Francesca’s Italian Kitchen provides excellent, affordable Italian food. Located in Wanaka and now Christchurch, Francesca’s have a wood-fired pizza oven, and strive to create authentic Italian pizzas and classic dishes from across Italy. Style talks to executive chef and part-owner James Stapley about his love of food from the boot-shaped region, and he shares with us one of his favourite recipes.
Beetroot Agnolotti with Nut Brown Sage Butter and Poppy Seeds
by Francesca’s Italian Kitchen
Ingredients: Pasta Dough
600g ‘00’ Flour
6 free-range eggs
1½ tsp salt
3 Tbsp olive oil
On a bench, make a well with the flour. In a bowl, whisk the eggs with the salt and the olive oil and then add to the flour well. Use a fork to work the eggs into the flour until it forms a dough. Knead the dough for 15-20 minutes. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for 1 hour minimum, or overnight if you want to make it the next day.
5 medium beets
3 cloves of garlic (peeled and crushed to a puree)
50g goat’s cheese
100g Reggiano, finely grated
5g salt, 2g cracked black pepper
20 large, fresh basil leaves, chopped
Ingredients: Nut Brown Sage Butter
1 cup of freshly picked sage leaves
250g salted butter
1 Tbsp poppy seeds
Roast the beetroot in foil at 180°C for 45 minutes. Allow to cool then peel. Add the cooled beets to a blender together with all of the other ingredients and blend until very smooth, 30 seconds-1 minute. Cook the butter and sage in a saucepan, stirring all the time, over a low to medium heat, until the butter is nut brown in colour and smells nutty, and the sage is crispy. Set aside until needed.
Using a pasta machine, roll the pasta dough to the thinnest setting so that you have a long, thin strip of pasta. Put the beetroot mix into a piping bag. Pipe the beetroot mix all the way down the length of
the pasta strip. Brush one length of the pasta with a little water so it will stick together and then roll it over onto itself so that it resembles a ‘sausage roll’ shape. Use a small piece of dowling to make indentations along the filled strip to divide it into small pieces. Run a knife to cut along the divides and make a little agnolotti shape. Cook for 3 minutes,
in boiling salted water. While the pasta is cooking warm the sage butter
through and finish with the poppy seeds just before you remove the pan from the heat. Place the agnolotti on a serving dish and spoon over the sage butter. Drizzle a small amount of vincotto (or balsamic vinegar) over the top and a light shaving of parmesan cheese, and serve immediately.