Chefs' Recipes

Al Dente's potato, pancetta and caramelised onion mezzalune

A filled-pasta wonder from the Melbourne enoteca.

By Andrea Vignali & Davide Bonadiman
  • 1 hr 10 mins preparation
  • 50 mins cooking
  • Serves 6
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"We actually came up with this recipe when we had a lot of potatoes on hand, and really tuned into our cucina povera (poor cooking) heritage – making something out of nothing," says Davide Bonadiman of Melbourne's Al Dente.

Ingredients

Filling
  • 700 gm Desiree potatoes (about 3), peeled, 2 cut into 3cm pieces and 1 cut into 5mm pieces
  • 150 gm pancetta, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 3 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp white wine
  • 1 bunch chives, finely chopped
  • 150 gm Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg

Method

  • 1
    Make pasta dough and sheets according to Al Dente's recipe.
  • 2
    Place 2 potatoes (cut into 3cm pieces) in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil over high heat, reduce heat and simmer until tender (10 minutes). Drain, transfer to a large bowl and mash.
  • 3
    For filling, heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until fat renders and pancetta begins to crisp (4 minutes), then transfer pancetta to mashed potatoes with a slotted spoon. Add chopped 5mm potato pieces to the pan with rendered fat and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly golden; drizzle in extra olive oil if needed (5 minutes). Transfer potato to mashed potato and pancetta mixture. Add olive oil and onion to the pan, cover with a lid and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion has caramelised (20 minutes). Add wine to the pan and reduce by three-quarters then remove from heat. Transfer to mash and pancetta mixture. Add three-quarters of the chives with Parmigiano-Reggiano, parsley and nutmeg; season to taste and stir until just combined (do not overwork).
  • 4
    Working with one sheet of pasta at a time, using a 10cm-round fluted cutter, cut rounds from sheet (discard scraps). Place in a single layer on a tray dusted with extra semolina. Cover until ready to use. Repeat with remaining sheets. Spoon 1 tbsp (15gm) of filling onto each round.
  • 5
    To fold mezzalune, working with one pasta round at a time, lightly brush edges with water, fold in half to enclose and press edges to seal, ensuring no air is trapped inside. Repeat with remaining pasta rounds and filling. Makes 44.
  • 6
    To cook mezzalune, fill a large saucepan three-quarters full with salted water and bring to the boil over high heat. Add pasta and return to the boil and cook, stirring gently, until pasta is cooked (4 minutes). Drain and set aside.
  • 7
    Meanwhile, heat a large deep non-stick frying pan over low heat. Add butter and stock with remaining chives; season to taste and stir to combine. Working quickly, strain pasta and add to pan; season to taste and toss gently to coat. Divide mezzalune among bowls, spoon over chive-butter sauce and serve scattered with Parmigiano-Reggiano and crisp pancetta.