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Cappelletti with Parmesan and breadcrumbs… I’m a fresh pasta maniac!

Cappelletti di magro

Tuesday the 1st of February was Juls’ Kitchen second blogiversary.

In these two years I discovered how essential is to blog for me – I would say almost vital – although I had never written a diary before, except for brief moments while I was suffering from a mild form of graphomania.

I discovered that, along sophisticated recipes made with unusual ingredients and preparations, I wanted to find my culinary roots in Tuscany and Lucania, with the help of my family.

I found out that I like photography, as well as cooking: time to confess a deep fondness for colourful paper napkins and white dishes and bowls, along with a primitive, almost pagan, reverence for light.

I discovered that I love writing more than I remembered, both in Italian and in English: it is my favourite manner to to fix not only recipes, but also moments, thoughts, stories and memories, myself into words.

I discovered that through these pages you can make true and very important friendships, because a shared passion gets people together and deletes distance (and RyanAir helps, too!)

I discovered that my favourite thing to make, being it early morning in a kitchen softened by the first daylight or a slow drowsy afternoon, is fresh pasta. Grandma taught me the basics, the movements and the patience. Grandma lent me indefinitely the pasta maker to roll out pasta, the very same pasta maker that my grandad gave her more than twenty years ago. Now, grandma looks at me proudly when I roll out the fresh pasta and says: you’re very good in making fresh pasta, dear! but now it’s time for you to learn how to make cream puffs as well. You’re not yet good enough in baking them!

Cappelletti di magro

A few weeks ago, when I published the recipe for the Cappelletti, Italian fresh filled pasta (a traditional recipe from Reggio Emilia, given me by a dear friend), it raised an interesting discussion about the different kinds of fresh pasta that you can find in Italy. Elisa from Sweet and Country has been amazing with her generosity! She not only gave me clear directions on how to make a traditional recipe, cappelletti di magro, small stuffed hat-shaped pasta typical of Emilia-Romagna, but she sent me also the traditional cappelletti cutter, wrapped in a delicious red and white polka dots paper napkin. I gathered the family and we made the recipe, loving it so much!

While I was rolling out the dough – this is one of the reasons I love fresh pasta so much, your mind wanders guided by the hypnotic rhythms and the scent of semolina flour – I finally realized how much I love fresh filled pasta, made according old traditions. This reminded me of Grandma’s ravioli, Rossella’s Cjalsòns or the typical pici pasta from Siena. I realized I had fun making these recipes, a direct insight into their home territories, too.

Hence the idea of Fresh Pasta Maniac, a new blog category to collect at a glance all the published recipes of fresh pasta (you can easily find it also in the right side bar). Now, my question: do you have typical traditional fresh pasta recipes to share? I would be delighted to discover them and very curious to try them! As far as I am concerned, I’ll put all my sincere enthusiasm and a family willing to taste everything! If you like to send me your recipes, I’ll do as with Valeria and Elisa’s recipes: I’ll make them and I’ll publish the results here, to recreate a virtual map of all the typical dishes of fresh pasta of Italy, and further more!

Let’s start immediately with the cappelletti filled with breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan cheese, cappelletti di magro, that is cappelletti without meat, eaten during a lent period. Thank you Elisa for sharing with us your recipe!

Cappelletti di magro

Ingredients to make the filling:

  • 200 g breadcrumbs
  • about 600 ml of meat broth
  • 200 g grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg

Elisa has been extremely clear: you just need the same amount of breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan cheese. As for eggs and broth, use them according your needs. I added one egg and about 600 ml of broth, but it can depend on how moist your cheese and breadcrumbs are. Keep in mind that you must obtain a firm and compact filling.

Scald breadcrumbs in a large pan with some ladles of broth, enough to get a thick mixture. Remove from the heat and add grated Parmesan cheese, stirring constantly to have a firm and homogeneous mixture. Add a slightly beaten egg to thicken cheese and breadcrumbs: it is used not to prevent the filling from soaking while boiling cappelletti. Set the filling aside and make fresh pasta.

Ingredients to make fresh pasta (same recipe used here):

  • 250 g plain
  • 250 g semolina flour
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 medium eggs
  • cold water

Sift the plain flour with the semolina flour, place it on a wooden flat surface and make a well in the middle. Whisk the eggs with a pinch of salt and pour them in the middle of the flour. Pour in olive oil. Work the flours and the eggs with a fork, then start kneading the dough, pouring cold water little by little, until the dough gets soft, elastic and it doesn’t stick to your fingers anymore. You’ll need about 10 minutes. Let it rest for about 30 minutes at room temperature.

