Three Monkeys Online

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Cappelletti & Co.: A Christmas in Romagna

After years of wooing, I managed to snatch the following recipe from my granny, who every Christmas delights us with a brimful plate of broth in which happily float fat and delicious 'little hats', screaming for an abundant snowfall of parmesan cheese.

What you need (for 4 people):

For the filling:

200 gr. minced pork loin
200 gr. minced veal
100 gr. capon or chicken or turkey breast
100 gr. soft cheese (robiola, ricotta or raviggiolo)
1 egg
50 gr. parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
grated nutmeg
olive oil or a little butter (30 gr.)

For the dough:

4 eggs
400 gr. flour

For the broth:

¼ capon (approx. 500 gr.)
400 gr. lean beef (shank)
200 gr. beef or veal bones
3-4 ripe cherry tomatoes
2 carrots
2 celery sticks
1 potato
1 onion
2-3 cloves stuck in the onion
cheese crusts
4 liters of water

How you do it:

Let's start from the cappelletti filling: gently fry the mincemeat in the butter until fully cooked. Mince it again once it cools down. Add some soft cheese, the grated parmesan and the egg, season with salt, pepper and grated nutmeg, and mix well.

Now the dough: put the flour on a board, make a hole in the middle and break in the eggs. Knead it thoroughly, until you obtain homogeneous dough. You may add more flour if it looks too moist, or an egg white if it is too dry. Roll as thin as possible, using, as we say, your rolling pin and a good measure of 'elbow's grease'! Once the dough is rolled out, cut it in 6×6 cm squares. Place a spoonful of filling in the middle of each square, moisten the edges of the paste with finger dipped in water to seal it securely, and fold into little cones or hats.

In the meantime, prepare the broth: put the water to boil in a roomy pot and add the meat, the vegetables and the cheese crusts once it starts to bubble. Keep the boiling up for about three hours, having care to foam the broth at least three times, i.e. with a skimmer remove the fat that comes floating on the surface. Remember that the capon (the simpleton, as Artusi refers to it) cooks faster than the rest of the meat, and can be removed and kept aside after about 1.5 hours. Once the broth is ready, remove the rest of the meat and arrange it in a serving plate

When everything is done and your guests are starting to arrive, cook the cappelletti in the boiling broth. It only takes a few minutes: the signal that they're ready is when they float to the top of the pan. Leave them rest while you eat the antipasti, and serve floating in broth with loads of grated Parmesan cheese.


i Cucina di Romagna, by Graziano Pozzetto, Franco Muzzio Editore.
ii La scienza in cucina e l'Arte di mangiar bene, by Pellegrino Artusi, Einaudi.
iii Sul mangiare e altre storie, Agenda storica di Rimini/i>, compiled by M. Valentini e S. Ceccarelli, Pietroneni Capitani Editore.
iv Sul mangiare e altre storie, Agenda storica di Rimini, compiled by M. Valentini e S. Ceccarelli, Pietroneni Capitani Editore

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