Cappelletti in Brodo is a lovely Italian soup. This soup so simple, but packed with flavor and is popular in Italy during the winter months. It is also a staple of the Italian Christmas menu.
Cappelletti – little hats – are similar to tortellini. They are not tortellini though. Cappelletti are made with squares of pasta rather than the circles used for tortellini. The squares are folded in half to make a triangle, then the two ends of the triangle are joined together to make a turned-up peak, which make them resemble the tri-cornered hat of the Italian army. So, the top point is up for cappelletti or folded down for tortellini.
This is so simple it is a wonder that I never thought of it when living in the USA. I also never saw it served anywhere in the USA.
If you are so inclined as to make the cappelletti from scratch, the recipe is below.
If you are short on time however, you can buy freshly made cappelletti and use a homemade broth. I recommend that the cappelletti is fresh though.
Cappelletti can be filled with meat, poultry or ricotta cheese.
For the Broth
The broth will vary according to your filling. For example, if you are filling the cappelletti with meat you will want a beef or pork based broth. If you are filling them with poultry, then make a chicken stock. If you are filling them with ricotta cheese, the broth base can be either meat or poultry based.
Here is a standard chicken based stock recipe.
1 whole chicken in pieces
2 stalks of celery, in chunks
2 carrots, chopped in chunks
2 large onions, chopped in chunkssprig of parsley
healthy pinch of salt
In a large stock pot add all ingredients and cover with water.Bring to a boil.
Lower the heat and simmer for 3-4 hours.
Strain your stock and discard the vegetables.
Pick the meat off the bone to use in the cappelletti. Substitute beef and/or pork for a different filling and stock.
For the Pasta
You will need a pasta machine. You can get a pasta machine online for as little as $25.00. Using a pasta machine also helps to create a silky smooth pasta.
Before you begin, take your eggs out of the fridge and let them come to room temperature.
You will need:
3 eggs plus 1 egg yoke
3 cups of doppio zero “00″ flour if you can find it. If not, you can use all-purpose flour, but try “00″ if you can get it. It is different than the flour typically used in the USA.
Pinch of salt
Put the flour in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Add the eggs and salt to the well and mix gently with a spatula. Slowly incorporate the flour. Mix in the remaining flour and place on a lightly floured counter. Knead for 10 minutes. The dough will soften up after it rests. Cut the dough in half and wrap each half in a damp cloth. Let the dough rest for one hour.
After the dough has rested:
Unwrap one of the dough pieces and cut it in half, re-wrap the remaining dough.
Cut your dough in half and roll it out on a floured surface.
Put your pasta machine on setting #1. Pass the dough through each setting (1 through 5) twice.
Lay the pasta dough on flat surface and cover it so that it doesn’t dry out as you put the remaining dough through the settings.
Cut the sheets so they are 2 inches wide.
Cut the pasta the other way so that you have 2 inch squares.
For the Filling
The filling can be meat, poultry or ricotta cheese. This recipe is for a composite meat filling.
1/4 lb ground veal or pork
1/8 lb prosciutto
1/8 lb mortadella
1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 tsp butter
nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste
Brown the ground pork and set it aside to cool. In a food processor, add the mortadella and prosciutto, pulsing to mix. Add the ground pork, butter, cheese, egg and pulse some more.
Place a little bit of filling in the center of each square.
Fold corner to corner so your square is now a triangle.
Dab a little water if you need it for the seal.
Take the two outer corners and fold them around your finger, pushing the center up.
Leave the “point” up as this is the signature of cappelletti.
Place on a lightly floured tray or wax paper.
For the Cappelletti in Brodo
Simply bring the stock to a boil.
Add the cappelletti and cook until they bob to the surface.
Serve hot and top with shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and some good fresh bread.