Quench Magazine’s editor-in-chief Gurvinder Bhatia recently hosted a live online event featuring the wines of Italy’s Elena Walch winery. Wine lovers from across Canada Zoomed in for the event while enjoying the wines of Elena Walch and live Q&A with Elena’s daughter Karoline Walch, now the 5thgeneration of the family to run the winery, who Zoomed in from northern Italy’s Trentino-Alto Adige region.
Also part of the event was a cooking demo from Chef Daniel Costa, owner/chef of Corso32, Bar Bricco & Uccellino, a few of Canada’s finest Italian restaurants located in Edmonton, Alberta. Chef Costa prepared a pasta dish inspired by Alto Adige. Chef Costa has shared the recipe for the pasta dish he prepared along with his notes on the Elena Walch wines tasted during the event.
Smoked Potato Mezzelune with Butter, Cabbage & Chives
Italy is made up of 20 regions, each of which are incredibly diverse in dialect, climate and cuisine. When describing the vast difference in dishes between regions, I like the comparison of eating tagliolini pasta with butter and white truffles in Piemonte and couscous with heavily spiced fish broth in Sicily. In a culinary sense, “Italian” cuisine as a whole does not exist: each region has their own ingredients, methods and historical influences.
Although Italy is in fact a fairly young unified country (1861), Trentino-Alto Adige is a more recent addition. Previously part of the Austrian empire, Alto Adige joined the country of Italy in 1919 and held much of its Germanic traditions and recipes. Smoked meats, Spätzle and Goulash are all traditional dishes found throughout the region, most of which are hearty and rich in order to accommodate the Dolomite climate and lifestyle.
This recipe is inspired by the traditional stuffed pasta, Schlutzkrapfen, found throughout South Tyrol. Although there are many variations, Schlutzkrapfen is traditionally filled with potatoes, spinach, quark, nutmeg and onions and likely served with a sauce of butter, speck and chives. My variation is minimal, however I love the addition of lightly smoked potatoes with creamy leeks and cabbage which gives another depth of flavour and texture.
This recipe is absolutely delicious without smoking the potatoes however, if you are feeling ambitious, I suggest trying.
Makes approximately 50 mezzelune
For the pasta dough
200 grams of “00” flour
100 grams of red fife flour
3 whole eggs
3 egg yolks
For the filling
Hickory wood chips (optional)
2 medium yukon gold potatoes, boiled with the skin on in salted boiling water until tender
1 medium leek, thinly sliced and thoroughly rinsed
¼ head of savoy cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
2 fresh sage leaves
3 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 tablespoon of kosher salt
1 cup of quark cheese
¾ cup of mascarpone cheese
2 cups of grated grana padano cheese
For the sauce
8 knobs of unsalted butter
4 sage leaves
2 cups thinly sliced Savoy cabbage
½ cup of finely sliced chives
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
For the pasta dough
- Place the flour, followed by the eggs in a mixer, knead with a dough hook until fully combined. Continue kneading on low speed for 4 minutes. Alternatively place the flour in a food processor mix on low speed and add the eggs and yolks 1 at a time, remove the dough and knead by hand for 5 minutes. Wrap the kneaded dough tightly with plastic wrap and allow it to rest for 30 minutes before using.
For the filling
- Allow the cooked potatoes to cool slightly before peeling. Prepare a smoker with hickory wood chips. Place the peeled potatoes in the smoker for 20 minutes.
- Using a ricer, food mill or fork, finely mash the potatoes and place in a medium sized mixing bowl along with the quark, mascarpone and grana padano.
- Heat the butter in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks, cabbage, sage and salt. Gently fry until tender. Discard the sage leaves.
- Add the hot, cooked leek and cabbage to the bowl of potatoes and cheese. Mix well to fully combine. Season to taste with salt.
To assemble the mezzelune
- Beat the egg in a small bowl and set aside.
- Cut the dough into 3 pieces, rewrap 2 of the pieces in the plastic wrap. On a well floured work surface, with a rolling pin, roll the dough into a rectangle until ¼ “ thick. Starting at the widest setting, roll the dough through a pasta sheeter. Continue this process narrowing the width of the sheeter each time until you reach the 2nd thinnest setting. Ensure to lightly flour the dough between each roll.
- This step requires you to work fairly quickly to ensure the dough does not dry out and crack: Using a pastry brush gently brush away any excess flour from the upside of the sheeted dough. Using a water glass cut the dough into approximately 3”x 3” circles. Brush half of the circle with the beaten egg and dollop approximately 1 ½ tablespoons of filling in the centre. Fold the circle over and press down the to seal the sheets to form a half moon. Place the mezzelune on a well floured tray and place in the fridge, covered, until ready for use or up to 6 hours in advance. Repeat this process with the remaining 2 pieces of dough.
For the sauce and finishing
- Heat the butter, salt and sage over medium-high heat in a large frying pan. Once the butter is melted, remove the pan from the heat.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Gently add the mezzelune and cabbage to the boiling water and allow to simmer for 2 – 3 minutes or until floating for 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon pull the mezzelune and cabbage directly from the simmering water to the pan of melted butter. Swirl in the chopped chives. Serve immediately topped with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano and freshly cracked black pepper. Serve immediately.
Chef Costa’s thoughts on the Elena Walch wines tasted during the event:
Elena Walch Pinot Bianco 2019 ($32)
A fresh and elegant wine with delicate minerality and notes of green apple. Enjoy lightly chilled with fresh cheese driven dishes such as the mezzelune recipe.
Elena Walch Schiava 2019 ($30)
A bright, elegant, and fruity wine with light acidity and tannin. I enjoy Schiava slightly chilled as an aperitivo along with salumi and various crostini such as char grilled radicchio and speck.
Elena Walch Lagrein 2019 ($36)
A deep rich coloured wine with aromas of wild berries and spice. Pair with roasted or stewed game such as a slowly simmered ragu of venison.
Chef Daniel Costa is the chef/owner of Corso32, Bar Bricco and Uccellino located in Edmonton, Alberta