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Friday, March 16, 2012

Number 42: Perbacco's Agnolotti dal Plin

Posted By on Fri, Mar 16, 2012 at 3:40 PM

Perbacco's agnolotti al plin, $13 small / $18 entree - IANN IVY
  • Iann Ivy
  • Perbacco's agnolotti al plin, $13 small / $18 entree
SFoodie's countdown of our favorite 50 things to eat and drink, 2012 edition


The best pasta dishes -- like Perbacco's agnolotti dal plin ("pinched" agnolotti), for instance -- embody numerous contradictions: the minimalist and the orgiastic, the peasant-like and the ethereal. 

Chef Staffan Terje's pasta pockets, which look like stubby little ravioli, are tossed in a few spoonfuls of a ragu and dusted with Parmesan. They arrive in an oversized bowl, which makes them look wan and insubstantial. 

 Spear one on your fork and bring it up for a closer look, and you notice the translucence of the crinkle-edged pasta, how it looks and feels little more substantial than tissue. And when you bite in, braised veal and its juices spill out, and the cabbage the meat is mixed with turns out to have been sautéed until soft and sweet. That subdued gloss of sauce on the agnolotti proves far more vibrant than it looks, bolstered by the umami-spike of just a few flecks of Parmesan clinging to the pasta's surface. 

It's possible to examine each agnolotto like that and still find yourself, with an empty bowl set before you, marveling over just how simple -- and elaborate -- the dish is.

Perbacco: 230 California (at Front), 955-0663,

Other favorites in this series:

43: Iced coffee from Sightglass

44: Cypress Grove's Purple Haze Chevre

45: Lechon from Tastebuds Cuisine

46: Duck with beets from AQ

47: Tai nigiri at ICHI Sushi

48: Fish with explosive chiles from Spices! 

49: Baker & Banker Bakery's blueberry cream cheese muffin
50: Kufta tajine from Cafe Zitouna

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Follow me at @JonKauffman.

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