Cappelletti di Natale (Christmas Cappelletti)

Cappelletti resting on a tablecloth
Cappelletti resting on a tablecloth

If you thought that 400 different kinds of cheeses was a daunting variety, you should be aware that almost every household has its own recipe for tomato sauce. Sometimes differences are almost inconsequential (My mother, for instance, prescribes the use of a wooden kitchen spoon in place of a steel one). Other times recipe details are absolutely defining, and defended with vehemence until some one announces that the meal is served and both sides proceed to eat like there’s no tomorrow, one side happily and the other grudgingly so.

All this to say that what we’ll be describing is only a recipe for cappelletti, for the rather simple reason that there is none such thing as the recipe.

This particular recipe is excellent, anyway and, being Simona’s mom’s own, is especially close to our hearts. To us, it is the taste of Christmas. Let’s go.

Apron-to-dish: 2 hours; SoHo time: 2 hours.

pasta for 8 servings:

  • a 500g-flour, 5-egg pasta dough (we’ll give you the recipe later)

filling for 8 servings:

  • 5 whole eggs
  • 200g grated parmesan
  • one whole breast of chicken
  • 150g pork fillet
  • 150g lean veal
  • 150g chopped beef
  • one mid-size onion

Chop all the meats and put in a casserole with an adequate amount of butter, and the sliced onion. Cook on low heat until light brown. Then toss in a mixer with the eggs, add salt, grated pepper, grated nutmeg and a zest of lemon. Mix very, very thinly. You want a mix that sticks together when pressed between your fingers.

Prepare the pasta dough.

Now the fun part begins. Enlist (voluntarily, of course) all adults, young adults, teens and kids you have around. A proper cappelletti-making session must involve the entire enlarged family. And yes, kids are necessary for ensuring the proper level of entropy (and for eating raw cappelletti under the table –in a cappelletti-making session age groups are identified by their level of dexterity in grabbing and gnawing raw cappelletti without being caught).

Assign the roles:

  • the most expert person will have to roll the dough at the appropriate thickness (1mm or less, between 7/64 of an inch, just to keep things simple (*grin*). The whatever the unit, the correct thickness allows you to see through
  • somebody with a firm hand will cut the sheet of dough into squarish forms with a ravioli cutter. These squares will be approximately 5cm (2″) on a side
  • another person will need to make little balls of filling and place one such ball in the center of each square
  • one or more others will then fold the dough around the filling and around their index finger to give cappelletti its proper form
  • kids will not need instruction to guarantee a properly festive atmosphere (often called “an ungodly mess” by those involved in making the cappelletti).

And… that’s all, folks. These will be cooked and served in hot (meat) broth tonight, after the first toast. Enough recipe, now. It’s time for family.

Have great holidays with your dears and your friends. We’ll see you in the new year.

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