Saturday, November 24, 2012
Cappellacci de Zucca -Bring on the Butternut Squash
This time of year when butternut squash is so available, my favorite way to enjoy them is as stuffing for cappellacci. These little pillows of pasta filled with sweet butternut squash puree are delicious in some sage butter with a sprinkling of romano cheese. The recipes I've seen call for amaretti cookies but I don't keep any in the house (they wouldn't last long anyway before I ate them all). In place of these little cookies I put some ground almonds and a bit of honey.
Cappellacci de Zucca
For the filling:
1 butternut squash, peeled, diced (1 - 1/2 inch)
2 TBSP olive oil
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg (fresh is best)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 TBSP honey
4 TBSP finely ground almonds (more if you like)
In a bowl, toss the butternut squash pieces with the olive oil. Place in a single layer in a baking dish or on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake the squash for 45 minutes in a 350F oven. When done, remove the squash and place in a seive over a bowl to drain. When cooled, mash/puree the squash.
Add remaining ingredients and set the filling aside or refridgerate if you are not making the pasta that day.
Note: wonton dough squares can be used instead of making the pasta, if you prefer.
For the pasta:
2 cups semolina flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
4 whole eggs
1 tsp. olive oil
warm water (3-4 TBSP)
Combine the flours, place the mixture on a bread board and mound the flour making a well in the center (like a volcano crater). Beat the eggs, olive oil and 2 TBSP water in a bowl and pour gently into the volano crater. Carefully mix the ingredients with a fork, taking flour from the sides of the crater and mixing into the eggs. Mix the flour completely into the eggs to form a shaggy mass of dough. Knead the dough as best you can until it is somewhat soft and pliable (this is a very stiff dough) Add more water as you need it to make the kneading easier. When done cover the dough with an upside down bowl and allow it to rest for 1 hour.
To assemble the cappellacci:
Using a pasta machine or rolling pin, roll out one sheet of dough(cover remaining dough with the bowl to prevent it from drying out) and cut into 4" squares. Place scraps of dough under the bowl that contains the remainder of the dough, incorporate the scraps into the remaining dough as you use it to roll more pasta sheets.
Place about 1 rounded teaspoon of filling in one corner of the 4" square. On either side of the teaspoon of filling, run a wet finger dipped in water along 2 dough edges. Fold the 4" square along the diagonal to make a triangle that covers the filling completely. Seal the edges with your finger and then a fork. Take the two corners of the triangle and attach them together to form a little cap (much like a tortellini).
Place the completed cappellacci on a well floured tea towel that lines a cookie sheet. Continue with remaining dough, until the cookie sheet is full. Put the cookie sheet of cappellacci in the freezer for 1 hour or more to freeze complete. Once frozen, remove from cookie sheet and place in a sealed plastic baggie for later use.
To cook the cappellacci:
A simple sauce of melted butter and leaves of sage
grated romano cheese
6-8 cappellacci per person
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. When boiling, add frozen cappellacci (about 6-8 per person) to the water. Boil for a few minutes until the cappellacci come to the water surface and they appear cooked (try one to be sure). Place them on a heated plate. Top with a sauce of melted butter and sage, sprinkle with romano cheese and enjoy.
If you run out of filling before you run out of pasta dough, make noodles with the rest, dry them and use them in soups or if you have enough, keep the noodle long, cook and serve with your favorite tomato sauce. If you run out of pasta dough and have filling left, make a custard by adding a egg and some milk and baking in a bain marie in the oven or just eat the filling as is -it's pretty tasty.