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Cappelletti Sgrozi Recipe: a true taste of Romagna

Or a legendary Cappelletti Sgrozi recipe performed at least worse

Premise:

The cappelletti (Caplèt) are not a pasta (or rather, a mnestra, soup, as we call any first course that is not rice here in Romagna), they are the PARTY (with capital letters), an extreme moment of sociality and baracca (pleasant confusion) that accompanies many of the beautiful and carefree moments of our lives. For this reason they are certainly the most representative food of our culinary culture (yes, more than the mainstream piadina). But there’s a problem: like everything else, there is not a standard: the Romagna people from area to area do as they fucking please! Since I am from Lower Romagna (flat area between Ravenna and Faenza) and therefore in the cradle of our civilization (self-proclaimed by me), I can undoubtedly provide you with the only and indisputable right recipe.

Perhaps my friend and collaborator Erika (who has given us a very good cartoon summary of what you are about to read), who comes from the deep south (Santarcangelo di Romagna), will not agree with me, and perhaps she even dares to put meat in the caplèt, but it is certainly not her fault if they taught her wrong, poor thing! I’m obviously joking! Our territory is super varied and obviously each area has its own peculiarities … but our cappelletti are, of course, better!

INSTRUMENTS NEEDED:

To make the caplèt you need a tulìr that is a nice big CUTTING BOARD, without it rolling the dough is a mess, and a s-ciadur (I think you understand well, but it’s a ROLLING PIN) for this one the rule is: the longer the better.  Losing a lot of romance you can also use the machine mo me an so brisa bo’ (= but I don’t know how to do) so in case ask someone who is capable!

THE RUDE CAPPELLETTI RECIPE:

Turn on the stereo, listen to something you like and helps you to relax (I don’t know,  like a Trojan box or the Sick Of It All discography), take the FLOUR (wheat flour, whatever, the more refined it is the easier it is to work, but I wouldn’t go further than type 0 flour) and the EGGS. Basically you make 1 person = 1 egg = 100g flour. In this way that one person will have a more than decent dish of cappelletti as it should be.

Now you can make the spoja, the dough. It is done as for all doughs, a mixture of eggs and flour that little by little becomes a homogeneous ball, but then you have to make it rest covered (by a plate or a napkin), even there directly on the tulìr, for at least half an hour. In the meantime you dedicate yourselves to the batù, the stuffing. 

A further premise:

Take some meat and then cook it as you like and eat it after the cappelletti, if you are still hungry, because inside the cappelletti there is no meat. Instead, take an earthenware and put a SEASONED CHEESE (99% we put Parmigiano Reggiano, better if a little aged), and, if the cappelletti end up in broth, you can also stop here with cheese (but you can go on, as you prefer). If you make them without broth, it’s better to add a MELLOW YOUNG CHEESE (I add it in any case) which can be Squacquerone or Raviggiolo.

There are those at other latitudes who put the Ricotta but I am against it, it goes together with spinach in urciôn (“orecchioni” sort of triangular tortelli), period. Then you put an Egg to bind and especially the Romagna goddess of spices: the NOCE MOSCATA (nutmeg) uncontested queen and practically the only spice of Romagna cuisine, inserted everywhere massively and mercilessly. So, be generous with it, it will reward you! Then with a fork or a spoon, crush and mix everything until it becomes homogeneous. It must come out a pretty thick batu, filler. If it’s not thick, it’s all the same in reality, but it’ll be more difficult to put it into the caplèt

Now, put aside the batu covered with film and go back to the spoja. Start spreading it starting always from the middle and pushing it upwards with the rolling pin, always turning it from the same side each time. When it starts to get large I’ll show you the special move to pull it more and more thinner and thinner (it must be very thin at the end!): roll the dough up to about halfway on the rolling pin then starting from the middle of the rolling pin with your hands continue to rotate it slowly unrolling the dough outwards while moving your hands on the rolled dough from the center to the outside of the rolling pin (right and left at the same time).

In practice, roll out the dough on both the rolling pin and the cutting board. Once you have unrolled the dough, turn it all the way round (always rolling it up and then rolling it out with the rolling pin, but without doing anything else) and start again. You’ll see what a fucking turning point! 

When you have a nice thin sheet of dough it’s time to move on to action BUT the sheet of dough must not dry out! So if you’re quick to close the dough you can proceed to make the cappelletti.

If, instead, like me, you are not very quick with your fingers, flour it lightly and roll the dough on the rolling pin, leaving out just a flap and then roll it out as you close the cappelletti obtained with the part of the dough not rolled up (this way it doesn’t dry out, another trick).

At this point you have to make some little squares (size 4×4 / 5×5 cm, even if the larger they are, the easier they are to work, they don’t have to be very large at the end… but not even some mainstream tortellini) with the wheel (I prefer, so then they have jagged edges) or with the knife (it must be a nice heavy knife preferably). In the middle of the squares you put the batù (do some tests, obviously it must be neither too much nor too little) then form a triangle squeezing well all the sides with the fingers to seal it, finally take the 2 more distant points of the triangle, put one on top of the other and squeeze them. DONE! 

At this point, tradition wants them in capon broth but I assure you that they are also delicious in a good vegetable broth if you want to stay on vegetarian. Anyway, the best is eating them in broth. Nowadays, especially in taverns and festivals, you can find them mainly in meat sauce (which in Romagna we usually do exaggerating with pork and more “red” than our colleagues in Bologna … oh yes and we would not know where to put the milk that they seem to use) and kick ass the same! Then there’s THE COMBO: you cook them in broth and then drain them and serve them with meat sauce… one who does this is absolutely a good person.

So with flour, eggs, cheese and nutmeg you have created a fucking masterpiece! And this is the undeniable superiority of our cappelletto, few basic (and cheap) ingredients to create something so good and perfect! The allegory to punk music goes without saying…

POSTFACTION:

Making them for well takes time and practice (unless you are already the stuffed pasta champions), I have not yet arrived at the result I would like and I am light years from those made by the person who taught me how to make them, but you always get something edible out of this recipe! At worst there will be some cheese in the broth and the cappelletto becomes an inganapurèt (or “deceive poor people” that is an empty cappelletto that was made precisely when you could not afford any filling). And so, especially if you are from Romagna, you must try so that they never fail to accompany our beautiful moments of conviviality! Bona magnadàza! (best wishes for a pleasant and delicate “mangiataccia” (=meal) that can inhibit any other activity for at least a couple of hours).

Text: Baku / Rumagna Sgroza
Cartoon: Eky “Condita”
Photos of Cappelletti: Valeria (friend but above all nerd of the “course” of sfogline that Pauline has fortunately spurred us to do!)

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