Serving size: 2 to 4 people
For the beet purée & the pasta dough
2 medium or 4 small red beets
2 cups ‘00’ flour or all-purpose flour
¼ cup of semolina flour (optional; if unavailable, substitute with ‘00’ or all-purpose)
⅓ cup of beet purée
For the filling & for finishing
3 cups, or 1 large bunch of flat-leaf parsley, leaves only
½ cup, or 1 large handful of fresh mint, leaves only
1 cup of whole milk ricotta
¼ cup of finely grated Pecorino Romano
1 to 2 Lemons
2 to 4 tablespoons of pine nuts
½ cup of unsalted butter
1 handful fresh mint leaves for garnish (optional)
Salt & pepper to taste
Peel & cut the stems and roots off of the beets. In a medium pot add enough water and place them to boil for around 45 minutes to 1 hour until the beets are very tender and easy to pierce with a knife (a little overcooked is perfect) .
While the beets boil, make the filling. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add the parsley and mint, and cook briefly until wilted and vibrant in color, about 20 seconds. Drain immediately and run the greens under cold water to stop the cooking. When the greens are cool, wring out as much water as possible and pat dry. Then roughly chop.
Add the cheeses and greens to a food processor, as well as some finely grated zest from one of the lemons. Pulse to combine, then season to taste with salt, pepper, and a squeeze half of one lemon juice. Pulse again until thick and creamy.
Transfer the filling to a bowl or piping bag and refrigerate until ready to use.
Make the pasta dough. When the beets are still warm but cool enough to handle,
Transfer them beets to a blender and purée until very smooth. Set aside 70 grams (⅓ cup) of the purée. Any leftovers can be frozen in an air-tight container and defrosted for future use.
Easiest way, add the flours, eggs, and beet purée to a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse until the liquids are evenly distributed and beads of dough form. The mixture should come together easily when pressed. (If it’s a little dry, add a teaspoon or two more purée)
Transfer the dough to a flat, ideally wooden surface and knead for at least 10 to 15 minutes until smooth and firm. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic and allow it to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. (or up to an hour or two if you have plenty of time)
Shape your cappelletti, Line a baking sheet with semolina or all purpose flour and keep it nearby. Cut off a quarter of the dough and re-wrap the remainder immediately.
Using the pasta machine, Flatten the dough with the heel of your hand until it’s about ¼-inch thick. Set your pasta machine to its thickest setting and roll the dough through once it will be tapered at the ends. Fold the ends into the center like an envelope so the width of the pasta sheet is similar in width to the pasta roller. Line up the widths and roll the dough through the thickest setting once more so the result is an even rectangle.
Continue rolling the pasta sheet through the machine once on each progressive setting until you can see your hand through it but it’s still sturdy (a bit like leather), about setting 7 on a Marcato Atlas 150 manual roller or KitchenAid attachment. If the dough is at all sticky going through the machine, dust it with a light layer of ‘00’ or all-purpose flour on both sides.
If you're rolling by hand, Roll the portion of dough with a rolling pin into as thin a sheet as possible. (it’s a workout) While you’re aiming for about a millimeter thick, don’t stress and do the best you can. Once you have a long, thin sheet of pasta, lay it on a wooden surface and trim the ends of any uneven areas, then ball up the scraps and wrap them in plastic to rehydrate. If you don’t have a wooden surface, dust a little flour on the bottom of the pasta sheet and your countertop to prevent sticking.
Using a 2½-inch cookie cutter or sturdy glass, cut as many circles as you can out of the pasta sheet. Ball up the scraps and add them to your wrapped pile.
Spoon about a teaspoon of filling in the center of each circle, leaving a generous rim of dough around it. If the dough is dry, add a small amount of water with your finger to the edges of the circles and fold each circle into a half-moon, meeting opposite curves first and then gently pressing out any air around the filling on each side. Once the filling is encased, go back over the edges with your fingers and press firmly to seal. Position the half-moon so the curved edge is facing downward. Then make a generous indentation in the center of the filling pocket with your finger. (it’ll look like a smile)
Bring the two points of the half-moon around in a circular motion toward the top, overlap them slightly, and pinch firmly to seal. You should have a little gap in the center and the cappelletti should stand up on their own. Place each finished piece on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Repeat the process with the remaining dough.
To finish our dish, place a large pot of water to a boil. (for the pasta - cappelletti)
Peel 2 or 3 long strips (or more than 3 if you desire but not too much) of zest from one of the lemons and from the orange using a vegetable peeler. Then thinly slice each strip lengthwise into thin strands.
Add the pine nuts to a dry skillet over medium-low heat. Stir constantly until they’re golden and fragrant, about 3 minutes. (keep a close eye on them so they don’t burn)
Add half of the thinly sliced lemon and orange zest to the skillet and stir constantly for about 30 seconds. Then add the butter and stir until melted. If you’re using unsalted butter, add a pinch of salt, too and remove from the heat.
Salt the pasta water well, then add the cappelletti, making sure to dust off any semolina flour or cornmeal. Stir the pasta briefly so it doesn’t stick.
Cook the cappelletti until tender, about 2 to 3 minutes, tasting for doneness. Some color will seep out during the boiling process, but they’ll still be very vibrant after the short cook time. (The longer you let the pasta cooks, the color will most likely fade)
While the cappelletti cook, return the butter to medium heat. With a slotted spoon, transfer the cappelletti to the butter and toss gently to coat. Keeping the pan moving, cook the pasta in the butter for a minute to meld the flavors.
To serve the pasta, Drizzle with more of the butter sauce and top with the pine nuts, fresh mint leaves, you can also add more of the thinly sliced lemon & orange zest, and Pecorino cheese, if you like.
In case you want to store some of the cappelletti for future use, freeze them on the baking sheet until mostly solid, about 25 minutes. Then transfer them to a freezer-safe container or bag, they’ll last for up to a month. When you’re ready to cook them, boil straight from frozen.
Inspire by Pasta Social Club