In Italy, especially in Southern Italy, there is a famous saying, which reads “passata la festa, gabbatu lu santu” (something like “once the holiday is gone, the saint is duped“, more or less the same meaning as “once on shore we pray no more“) … in a nutshell, when somebody obtains something he/she really wanted, he/she often forget very quickly the thing he/she obtained.
So, quickly after Christmas holidays, it’s easy to forget the relax and the sumptuous lunches we had at Christmas.
But I say NO to this bad habit to forget too quickly, so I’m publishing now three recipes to remember Christmas when it’s already gone (sooooo gone). Two of these recipes are very traditional one, while one is a “leftovers” one, but all have something in common, Mr. Capon (which has already suffered castration in life, and deserves a little celebration, uh?!).
The first of these recipes, a very traditional one (and very festive), typical of Emilia region (but there’s a “war” between Modena and Bologna about their origin), tortellini in a capon broth. Needless to say, this is not a family recipe.. well, not my family, at least. I “stole” Sara’s family recipe (Sara aka Fiordifrolla), and I slightly modified it.
- FOR FRESH PASTA (rolled out with pasta machina)
- 5 eggs
- 400 g flour
- 100 g of durum wheat semolina (if you roll out pasta with a rolling pin, you could use only plain flour)
- FOR THE FILLING
- extra-virgin olive oil
- 150 g minced pork meat (pork loin) – Sara uses 100 g of pork loin and 50 g of minced beef, but I preferred using only pork meat
- half a glass of white wine
- 150 g Mortadella Bologna I.G.P
- 100 g of Parma cured ham
- 170 g of grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- 1 egg
- half a teaspoon of nutmeg
- FOR THE BROTH
- home-made vegetable stock cube (instead of salt)
- The day before, prepare the filling: in a pan heat a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, brown the minced pork meat, pour half a glass of white wine and cook until its complete evaporation. Let the meat cool down and place it in a bowl, add the chopped ham and mortadella, the egg, grated Parmigiano Reggiano, nutmeg and mix all together until you have a smooth mixture. Taste it and, if necessary, add some salt to the taste. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and store it in the fridgeat least overnight.
- The next day, prepare the pasta: on a work surface (preferably wood) form a fountain with the two flours (the durum wheat semolina is necessary if you want to roll out the pasta with a pasta machina: the pasta has to be rougher; if you want to use a rolling pin, instead, you could use only plain flour), break the eggs in the center of it and start working with a fork, gradually taking some flour from the fountain. When the mixture is not liquid anymore, knead vigorously until you have a homogeneous, smooth and elastic dough. Put it in a ziplock bag (or in plastic wrap) or leave it under an upside down bowl (so that the dough doesn’t dry out) and let it rest for at least 1 hour at room temperature.
- Then roll out the pasta into a very thin sheet with a rolling pin or with the pasta machine (until the last notch). On a work surface and with the help of a pasta wheel (or a sharp knife) cut a lot of squares 4 cm x 4 cm maximum. Put a small ball of filling in the center of each square, and cover with a towel the part of dough that you’re not using, to prevent it from drying out.
- Now close your tortellini: take each square and fold it diagonally to obtain a triangle, pressing with your fingers on the vertex and on the two sides to seal it; then roll the two base angles around your index finger, applying a gentle pressure with the thumb (if you have doubts, check out the video at this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WM5M3y1EJzo , starting from minute 1:50). Arrange the tortellini on floured cardboard trays (if you want to freeze them, let them harden in the freezer still on the trays, and then store them in ziplock bags).
- Cook the tortellini in the capon broth (made with water, capon, carrot, onion, celery and salt -or, for me, home-made vegetable stock cube), and let them gently boil, serving them when still al dente.
Next time, you’ll find out how to use capon’s boiled meat, once you made the broth.