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Corn Agnolotti with Chef Justin Purpura at Four Seasons Resort Maui

Updated: Aug 28, 2020

“Life is a combination of magic and pasta." - Federico Fellini

Agnolotti are flattened pieces of pasta dough folded over and filled — like small half-moon shaped ravioli.

They hail from the Piedmont (or Piemonte) region of northwestern Italy, which borders France and Switzerland and is famous for its Borolo wines and autumn truffles.

As food legend goes, the word agnolotti dates back to the 12th century. In a document from the time, it’s said that a Piemontese farmer gave his boss fresh foods and an exact number of agnolotti to please him.

It’s also said that when Italian dukes used to throw lavish feasts with massive quantities of roasted meats — there were always many leftovers. So, the following day post-feast, the meat was used for agnolotti dal plin.

Prior to our meeting with Chef Justin Purpura at Four Seasons Maui, we’d never seen homemade agnolotti come to life. There’s a romance to the rolling, the cutting, the piping, the forming. Chef Justin calls them the love letters and they're a dish he learned from his grandmother. He pipes his with sweet corn in the center, as it’s a natural thickening agent.

When we venture to Ferraro’s Bar e Ristorante that evening along Wailea Beach, the sun is setting, and Chef Justin’s love letters have been masterfully brought to life with mushroom and local lobster.

One bite — and the moment itself becomes our own Italian love letter — with a Hawaiian twist.

We were in Hawaii to document the Hawaii Food and Wine Festival, a program of the non-profit, Hawaii Ag and Culinary Alliance. The annual event takes place across three islands and proceeds serve to support the farmers, ranchers, and fishermen of Hawaii, as well local culinary colleges and agricultural education for children. To learn more about the upcoming festival, visit


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