Episode 8: Cappelletti with Wild Mushroom Sauce
The classic stuffed pasta of the Romagna region, cappelletti-which translates as "little hats"-are shaped like three-pointed hats, and can be served in a broth or with a sauce. Think of them as inside-out tortellini. At a farm called Fattoria Paradiso, we learned to make cappelletti filled with a blend of four cheeses and served in a wild-mushroom-and-white-wine sauce. We mentioned back in an earlier episode that Emilia Romagna was the one region of Italy where we still saw people rolling out their pasta dough by hand with rolling pins. We saw that again at Fattoria Paradiso: All the pasta there is made fresh each morning by two grandmothers. It's amazing how thin they can roll the dough and how fast they can shape these precise little dumplings.
But unlike pasta imbottita, the dough for these cappelletti must be rolled out very thin, so if you're not as practiced as an Italian grandma, it's best to use your pasta maker to roll out the sheets. Cut the sheets into 2-inch squares.
For the filling, combine 1/2 lb. ricotta, 1/4 lb. teleme or stracchino (in Emilia Romagna, they use a local cheese called squaquerone, but teleme or stracchino are good substitutes), 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, and 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano. Add one large egg, a little grated nutmeg, and salt and pepper, and mix it all together.
Put 1 teaspoon of filling in the center of each pasta square. To shape the cappelletti, fold each square into a triangle, seal the edges, and bring the two bottom points of each triangle together to create the three-pointed hat. As you make the cappelletti, put them on a sheet pan dusted with a little flour.
When the cappelletti are shaped, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil to cook them. Meanwhile, start your sauce: Sauté 1 diced shallot in olive oil over medium heat, just until it gets tender. Add 1 lb. sliced mixed wild mushrooms to the sauté pan and cook them until they've released their liquid and collapsed, about 5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then add 1/2 cup white wine, and let this cook down to about 1/4 cup.
When the pasta water is boiling, drop the cappelletti in. They're finished cooking when they float to the surface. Scoop the cappelletti out with a wire skimmer, then toss them in the sauté pan with the mushroom sauce. Finally, sprinkle with about 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, and serve the pasta in shallow bowls.
Other episodes about handmade pasta
|Episode 1: Croxetti (Pasta Coins) with Pine Nut-Butter Sauce||Episode 2: Butternut Squash Gnocchi||Episode 3: Spinach Malfatti (Dumplings)|
|Episode 4: Bergamo-Style Ravioli||Episode 5: Bigoli with Duck Ragu||Episode 6: Pasta Imbottita (Cheese Pillows in Broth)|
|Episode 7: Goat Cheese Gnocchi with Walnut Butter Sauce||Episode 8: Cappelletti with Wild Mushroom Sauce||Episode 9: Spinach, Ricotta and Egg Yolk Raviolo|