THE CHEF: MELISSA RODRIGUEZ
Her Restaurants: Mel’s, in New York City; Al Coro and Discolo, both soon to open, also in Manhattan
What She’s Known For: Italian cooking with finesse. Technical command in the service of inviting flavor combinations.
SIX WEEKS AGO, Melissa Rodriguez opened her restaurant Mel’s, in Manhattan. Centered around a wood-burning oven, the intimate space is quite different from the sprawling one next door, housing sister restaurant Al Coro, set to open in a few months. “I’m stretched thin,” Ms. Rodriguez said.
A dish she’s been developing for Al Coro inspired this recipe, her first for Slow Food Fast: tender triangular parcels of fresh pasta with a potato, fontina and mascarpone filling, finished with nutty browned butter and grated Parmesan.
While Ms. Rodriguez makes her pasta from scratch, here she streamlines things for the home cook, calling for store-bought sheets of fresh lasagna. Be sure to rice or grate the cooked potatoes while they’re still warm. “You don’t want chunks of whole potato,” Ms. Rodriguez said. “The feeling should be luscious when you bite into it.” Imagine what a pleasure that will be, on an evening when you, too, are stretched thin.
—Kitty Greenwald is a chef, food writer and the co-author of ‘Slow Fires’ (Clarkson Potter)
To explore and search through all our recipes, check out the WSJ Recipes page.
Chef Melissa Rodriguez has been developing this dish for her new restaurant Al Coro, featuring tender triangular parcels of fresh pasta with a potato, fontina and mascarpone filling, finished with nutty browned butter and grated Parmesan.
- Kosher salt
- 2 small Yukon Gold potatoes
- ⅓ cup mascarpone
- ¼ pound fontina
- 1 whole egg and 1 beaten egg
- 6-8 fresh lasagna sheets, about 12 by 6 inches
- Olive oil, for greasing pan
- 8 tablespoons butter
- Parmesan, finely grated
- Fill a large pot with salted water and bring to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, place potatoes in a small pot filled with salted water. Set pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Cook until potatoes are fork-tender, about 15 minutes. Strain and toss dry.
- When potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel. Working over a bowl, pass warm potatoes through a ricer or grate on medium holes of a box grater. Stir in mascarpone. Break up any clumps so mixture is completely smooth. Grate fontina on medium holes of box grater and stir into potato mixture along with 1 whole egg until fully combined. Season with salt.
- Cut sheets of pasta into triangles so short sides are each about 3 inches long. Brush outer edges with beaten egg. Spoon about 1 tablespoon potato mixture into center of half the pasta triangles. Top stuffed triangles with remaining triangles. Use the tines of a fork to crimp edges together to completely seal.
- Working in batches to avoid crowding, carefully drop stuffed pasta into large pot of boiling water. Once each triangle floats up and bobs at water’s surface for about 1 minute, use a slotted spoon to fish it out and transfer to a sheet pan slicked with olive oil.
- While pasta boils, melt butter in a medium pan over medium-low heat. Once butter turns golden brown and smells nutty, after 3-5 minutes, remove pan from heat.
- Arrange warm pasta on 4 plates and pour browned butter overtop. Top with finely grated Parmesan and serve immediately.
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Appeared in the April 30, 2022, print edition as ‘Fontina-Potato Stuffed Pasta With Brown Butter and Parmesan.’