There’s one thing I really can’t imagine living without: my glorious carbs. You could cut me off from meat and even chocolate (at least for a couple of weeks), but I can’t think of a week without any pasta, bread or potatoes. I just can’t. OK, maybe I could, but it would make me testy very, very sad!
Thank God we have friends who feel the same and the week we spent in Rome at Palazzo Vinoroma was nothing short of fantastic pasta dishes and open fire roasted bruschetta. Carb heaven. Not to forget the pizza bianca at Forno, pizza al taglio at 00100, the bread from Tricolore or from the tiny bakery near Sulmona (Abruzzo)… If that hasn’t already awakened your appetite, find more visual tidbits and impressions of Rome and Abruzzo here.
Back home I unpacked the delicacies we had bought and – of course – our pasta craving hadn’t slowed down a bit, so I decided to serve dinner guests homemade Tortellini. Or were these called Cappelletti? While I found different results on the web, my two favorite pastabiblesvoted for Cappelletti (meatless filling), but there is so much more background information to these little pasta bites, I wholeheartedly recommend both books. Even more so, if you consider yourself a pasta lover. Oh, and this recipe? Two thumbs up!
Prepare the pasta dough like I did for this recipe.
The filling: In a medium bowl combine the (drained) ricotta, the egg, olive oil, grated parmesan, lemon zest and spices. If you like your filling a bit chunkier, you can just finely chop basil and pine nuts, I ground them with pestle and mortar before adding them to the filling. Season to taste, if unsure season a little on the salty side, since the surrounding pasta tends to weaken the filling’s flavor. Chill covered.
Roll out the pasta dough into thin sheets – the thinner, the better (I proceeded to level 8, from 9, on my pasta machine), then cut the sheets into small squares (about 4,5 cm/1,7 in) – a ruler comes in very handy. Make sure to fill and shape only a couple of Cappelletti at a time, otherwise the pasta squares will quickly dry out, loose their elasticity and therefor crack when you try to shape them (covering them with a damp kitchen towel helps).
Filling and shaping the pasta needs a little patience and practice – consider yourself warned ;-) It takes a couple of trials to get the amounts for the filling right (I used a piping bag, try to resist the urge to overfill), then some more to produce some neatly shaped pasta and you will still be far from the finishing line… I could try to describe the process with my own words, but this video makes it look so easy! (I find it helpful to have a small bowl of water by the side, to dip my index finger into and wet the pasta where it is going to be sealed together.)
Cook the Cappelletti in a large pan of salted, slightly boiling water for 4-6 minutes (depending on size) until just al dente, then drain and serve. I cooked mine in an unbelievable fragrant chicken broth I had leftovers from, but they will taste equally great sautéed in a little butter.
Cappelletti with ricotta & pine nuts
Recipe source: own creation
Pasta dough, filling & shaping: 1-2 hour
Ingredients (roughly 100 Cappelletti) :
for the pasta dough:
200 g flour, preferably Italian Type 00
2 eggs (L)
optional: fine sea salt
optional: a little olive oil
for the filling:
1 egg (L)
1 tbsp olive oil
30-40g freshly grated Parmesan
lemon zest from 1 organic lemon
freshly ground black pepper, nutmeg, sea salt to taste
10g fresh basil
25g pine nuts
serve with: a hearty chicken broth or sautéed in butter