16 December 2013

Culurgiones with Brown Butter

A lot of my news reading these days is through RSS (I use Feedly). It's a quick and convenient way to zip through hundreds of websites in a short period of time. When something jumps out at me, I'll go to the originating website and read the article in full. Thus I discovered the obscure deliciousness of Sardinian culurgiones. In the article on TastingTable.com, Philadelphia chef Adam Leonti admits that he had to use YouTube to figure out the technique for making these little potato dumplings. Frankly, I don't think I could have accomplished anything remotely like the finished product without watching his video demonstrating the process.

There have been many times in my life when I've been entranced by a beautiful picture in a cookbook or magazine and then had to stare sadly at a poor, deformed imitation, or worse, flames erupting from the oven. My white whale is still the magnificent croquembouche. But through diligence and effort I have taught myself to make things that stymied a younger Benito, and considering my recent success with homemade pasta, I decided to give this a shot.

The recipe is fairly simple but there are some challenges. The dough is made without eggs, oil, or other proteins, though I found that it was remarkably easy to work with using the little hand-cranked pasta machine. The filling is ridiculously simple, although I don't think I've ever had potatoes, cheese, and mint in the same dish together. And making brown butter and shaving some Pecorino over the finished dish? No sweat.

The final product was delicious, though I will admit that my dumpling-making skills are somewhat lacking. This was the only one that looked good even though I made three dozen. Watch out for stacking the circles of cut dough, as they will stick together and by the end you can't separate them. If you're not looking to impress anyone, you might as well just crimp the edges with a fork, in effect making pierogies. It's great to make a thing of beauty, but the little pinch-and-twist trick takes some work and I had difficulty repeating it. I enjoyed the dumplings with thin slices of steak and a salad, and the dough is so easy to make that I'm considering exploring other stuffed pastas and Asian equivalents.

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