Liguria is a mountainous region on the north Italian Riviera, and is renowned around the world for its cuisine. The Riviera conjures up images of fine dining on boats and in restaurants but this area also boasts centuries of culinary tradition in the homes of the region’s locals.
Today we’re focusing on pansotti – a triangular pasta shape with deep roots in Ligurian tradition. Much like casunziei, pansotti hark back to times where foraging was a day-to-day practice. The most common filling is prebuggion, a mix of Ligurian wild herbs including nettles, dandelions, and chicory. These are mixed with prescinsêua, a fresh local cheese known for its yoghurt-like consistency. This delicate and creamy cheese offsets the earthy bitterness of the herbs.
Since these ingredients are somewhat exclusive to the Riviera, spinach, chard and ricotta are suitable substitutes. Pansotti are traditionally served with a luxurious walnut pesto known as salsa di noci. This pesto stands out for its velvety texture and nutty aroma. This is achieved by combining Sorrento walnuts with garlic, herbs and a splash of milk, followed by a dusting of Parmigiano Reggiano. To make this pesto for yourself, follow our simple recipe.
Preparation Time: 1 hour (not including resting time for pasta dough)
Calories per serving: 430 kcal
For the pasta:
- 400g ‘00’ Flour (plus more for work surface)
- 4 large eggs
Chef’s tip: When you make fresh pasta, it's always 1 egg and 100 grams of flour per person – so it’s easy to scale this recipe up or down.
For the filling:
- 50g chard
- 100g spinach
- 1 handful fresh parsley
- 1 handful fresh chervil (French parsley)
- 50g ricotta
- 10g Parmigiano Reggiano
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Follow along with our Head Chef Roberta as she makes pasta dough in the video below, or check out the step-by-step recipe.
Making the dough:
- On a clean work surface or large wooden board, pile the flour into a mound.
- Make a well in the centre of the mound large enough for the 2 eggs.
- Beat the egg mixture with the fork, slowly pulling the flour from the sides of the well until the egg has all been absorbed by the flour. As the mixture thickens, start using your hands to continue incorporating the flour.
- If needed, drizzle a small amount of warm water and continue mixing until you have a ball of dough.
- Lightly flour your clean work surface, then knead the dough by pressing the heel of one hand into the ball, keeping your fingers high.
- Press down on the dough while pushing it firmly away from you. The dough should stretch and roll under your hand.
- Turn the dough over, then press into the dough with your knuckles, one hand at a time. This process should be carried out around 10 times.
- Form the dough back into a ball and repeat the stretching and knuckling process, using more flour if needed to prevent any stickiness.
- Repeat the process for about 10-20 minutes until the dough is smooth and silky and then roll the dough into a smooth ball.
- Place the dough in a small bowl and cover with a tea towel, leave to rest for an hour at room temperature – now is a good time to prepare your filling.
- Lightly flour your surface and cut your dough ball in half so that you have two even pieces. Shape the first piece of dough into a rough circle.
- With a rolling pin, begin rolling out the dough, starting in the centre and rolling away from you to the outer edge.
- Turn the dough a quarter-turn, and repeat, working your way around, until the sheet of dough is 1/8 inch thick. Scatter a small amount of flour on the dough whenever it starts to stick to the surface or the rolling pin. You now have your sheet of pasta dough. Repeat with the second piece of dough.
Filling the pasta:
- Blanch the chard for about 3 minutes and then drain, squeezing out as much of the liquid as possible before roughly chopping and placing in a bowl.
- Wilt the spinach over heat and squeeze out as much water as possible before chopping and adding to the bowl.
- Stir in the ricotta and the chopped herbs, Parmesan and lemon zest. Mix everything together.
- Season the mixture with salt, pepper and nutmeg and a little of the lemon juice, be careful not to make the mixture too runny.
- Lay one of your sheets of your pasta dough flat on the work surface and place spoonfuls of the filling at regular intervals.
- When all the filling is used up, place the second sheet of pasta on top of the first.
- Carefully press down around the filling to seal the pansotti and remove any air bubbles.
- Use a pasta wheel, or a knife if you don't have one, to cut the pansotti into triangular shapes.
Cooking the pasta:
- Bring a large pan of generously salted water to the boil and add your pasta, then cook for 3 minutes.
- When the pasta is ready, transfer to the walnut pesto and toss gently to coat.
- Finally, plate up your pansotti and sprinkle with a little parsley to serve. Buon appetito!