We love filled pasta such as ravioli or tortellini, but, to be honest, sometimes it just takes too much time to make dozens and dozens of them. If only there were a large filled-pasta shape that we could make, oh, perhaps, 15 to 20, and be done with it. Not surprisingly, there is such a pasta shape.
We saw these cappellacci in Crossroads, by Tal Ronnen, Scot Jones, and Serafina Magnussen, and we knew we had to make some. We love the way they look somewhat like sailboats, and, of course, how can you go wrong when three or four cappellacci will make a meal? The best part is that, not only are these large filled-pasta shapes, but they’re easy to make, to boot.
As an aside, cappellacci, though they remind us of sailboats, and named thusly because of their resemblance to hats.
We’ll assume that you have some pasta dough ready to shape, along with some sort of pasta filling. Just so you know, we used our Smoked Paprika Pasta Dough along with the Acorn Squash Pasta Filling we wrote about yesterday.
Divide dough. Divide your dough into pieces that you can handle easily. We generally divide a single batch of pasta dough into four pieces and work with one piece at a time, leaving the remaining dough covered by plastic wrap.
Roll into sheets. Using either a pasta machine or a rolling pin, roll the dough into a sheet about 4 inches wide and about 1/16th of an inch thick. Try to make the sheet long and rectangular — we know it’s hard — so that you can cut out several 4×4 inch squares of pasta. Any remaining scraps can be mixed into the remaining pasta dough to be re-rolled.
Cut squares. If you want all your cappellacci uniform, carefully measure out those 4×4 inch squares and cut the dough appropriately. If you aren’t too particular about the size and uniformity, you can cut out smaller squares, instead.
Pipe filling. If your filling is in a piping bag, pipe about 1 tablespoon of the filling right in the center of each pasta square. Naturally, you can use a tablespoon to scoop filling if you aren’t using a piping bag.
Wet and fold. Dip your finger into a small bowl of water and dampen two adjacent sides of the pasta sheet right along the edge. The dampness will seal the pasta by dissolving just a bit of dough to make a “glue.” Fold the pasta over to form a triangle, press out any air as best you can, and lightly press down the edges.
Shape. Pick up the triangle and wrap the longest edge around your finger, pulling the two points together so they overlap. It’s easier to see in the pictures than to describe, but, as you work, the point away from the long edge should fold up, the filling portion should puff upwards slightly, and the points you’re sticking together should also fold up, forming the shape of a hat (or sailboat, depending on what you see). As you fold each cappellacci, place it on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat. If you don’t have silicone baking mats, dust each with flour and place on a lightly floured baking sheet.
Freeze. Once you have a sheet of cappellacci shaped, place it in the freezer to freeze solid before transferring to plastic bags. Don’t worry; you can cook these without thawing. Freezing just makes them very easy to handle.
To cook, bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, place the cappellacci in the water, and allow to simmer until done. We found that 7-8 minutes was about right, based on the thickness of our pasta sheets. Your timing may be different. Once cooked, remove with a slotted spoon, drain thoroughly, and serve with your favorite sauce.
We like these cappellacci because, if you shape and place them carefully, they’ll stand up in a shallow bowl, making for a nicer-looking meal. We also really like the fact that you use up a batch of pasta dough in just a few really large filled pastas (we made about 14 total, which worked for two meals for us). Hats off to a fun and easy pasta shape that’s worth five stars!