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!
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!
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!