I leave for college today! Drexel here I come!
To celebrate, my dad and I did the only logical thing … we made pasta! But, we didn’t make just any pasta, we made Cappellacci di Zucca (Butternut Squash Cappellacci). Cappellacci are folded to resemble a hat, and are super fun and simple, despite their complex appearance. The word cappellacci actually means hat in Italian–from cappello ‘hat’ and the pejorative suffix -accio.
My dad and I always love to make pasta. Together, we have a ton of fun in the kitchen. His excitement towards food fueled my excitement when I was younger. My love, interest, and appreciation for food came from him.
Pasta making is intimidating to some people, but please believe me when I say that it is simple and gratifying. Homemade pasta is a trillion times more scrumpcious than store bought pasta. It only takes two ingredients to make a basic pasta dough — eggs and 00 flour (a type of flour that is best for pasta making). Both of these can easily be found at most supermarkets.
Pasta-making has been a fun activity for me since I was in first grade, I even had a pasta-making birthday party. We made orchiette, which means “little ears” in Italian.
With so many great pasta memories, it was fitting that my dad and I made pasta one more time.
Cappallacci di Zucca
- 2 1/2 cups 00 flour (00 flour forms stronger gluten bonds than regular flour)
- 2 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 Tbs. water (this is the amount I used but it could change depending on the weather etc.)
- 16 oz butternut squash (1 butternut squash is perfect!)
- 1.5 oz parmesan
- pinch of ground nutmeg
- 1 egg yolk
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/3 butter or olive oil
- sage leave
- your favorite fresh tomato sauce (my dad and I make heirloom tomato sauce toward the end of the summer into fall, which works well with this pasta)
- Pasta: Place flour on a clean surface or cutting board. Make a well in the center of the flour. Add the two eggs and two egg yolks to the well in the flour. With a fork, whisk the eggs together, slowly incorporating the surrounding flour.
- Once the eggs and flour are mixed well, you can add water if needed until a soft, malleable dough forms.
- Knead the dough for 5 minutes until it becomes smooth and if you poke a finger in the dough, the dough bounces back. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, or cover with a kitchen towel and let it rest for 30 minutes.
- Filling: Mix together butternut squash, parmesan, nutmeg, and egg yolk in a bowl.
- Forming the Pasta: Divide the dough into four pieces, keeping the pieces you are not using covered. Using a pasta rolling attachment (I use the attachment to my Kitchen Aid) or a rolling pin, roll the dough paper thin so you can see your fingers through it.
- With a fluted pastry cutter, cut the dough into 2 1/2 inch squares. Place an overflowing teaspoon of the butternut mixture in the center of each square. Brush or dab water or egg white on two of the sides of the square. Fold one corner to the other corner to form a triangle. Seal the edges tightly and push the air out of the center as well. Lastly, fold the two outer corners of the triangle together (you are almost wrapping it around the filling part, creating a hat shape) and press tightly.
- Let the pasta rest on a well floured surface for up to two hours. *at this point you can place the pasta on a floured tray and freeze them overnight, then transfer them to a plastic bag or container to save for another day*
- Cook the pasta in a pot of boiling salt water, until they float — about 6 minutes.
- Sage Butter: While the pasta is boiling, heat the butter or oil, then add the sage and let the cook for a few minutes. Add a scoop of the pasta water to the sage mixture. When the pasta is ready, add to the sage butter. Top with parmesan. Tomato Sauce: Heat the sauce in a pan, add a scoop of pasta water, add the pasta when done cooking, and top with parmesan.