Cappelletti in Brodo Toscano
The word cappelletto means “little hat,” which is what this pasta should resemble. They are traditionally served in broth, as are the more infamous “tortellini”.
This is the traditional filling we use at La Cucina al Focolare. Nothing is more satisfying than a bowl of “tortellini in brodo”, but during the holidays, cappelletti is more apropos and traditional.
1/2 a chicken or capon breast sautéed in butter and a bit of olive oil and minced
1 cup fresh ricotta
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano
1 whole egg plus 1 yolk
A pinch of nutmeg
A touch of grated lemon rind
A pinch of salt and pepper
use one egg for every 100 grams of all-purpose flour, or 2 ¼ cups of flour to 3 eggs with a pinch of salt.
Make a mound with the flour on your work surface and scoop out a well in the middle. Pour the eggs into the hole, add the salt, and work the eggs and the flour together till you have a smooth dough, adding just a drop of water if necessary, and no more. Knead the dough for ten to fifteen minutes, until it is smooth, firm, and quite elastic. Roll the pasta out by hand until you can practically see through it, or put it through your machine. Either way, it should be thin enough to fold over on itself and not be too thick, but thin. Remember, the Florentines like things “ini”. Refined.
Roll out a thin sheet of pasta on a well-floured surface. Cut your pasta into 3 inch squares. Put a teaspoon of paste in the center. Fold the pasta into a triangle. Pull the two ends together and press. It should resemble “a little hat”.
Brodo Toscano (“Tuscan Broth”):
large pot of water
1 red onion, cut in half and toasted (on the grill or frying pan)
2 celery sticks
beef shoulder, tongue, or meat of preference
tied up with string and tied to one handle of the pot to keep them from disturbing the broth when taken out.
(Tip: do not use pork products)
a whole chicken
pinch of salt and pepper
(‘to taste’ is optional, depending if you want a neutral broth or more savory.)
Bring a large pot of water to the boil, add all ingredients and simmer for roughly a few hours. Continuously skim the surface for any impurities and fats that rise to the top with a mesh spoon/strainer. When ready remove the meat and all other ingredients.
Use a cheese cloth to strain the broth.
Gently boil the cappelletti in the broth until they are done, 3-5 minutes. The pasta should be al dente.
A steaming bowl of these nourishing hand made little hats in this nourishing broth is a warm holiday favorite.