Today’s post is totally dedicated to Rossella anf her blog event Cjalsòns 2010. So I leave her the task of introducing the recipe and the origins of these agnolotti, typical fresh filled pasta from Carnia (North East Italy):
Cjalsòns are a type of ravioli or pierogi typical of Carnia, the mountanous area of Friuli, better, to avoid discriminations, of Friuli Venezia Giulia. As any traditional dish, Cjalsòns lives thanks to adapation. Cjalsòns were made during special days, and being a food of the poor people, those that worked in the era of No Internet No party, every family tried to adapt it to her food availabilities.
Gianni Cosetti organized a contest among women living in Carnia con Cjalsòns. In this way, he collected among the 40 participants, 40 different recipes.
At the very beginning, I was convinced to make Cjalsòns rustic, already looking forward to a rich sausage filling, but then I kept coming back again and again to read the Cjalsòns Krofin from Timau recipe, so that eventually I decided to give them a try. I informed Rossella via Twitter that my version was not exactly orthodox, because I made some changes, removing for example cinnamon and raisins. Why? These agnolotti were supposed to be Claudia and Dad’s lunch on Saturday, but Claudia, given a look to the recipe, started with “raisins and cinnamon… the only two things that I just can’t eat.” Great. And now? Well, keeping intact the outer fresh pasta dough – very simple and good -, I played over the filling, using as a sweetener a heaping tablespoon of truffle honey (honey, brandy and white truffle) instead of sugar. Besides than sweetening, this kind of fabulous honey had the task to give a distinctive aroma to the dish, replacing the absence of cinnamon and raisins. As little treat and surprise, instead of raisins, a piece of walnut laid over the filling just before sealing the agnolotto.
Below, you can find the original Cjalsòn Krofin di Timau recipe as from Rossella’s decument: you can notice all my additions (writen in blu) or substitutions.
Pasta dough ingredients:
- 250 g flour 00
- lukewarm water
- a pinch of salt
- 1 egg to brush
- 300 g potatoes
- 1 red onion
- 50 g butter
- 20 g cinnamon
- 100 g raisins
- 100 g sugar
- a handful of shelled walnuts
- 1 heaping tablespoon truffle honey
- grated lemon zest
- a pinch of salt and pepper
- a pinch of dried mint
- 80 g salted butter
- 100 g smoked ricotta
- 100 g Parmesan cheese
Make the dough: mix flour with water and salt and knead for at least 10 minutes until soft and velvety, then let it rest for about 20 minutes.
Make the filling: thinly slice onion and sautée with butter until tender and throughly cooked. Boil the potatoes, mash them through a sieve and mix with sauteed onion, truffle honey, mint and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper.
Roll out the dough with a rolling pin, cut out 7 cm wide circles, place a tablespoon of filling in the middle of each dough circle and place on top a piece of shelled walnut.
Brush pasta circles with a beaten egg, fold dough circles in half, making sure all filling stays inside and pinch/seal circles to make a half moon shape. Use a fork for a neat result.
Place cjalsòns in boiling salted water and let them cook until they float to the surface. Remove with a slotted spoon, place them in a hot pan and then toss with melted salted butter and grated Parmesan cheese.
Tasting test. Although non-traditional, these cjalsòns have totally respected a tradition, that is do with what you have, a characteristic of the good old housewives, when, if you wanted to make a dish, you couldn’t run to the local supermarket every time you needed an ingredient. You just opened the cupboard and the pantry, and from there on it was all up to you and your imagination. This was exactly what I did! The result is a chain of flavors that conquer you, agnolotto after agnolotto: truffles comes first, intense and strong, then lemon zest follows, tart and refreshing. The sweetness of honey is the reassuring background, made vibrant with mint notes. On the very bottom, potatoes and onion, so delicious when sauteed in butter. The icing on the cake is the walnut piece, that gives a crispy and unexpected touch.