm. 

“At the restaurant we used produce from small farms and sometimes even people’s backyards ... the first Meyer lemons I ever used came from a neighbor’s tree,” he remembers. Inspired by the vast array of local products, he began to form the philosophy of sourcing ingredients from small farms that he still follows today. Promoted quickly, he was soon responsible for new restaurant openings, menu development and training. Other career highlights include a seven-year stint at San Francisco’s famed Scala’s Bistro and cooking at The James Beard House in New York City.

Perbacco                                            
230 California Street
San Francisco, CA  94111
415.955.0663
www.perbaccosf.com

Agnolotti Dal Plin is served at Perbacco for $15.

Recipe: Agnolotti Dal Plin (on this page)

Want to nominate your favorite restaurant dish for a “Steal This Recipe” feature? Just e-mail phil@supermarketguru.com with the name of the restaurant, city and state, and the dish you would like to have re-created. Want to know more about Phil and food? Visit his Web site at www.supermarketguru.com.

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Recipe: Agnolotti Dal Plin

Ingredients
  • For the dough
  • 3 cups Italian “00” flour or all-purpose flour
  • 5 whole large eggs, plus 5 egg yolks
  • For the filling
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary; leaves only
  • 2 pounds roasted veal shoulder or breast, chopped in food processor
  • 2 cups Savoy cabbage, cut into 1” pieces
  • 1/2 cup reduced veal or beef broth
  • 1 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preparation

Steal This Recipe® Step by Step Instructions for the Pasta: Sift and mound the flour in the center of a large wooden cutting board. Make a well in the middle of the flour and add the eggs. With a fork, beat together the eggs and begin to incorporate the flour, starting with the inner rim of the well.

As the well expands, continue pushing the flour up from the base of the mound to retain the well shape.

The dough will come together when half of the flour is incorporated. Start kneading the dough with both hands, using the palms of your hands.

Knead for about 15 minutes, adding any of the remaining flour if necessary to create a cohesive mass.

Once you have a cohesive mass, remove the dough from the board and scrape up and discard any leftover bits.

Lightly re-flour the board and continue kneading for 6 more minutes. The dough should be elastic and a little sticky.

Wrap the dough in plastic and allow to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature. In a 12-inch saucepan, add 1 tablespoon of butter over high heat until hot but not smoking.

Add the garlic and rosemary and let cook until the garlic is light golden brown; about 5 minutes. Add the veal, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Do not be afraid to let the meat begin to caramelize a bit.

Steal This Recipe® Step by Step Instructions for the Filling: In a fitted pot, melt butter and add Savoy cabbage and ¼ cup of water. Cover with a lid and cook until cabbage is very tender. Chop in food processor until almost smooth.

Let the veal cool to room temperature and place in a large mixing bowl.

Stir in the Parmigiano, cabbage, veal broth, a pinch of nutmeg and salt and pepper, to taste. Use a wooden spoon to mix until well combined. Set aside.

Cut the pasta dough into 3 equally sized pieces. Re-wrap 2 of the pieces in plastic wrap and set aside.

Begin working with the 1 unwrapped piece of dough. On a lightly floured work surface, use a floured rolling pin to roll out the pasta dough until it is 1/8-inch thick (you can also use a pasta machine and roll out the dough on its thinnest setting).

Lay the resulting pasta sheet on a lightly floured surface with a long side facing you. Trim the edges so they are straight.

Using a tablespoon scoop equally sized spoonfuls of the filling and place along the bottom half of the pasta sheet, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border of dough at the bottom and sides: Each dollop of filling should be approximately 1 ½ inches away from the next.

Pull the top edge of the pasta up and over the filling. The dough should form 1 large pocket over the dollops of filling.

Seal the agnolotti by gently and carefully molding the pasta over the filling and pressing lightly with your index finger to seal the edge of the dough to the pasta sheet; don't drag your finger along the dough to seal, or you risk ripping the dough.

When sealed, there should be about 1/2 inch of excess dough visible along the bottom of the mounds of filling (where you sealed it).

Be certain that you are sealing tightly while pressing out any pockets of air. Seal the left and right ends of the dough.

Steal This Recipe® Step by Step Instructions to Shape the Agnolotti:  Starting at one end of the dough, place the thumb and forefinger of each hand together as if you were going to pinch something and, leaving about 1 inch of space between your hands and holding your fingers vertically, pinch the filling in 1-inch increments, making about 3/4 inch of "pinched" area between each pocket of filling.

Run a sharp knife or crimped pastry wheel along the bottom edge of the folded-over dough, separating the strip of filled pockets from the remainder of the pasta sheet.

(Don't cut too close to the filling, or you risk breaking the seal.) Separate the individual agnolotti by cutting the center of each pinched area, rolling the pastry wheel away from you.

Working quickly, place the agnolotti on a baking sheet dusted with a thin layer of cornmeal, which will help prevent sticking. (Don't let the agnolotti touch.)

Repeat with the two remaining dough balls until the entire bowl of filling has been used. Let the shaped agnolotti rest for 24 minutes.

Steal This Recipe® Step by Step Instructions to Finish: Bring 6 quarts water to a rolling boil, and add 2 tablespoons salt.

Add the agnolotti to the water and cook until tender, about 4 minutes total. Drain well and toss with a sauce or ragu of your choice or a combination of beef broth and butter.

Sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano and serve.

Serving Size

Serves 8

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