Chefs' Recipes

Casoncelli alla Bergamasca (the Al Dente way)

The Melbourne eatery's take on the filled pasta of Bergamo.

By Andrea Vignali & Davide Bonadiman
  • 45 mins preparation
  • 20 mins cooking
  • Serves 6
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"Casoncelli alla Bergamasca is a really traditional pasta from Bergamo in northern Italy," says Andrea Vignali of Melbourne's Al Dente. "There are a lot of renditions of this dish but this is our way. It's warming, flavoursome, and, like all of our pastas, the ultimate comfort food."

Ingredients

  • 1 quantity Al Dente's pasta dough
  • 200 gm butter
  • 1 cup mixed herbs such as rosemary, sage and oregano, leaves picked
Filling
  • 100 gm fine breadcrumbs from day-old crustless sourdough
  • 100 ml milk
  • 150 gm pancetta, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped sage
  • 300 gm minced veal
  • 2 tbsp white wine
  • 1 pear, cored, finely chopped
  • 100 gm finely grated Grana Padano, plus extra to serve
  • 1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Method

  • 1
    Make pasta dough and sheets according to Al Dente's pasta dough recipe).
  • 2
    For filling, place breadcrumbs in a bowl with milk and soak until absorbed. Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add pancetta and cook, stirring frequently, until crisp (4 minutes). Transfer to paper towel to drain, then add to bowl with soaked breadcrumbs. Add onion, garlic and sage to the pan and cook until softened. Add minced veal and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned (6 minutes). Add wine and pear and cook, tossing until pear has softened (2 minutes), then add Grana Padano and parsley; season to taste and toss to combine (it is important to do this while hot). Transfer veal mixture to bowl with breadcrumb mixture and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate until cooled.
  • 3
    Working with one sheet of pasta at a time, using a 8cm-square cutter, cut squares from sheet. Place in a single layer on a tray dusted with extra semolina. Cover until ready to use. Repeat with remaining pasta sheets. Spoon 15gm filling onto each square.
  • 4
    To fold casoncelli, working with one piece of pasta at a time, lightly brush edges with water, fold in half to enclose and press edges to seal, ensuring no air is trapped inside. Taking the two corners at the edge of the square, fold upwards, so the curve of the square acts as the base for the middle, filled section. Push down lightly to secure, and then, lightly press your index finger into the middle of the filling, to create a little bonbon shape. Repeat with remaining pasta and filling. Makes 44.
  • 5
    To cook casoncelli, fill a large saucepan three-quarters full with salted water and bring to the boil over high heat. Add pasta, in batches if necessary, and return to the boil and cook, stirring gently, until pasta is cooked (3-4 minutes). Drain and reserve 125ml pasta water.
  • 6
    Meanwhile, heat a large deep non-stick frying pan over high heat. Add butter and herbs and cook, swirling pan occasionally, until it begins to foam (3 minutes). Remove herbs with a slotted spoon and add reserved pasta water. Working quickly, strain pasta and add to the pan. Season to taste and toss gently to coat. Divide casoncelli among bowls, spoon over burnt butter and scatter with mixed herbs and extra Grana Padano.