I’m developing a (healthy) obsession with homemade, handmade pasta.  Pasta like an Italian grandmother would make, made with much patience, care, and love.  So, instead of chocolates or sweet treats, this is what I made for my special someone on Valentine’s Day — like the old saying goes, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”

This particular pasta shape is called cappelletti, which fittingly means “little hats” in Italian.  I like to think of cappelletti as little pillows of delicious goodness.  Cappelletti are often filled with meat and bathed in chicken or capon (aka rooster) broth, but I went vegetarian today.

I stuffed the cappelletti with a combination of Taleggio (a semi-soft, washed rind, smear-ripened, cow’s milk, Italian cheese), Ricotta, and Parmesan-Reggiano, garlic, shallot, lemon zest, and fresh thyme, and served them in a Parmesan brodo (recipe and post for the Parmesan brodo to follow shortly).

The cappelletti have just the right texture and chew.  And when you bite into them, you get a delightful burst of cheese.  It’s the perfect way to start a meal (primi or first course).  Cappelletti freeze well and can go straight from the freezer into a pot of salted boiling water.

Once you try your hand at making homemade pasta, you may get hooked too.

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For the pasta, you’ll need plenty of eggs, flour (used 00 flour), water, salt, and olive oil…

You can use a food processor or KitchenAid mixer to mix the dough, but if you want to go old-school, like an Italian grandmother would do, all you need to do is put some elbow grease into it.


Cappelletti = “little hats” in Italian.
 

To form the Cappelletti:

Roll out the dough very thin (second to the last setting on my KitchenAid pasta attachment).  Cut out 2″ rounds, mist gently with water (using a spray bottle), and pipe the filling (about one teaspoon of filling per round).

Next, it’s time to shape them:

1. Fold the round in half, to form a half moon, pressing out as much air as possible
2. Position the half moon so that the curved part is facing you and the straight part is facing away from you.  Bring the edges together and pinch to seal (refer to photos below for guidance).

And voila, homemade cappelletti…

Cappelletti is traditionally served in a broth.  I served mine in a Parmesan brodo (brodo is the Italian word for broth).  Recipe and post for the Parmesan brodo to follow in the coming days.

 

Cappelletti Filling

1/2 pound Taleggio
1/2 pound Ricotta
1/3 cup grated Parmesan-Reggiano
1 small garlic clove, minced (~1 teaspoon)
1 small shallot, minced (~2 teaspoons)
pinch of chile flakes
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon zest (~ 1/2 lemon)
salt and pepper to taste

Place all the ingredients in a food processor.  Pulse until well combined.  Place the mixture in a piping bag.

Rav Dough

Adapted from Flour + Water by Thomas McNaughton
2 cups (360 grams) 00 flour
1 teaspoon (5 grams) kosher salt
2 large eggs (100 grams)
5 to 6 egg yolks (90 grams)
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil

Mix the flour and salt.  Place the flour on a dry, clean work surface, forming a mound.  Create a well in the middle (with the bottom of a measuring cup).

Slowly add the eggs, egg yolks, and olive oil.  With a fork, gently beat the eggs, be careful not to disturb the walls of the flour.  Slowly begin to incorporate the flour, starting with the inner rim of the well, into the egg mixture.  Continue mixing the flour with the eggs until you have a solid mass.

At this point, with your hands, start folding and forming the dough, incorporating the rest of the flour. Use a spray bottle to spritz and moisten the dough until you have a stiff, solid mass (removing any dry clumps of flour).

Knead the dough.  Drive the heel of your hand into the dough, rotate the dough 45 degrees and repeat for 10-15 minutes, until the dough is firm and bouncy and smooth, silk-like in texture.  Tightly wrap the dough in plastic and let rest 30 minutes.

To form the Cappelletti

Roll out the dough very thin (second to the last setting on my KitchenAid pasta attachment).  Cut out 2″ rounds, mist gently with water (with a spray bottle), and pipe the filling (about a teaspoon per round).

Next, it’s time to shape them:

1. Fold the round in half, to form a half moon, pressing out as much air as possible
2. Position the half moon, so that the curved part is facing you, the straight part away from you. Bring the edges together and pinch to seal (refer to photos below for guidance).

Place the cappelletti on a sheet pan sprinkled with semolina to prevent sticking.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.  Drop in the cappelletti and cook (about 2 minutes) until al dente.

Buon appetito!

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5 comments

Reply

These Cappelletti are gorgeous! I can't get over how you've perfectly formed each one. Awesome work and fabulous photographs!

Reply

Hey Stephen, how the heck are you? Recipe is in the post. Adapted from the Flour and Water Cookbook. I used 2 cups 00 flour and 2 large eggs.

Reply

Hey Stephen, how the heck are you? Recipe is in the post. Adapted from the Flour and Water Cookbook. I used 2 cups 00 flour and 2 large eggs.

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