Stuffed Pasta Hats

Cappelletti Romagnoli di Magro

This recipe is for little hat-shaped pasta parcels with a non-meat filling. On holy days, such as Christmas Eve and Good Friday, meat is traditionally not eaten in Italian Catholic households. This is generally what is meant by magro - a meat-free recipe which is eaten on such occasions. The dough uses one less egg than usual, to make the dish less rich. The Cappelletti are cooked in broth, then strained and coated in melted butter and grated Parmesan.

Ingredients

For the filling

  • 1 lb (450 g) fresh or frozen spinach
  • 5 oz (150 g) ricotta or whipped cream cheese
  • 4 oz (100 g) soft cheese (such as stracchino or mozzarella), cut into tiny cubes
  • pinch salt
  • ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg

For the pasta

  • lb (500 g) plain white flour
  • 5 large eggs
  • salt
  • pints (1.5 litres) meat or vegetable broth
  • 4 oz (100 g) unsalted butter
  • 4 oz (100 g) Parmesan cheese, grated

Method

If using fresh spinach, wash it carefully. Place the spinach in a heavy-bottomed pan and cook for about 5 minutes until the leaves wilt. When cool, mince or chop finely.

Mix the spinach, ricotta or whipped cream cheese, soft cheese, salt and nutmeg together very thoroughly. Set aside until required.

Make the pasta dough as usual. Roll it out and cut it into -inch (6 cm) squares. Place 1 teaspoon of the spinach and cheese mixture in the middle of each square and fold over the dough to make a neat triangle. Be sure that all the triangles are well sealed around the edges so that none of the mixture escapes during cooking. Wrap each triangle around your index finger so that two of the points overlap and the third point stands upright. Press the two overlapping points together, fold back the third point and push the ‘hat’ off the end of your finger.

Bring the broth to the boil, slip in the cappelletti and cook for about 3–4 minutes. (They will rise to the surface when cooked.) Scoop them out with a large slotted spoon and arrange them in a wide, warm dish. Heat the butter without browning it, then pour it all over the cooked cappelletti. Scatter the Parmesan over the top and serve.

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