One of the memories I will always treasure is the memory of cappelletti (means little hat in Italian). It was a favorite food when we visited my Italian Great Grandmother. Homemade soup – the smells were wonderful and watching her cook was magical. The recipe was one that had been passed down within the family. When she passed away it was sad to me to think that we wouldn’t be having her homemade Italian dishes anymore. Thankfully, my parents had asked my Great Grandmother for the recipes so that they could written down. My Mom and Dad learned to cook them – pasta from scratch and everything! Now a favorite family activity when my brother comes down with his family is everyone helping to make this wonderful dish, kids and all! I think that is what makes this meal so special –yes, it very yummy,but the family memories associated with it will always be very special. I have been hunting for a family photo of us all eating but I haven’t found one. I guess we were all too busy eating to think to take a photo – lol!! Here is a recipe.
- 3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 5 large eggs
FILLING AND BROTH
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound ground chicken, preferably dark meat
- 1/4 pound ground pork loin
- 1 leafy sprig sage
- 1 leafy sprig rosemary
- 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup freshly grated Grana Padano cheese
- 1/4 cup fresh ricotta cheese
- 1 3/4 ounces crescenza or Taleggio cheese, finely chopped if using Taleggio
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
- Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- 6 cups homemade chicken broth or capon broth (see note)
FOR PASTA: In a large bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Mound flour mixture and form a well in the center. Add eggs to the well. Using a fork, gently break up yolks and slowly incorporate flour from inside rim of well. Continue until liquid is absorbed, then knead in bowl until dough forms a complete mass. Transfer to a well-floured work surface and knead for 3 to 4 minutes more. Wrap dough tightly in plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make filling.
FOR FILLING: In a large nonstick skillet, heat butter and oil over high heat until butter is melted. Add chicken, pork, sage, rosemary, salt and generous grinding of pepper; cook, stirring and breaking up meat into bits with a wooden spoon, until meat is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large plate and let cool to room temperature; remove and discard herbs. Stir in Grana Padano, ricotta and crescenza cheeses, along with egg, zest and nutmeg.
FOR CAPPELLETTI: Divide pasta dough into four pieces. Cover 3 pieces with plastic wrap. Flatten dough so that it will fit through the rollers of a hand-cranked pasta machine. Set rollers of pasta machine at the widest setting, then feed pasta through rollers 3 or 4 times, folding and turning pasta until it is smooth and the width of the machine. Roll pasta through machine, decreasing the setting one notch at a time (do not fold or turn pasta), until pasta sheet is about 1/16 inch thick. Cut sheets into 1 1/2-inch squares (keep dough, sheets and squares covered with a clean dish towel while rolling and cutting to avoid drying).
Place packed 1/4 teaspoon filling in center of each square. Fold diagonally opposite corners to meet each other to form the cappelletti. Keep cappelletti covered with a clean dishtowel until ready to cook. (The cappelletti can be prepared and frozen for up to 3 months. To freeze freshly made cappelletti, freeze them first on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Once frozen, transfer cappelletti to well-sealed, airtight plastic freezer bags and keep frozen until ready to cook. Do not defrost before cooking.)
TO SERVE: Bring broth to a low boil; avoid a rolling boil, which may cause the pasta to open up. In batches of 15 to 20, cook cappelletti in broth until tender, about 3 minutes (frozen pasta may take another minute or two longer).?Using a slotted spoon, transfer cappelletti to serving bowls. Ladle the hot broth over cappelletti and serve immediately.
Wishing everyone a very wonderful day!