But what this is REALLY about is my friend Audrey is coming to dinner!
I think we have been friends 20 years now, we started as co-workers and managed to stay in touch as our paths in life diverged. Friends are such treasures! I have so few I cherish each one of them.
I started a couple of days ahead tackling the Agnolotti first because it was the scariest. I cut the ends off the potatoes and wrapped each in some foil with a bit of butter. Then I baked them until soft, removed the skin and put them through my food mill. While they were roasting I diced up some bacon and cooked it up to render the fat and drained it. The bacon, sweet potatoes, some butter, a bit of nutmeg and some Salt and Pepper all went into the pot. This mixture chilled in the fridge for a day.
See my hand shadows? It's the eensy-weensy spider!.
Next to the pasta. I've made pasta from scratch before but never by hand, I always used the mixer. They make it look so simple! Dump out your flour, create a well in the middle, add egg, egg yolks some olive oil and milk. Then you mix it with your fingers taking care not to break the wall of the well. Guess what? Not only did my well walls break, I had a flood. Nevertheless, I continued working it as best I could, bench scraping stray flour and trying to make it come together. No pictures of this as my hands were a doughy mess. Eventually I got it into a manageable ball and the kneading began... and lasted about 25 minutes.
After the dough rested in wrap in the fridge it was time to roll!
Once rolled out and translucent, I began to pipe the filling in. Some unexpected issues with the pastry bag aside, it all worked fine without using a tip. But boy, he wasn't kidding that this delicate dough will dry out on you! I was working as fast as I could and trying to follow the "pinch" directions; getting a little nervous, when I learned that my rolling crimper, in fact, did not crimp. We went to 2 stores to find this... Anyway I think the dough was too thin for the crimper edge, or else I got the wrong kind. SO! We end up with ugly agnolotti, no, wait we'll call them "rustic" that I pray will hold together in cooking, It still tasted lovely! Silver linings everywhere... They went into the freezer on a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal and later into a sealed freezer bag until dinner time.
So I assembled the chilled asparagus as detailed in the earlier post:
I made the sage cream-butter sauce, a mixture of blanched, chopped sage, creme fraiche and beurre monte, which I strained into a saucepan. Of course I cooked the agnolotti in salted water, and when one broke open Audrey called out "Man Down!" She cracks me up. I made a beurre noisette and had some fried tiny sage leaves and julienned prosciutto for garnish. The angoletti were'nt pretty to start with but all these goodies helped... like makeup I guess.
This was so so good. Textures and flavors, it was creamy and bacon-y and just all around decadent. I think this was my favorite dish of the night.
Next came the Chicken Schnitzels which are basically pounded butterflied chicken breats, coated in flour, egg, then panko and fried. They are topped with a butter sauce containing chopped parsley and lemon juice. (I left out the capers intentionally) Audrey threatened to post an unflattering comment on the blog if I burned her schnitzel, so I took great care with hers. She got the one shaped like a mushroom.
Finally for dessert we had Sally Schmidt's Apple Kuchen with blueberries. It's like a dense cake topped with fruit and a dusting of cinnamon sugar, then served with heated cream, sugar and butter. It was yummy!
We had a lovely evening with a dear friend which is the most important thing... we also shared some pretty good food. Thanks for joining us Audrey! I should have taken a picture of her so you could see how great her hair looked, and also know she isn't an imaginary friend. LOL
See you soon!
Love you, A~!