Now, roll the dough: you can use a classic rolling-pin or the pasta maker. The most important thing, either you’re using the rolling-pin or the pasta maker, is to keep rolling and flipping and rolling and flipping until you get a dough that is paper thin. Shape small balls of filling with your hands, the size of a hazelnut. Place them on the pasta sheet, spaced about 2 cm one from the other. Fold the dough over itself to cover the filling and press the special cappelletti cutter to have many small filled pasta pillows, as you can see from the above collage (if you don’t have the special cutter, you can use also another suitable cutter, or fold a disc of pasta on itself and seal it with a fork). Dust a tray with the semolina flour and put the cappelletti on it, to prevent them from sticking to each other.

How to serve them: following the most classic method! Boil them for just a few minutes in a very good meat broth and serve them with the broth and a generous dusting of grated Parmesan cheese. As Elisa said: they are very delicate compared to the meat cappelletti, but I can assure you that a large bowl of “galegiant” (Italian dialect, meaning something floating on the surface) is the best solution to face cold evening. I really can’t blame her! They are very easy to make, they can be cooked in the blink of an eye and warm beautifully your body and soul. The filling is soft, juicy and flavourful despite the very few used ingredients. To cut a long story short, I was captured once again by the fresh filled pasta! Thank you Elisa!

Cappelletti di magro

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This Post Has 24 Comments

  1. Giulia!
    Hope, one day I’ll have the opportunity to cook with you real Italian dishes, especially pastas like this. Amazing and yummie! 🙂

  2. happy blogiversary! These look delicious. I’ve not yet mastered fresh filled pastas. I can make a mean dumpling however I tend to fumble with pasta dough for some reason. It looks incredible, the pasta cutter is quite adorable as well!

  3. Oh, Juls!!! you tempt me soooo!!! :PPP

    I love pasta too and find the kneading just so therapeutic! Will send recipes once I am done with the “diet”!

  4. We’re thankful for your writing also. You always have such a nice story to go with each recipe. I’m with Paula; I want one of those cappelletti cutters. Our family pasta recipe is a meat, spinach & cheese ravioli that my nonna used to make. She could actually roll the pasta out by hand the length of an 8-person table. My mother never mastered that skill and used the pasta machine, as do I. I prefer mushroom ravioli. Whenever I make ravioli I have to also make some of my nonna’s or I’m in big trouble with my family.

  5. @ Zita: I hope it as well, I think we would enjoy so much together!
    @ Cat: the most important think is PATIENCE! I learned how to make it looking at my grandmother movements… so the best thing would be to upload a video explaining how to make pasta.. uhm.. this could be an idea! 😀
    @ Paula: subito! come here and I will lend you the cutter!
    @ Asha: once again, I sign we’re like sisters! hope your diet will finish soon!
    @ Rosa: thank you! they do taste divine!
    @ Kathy: meat, cheese and spinach?! a good combo! OMG, nonne are just amazing in making pasta, I need to use the machine as well, I’m not able to roll out the dough using just the rolling pin! Mushroom ravioli are simply awsome!

  6. Wow I could eat way too many of those delicious little pastas!

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  7. wow, i’ve never seen this pasta. it looks wonderful. i am determined to make it. it might even be cool with non-traditional fillings. so, basically it;s like ravioli without the extra past sides?

  8. I had the privilege of learning how to make these this year, I also did a post on my blog, seeing yours has me dreaming about them again! Love your blog!

  9. @ veggietestkitchen: yes, it would be delicious even with not traditional fillings. They are just like ravioli, right!
    @ Jun: thank you! 🙂
    @ Marie: where have you learn to make cappelletti? I’ve just visited your blog, congrats on your Italian dishes!
    @ Ciaochowlinda: yes, they are very similar to anolini as well!

  10. Congratulations on your anniversary and thanks for sharing such a lovely post and beautiful pictures as always. I now have pasta cutter envy! Here’s to another wonderful year of food blogging.

  11. Beautiful photos and pasta! Unfortunately I don’t have a pasta roller at home, but I plan to save up for one to make this cappelletti: Like previous posters had mentioned, this is a very unfamiliar frensh pasta, I’ve never seen it before !

    Oh, and, I hope you don’t mind me asking you this, but do you shoot with natural light or have a studio lighting set-up for your gorgeous food photography ?

  12. Ciao Mary, I hope you will get soon a pasta roller and discover the beauty that lies beneath a light and almost transparent sheet of pasta! In the meantime, you can definitely try with a rolling pin, people have used just it for centuries! actually I should give a try to it as well!
    As regards the light, it all depends on the weather!
    These pictures have been taken outside in the sun, into a white soft box to prevent harsh lightning. This is the condition I like the most, along with a soft real light.
    When there is no sun outside, I use a soft box and two lamps I bought on eBay, really inexpensive but practical and useful!
    I hope I helped with my answer, just feel free to ask all you want, I’ll be more than happy to tell you my tips, even I’m not a professional!

  13. Giulia, I am so glad you discovered all these things, but mostly I am glad that you’ve shared them with the world! Thank you for your writing, photography and pasta!

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