Cappelletti are a typical stuffed pasta from the region of Emilia Romagna, not to be confused with the classic Tortellini which are smaller and have a different filling. The name means literally “small hats” because of its shape and are traditionally stuffed with ground meat and served with meat broth (usually capon), especially on Christmas day: the women of the family spend the morning making the fresh pasta and the broth and serve it to the whole family on Christmas lunch.
This is a spring edition to enjoy this lovely kind of pasta all year long. Rather than filling it with ground meat, I decided for a delicate filling of Ricotta and Parmesan cheese. The Parmesan cheese gives it that extra taste and salinity, which as a result, complements perfectly the creamy asparagus sauce.
When the days start to get longer and warmer, one of the first things that I think of is “it’s asparagus season!”. In Tuscany I used to go hunting in the woods for wild asparagus. It’s like treasure hunting, you have to look under the spiky bushes to find the treasure: a green, long, wild asparagus. They’re lovely with pasta or with eggs and the satisfaction of finding them yourself gives it an extra taste!
Information about the Ingredients:
The Parmesan cheese must be of good quality in order to enhance the flavors and give the right balance in the filling, otherwise you’ll end up with a blend ricotta filling. I used Parmigiano Reggiano DOP (here I can only find the basic aged 12 months, but if you can find it aged for 24 or 30 months I highly recommend it. It will have a much stronger taste and will add more flavor to the filling).
As for the asparagus, I chose the small and thin variety which cooks faster, is more tender and has a stronger yet slightly bitter taste. You can also use the thicker variety cutting it in thin strips.
How to make Cappelletti:
To give Cappelletti its traditional shape, roll the pasta dough into a thin sheet and cut squares of about 7 cm per side (about 2 inches). Place a teaspoon of filling in the middle of the square then brush the sides with a little bit of water. Fold it into a triangle pressing well the sides so they won’t open while boiling. Fold the side corners toward the center and press them to close the shape.
- 2 Eggs
- 120g (1 cup) All Purpose Flour
- 60g (1/2 cup) Semolina Flour
- 100g (1/2 cup) Ricotta cheese
- 60g (2/3 cup) grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- 150g (5.5 oz) Asparagus
- 2 tbsp Butter
- EVO Oil
- Salt, Black Pepper
- Ground Nutmeg
- Mix the flours with the eggs with your hands and knead it until you get a smooth ball of dough. Cover it in foil and let it rest for about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile prepare the filling, mix the Ricotta with the Parmesan cheese and add a pinch of salt and ground nutmeg.
- Make the Cappelletti following the instructions in the post above.
- Wash the asparagus, trim the ends and cut the tips about 10cm (4 in) long. Chop the remaining part of the asparagus and boil it for 5-7 minutes until soft. Blend them with olive oil, salt and pepper until you get a smooth cream then set it aside.
- Cut the tips lenghtwise and blanch them in the boiing water then plung them in iced water to keep their vibrant color.
- Boil the Cappelletti in salted water for about 3-4 minutes, meanwhile melt the butter in a pan and then toss in the Cappelletti, the asparagus tips and a tablespoon of Parmesan or Pecorino.
- Pour the asparagus sauce on the plate and then add the pasta with the tips on top. Serve immediately.
- If you like it (unfortunately I don't) you can add a few slices of truffles on top before serving.