Not so much a stunty come-on as a why-has-no-one-done-this-before variation on a dumpling theme — and a pretty spectacular one at that — Red Paper Clip’s XLB agnolotti is a dish whose time has come. The goal, as the name suggests, is to reimagine a Piedmont pasta ripiena as a Shanghai soup dumpling, a.k.a. xiao long bao, and it’s remarkable how seamlessly it works. Pork is minced and seasoned with aromatics, soy sauce, Shanxi vinegar, and black truffle, then mingled with gelatinized pork-bone broth, rolled into mini-balls, and stuffed into housemade pasta wrappers that would do a Piedmontese grandma proud. When the agnolotti are boiled, the gelled broth liquefies right on cue just like in an XLB. It’s true that the amount of soup you get in an XLB agnolotto is nothing compared to an actual XLB, and that purists may miss the ritual of nibbling off a piece of dough and cautiously slurping the hot broth from the hole. But the beauty of an XLB agnolotto is that you can pop the whole thing in your mouth like an M&M without fear of the dreaded XLB splatter.
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On the menu at Red Paper Clip; $21; 120 Christopher St., nr. Bedford St.; 646-596-7476
*This article appears in the August 5, 2019, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!