Tonight I am writing to tell you about the sin of gluttony I committed this weekend... that is, to give you my recipe for Casoncelli bergamaschi! I must say that it was the first time I had ever made them... in my life I have only ever made Cappelletti and Tortelli di Zucca. Nevertheless they turned out really delicious! And of course I had to add a tasty wine variant... which gives a special flavour to the whole recipe!

Personally, I don't understand why making homemade fresh pasta nowadays is almost a miracle... especially among my peers. From my point of view, there is no good excuse not to make it: in just 10 minutes you prepare the dough, let it rest for half an hour (while you can do anything else), in 10 minutes you roll it out and quickly make tagliatelle and tagliolini... and if you have to make a stuffed pasta like this, in the half hour the dough rests, you prepare the filling... and then if you hire a boyfriend like me to work in 15 minutes you roll out and close 40 casoncelli 🙂 🙂 I don't understand why I think it is so difficult to make fresh pasta at home nowadays.

Casoncelli are a typical first course from Lombardy... which in Bergamo dialect are called Casonsèi. Like any traditional stuffed pasta, it has many local variations (you don't know how many disquisitions I have had in my life about cappelletti stuffing). Let me preface this by saying that I discovered that casoncelli existed about a week ago, when Francesco and I, strolling through Lovere, stopped at Nonna Iride's Raviolificio to buy half a kilo of fresh pasta... and it was indeed casoncelli!!!

I didn't know anything about this particular type of pasta... which I first boiled and then sautéed with garlic, butter, guanciale and sage that I had at home... only to discover that in the Bergamo area they are eaten just like this (actually they use pancetta... but do you want to put the guanciale from Amatrice???!!)

Since we loved them so much I decided to try making them... looking at some recipes... but being the wine lover that I am I made a little wine variant... read the recipe to find out which one 😉

casoncelli-bergamaschi-ricetta-1

Ingredients for about 40 large casoncelli (translated for 2 sewers like Francesco and me):

For the pasta:

  • 3 extra large fresh eggs (possibly those specifically for pasta)
  • 300 grams of 00 flour
  • a pinch of salt

For the filling:

  • 50g guanciale;
  • 100g salami;
  • 150 g of choice mince;
  • 50 g Parmesan cheese;
  • 1 abbot pear;
  • a knob of butter;
  • sage;
  • parsley;
  • 1 egg;
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil with a clove of garlic;
  • salt and pepper to taste;
  • 1 coffee cup of albana passita (Romagna is always and everywhere) I recommend this one Albana Passita from the TreRè winery.

Procedure:

    1. Start preparing the puff pastry... forget about the pastry board, eggs in the fountain etc. etc... I don't like to dirty half the kitchen: it's practical! Then take a bowl large enough to hold the flour and 3 eggs (the pinch of salt takes up little room) and mix everything with a fork until the liquids are completely absorbed.
    2. Turn the mixture upside down (I use this handy silicone sheet I bought on amazon Silikomart food-grade silicone mat 60 X 40 cmhygienic and very comfortable! There are many on sale for a few euros less... but they are generally smaller and therefore more uncomfortable! This one is really fantastic and of great quality... I even use it sometimes to bake instead of baking paper... unlike grandma's old chopping boards! This one you roll up and doesn't take up space, it's very smooth and doesn't line the fresh pasta and to clean it, you wash it under running water... it changed my life in the kitchen, I swear!) and knead until you get a smooth and compact loaf that isn't excessively hard, beating it to make it more elastic. Rinse and dry the bowl used earlier and tip it over the dough ball to let it rest 'indoors' for about 30 minutes.
    3. Let's move on to the filling. In a non-stick pan brown the mince with the knob of butter, the hand-chopped sage and the cup of raisin Albana. In the meantime, chop the salami, guanciale and dice the pear. Add them to the cooking meat.
    4. When the pear is soft too, tip the mixture into a bowl and add the Parmesan cheese, hand-chopped parsley, oil and whole egg... salt and pepper to taste... and mix well with a spoon. Place a few minutes in the freezer for a more workable dough.
    5. Take the dough and divide it into 2/3 pieces. You'll feel how much softer it is to work with. Take one piece and roll it out with a rolling pin... here's my secret, it's another fabulous piece from Silikomart... which isn't really an egg pasta rolling pin (it's supposedly made for sugarpaste) but it's absolutely perfect because it's super hygienic, washes out in a second and non-stick (so the dough doesn't stick to it). I always bought it on amazon together with the mat, here's the link 🙂 🙂 Silikomart, Matterello, 40 cm yes, I know, the purists of the wooden rolling pin are shuddering... but I don't want to be a desperate housewife 😉
    6. Roll out the dough with the Marcato Ampia 150 pasta machine I bought it at the Coop in Ravenna... and I paid 45 €... so I can't tell you how nervous I was when I saw it on Amazon for 38 € -.-" (of course there's the shipping... but if you buy a few more items the shipping is free or at least you amortise it and it's really convenient!) I love this machine because it takes up very little space and I clean it super fast with a damp sponge. I get up to grade 5 thickness on this machine. You're better off making narrower and longer sheets.
    7. With a pasta cutter (as big as you want the casoncelli to be... I personally like them nice and big and with lots of filling) cut out as many little discs as you can... then knead the leftover dough, remove it with the pasta machine and make more discs... if you have anything left over, turn it into tagliatella, which always fits... if you don't like it, you can use it to satisfy your boyfriend's hunger while you close the casoncelli 😀
    8. Take the dough out of the freezer... and make balls 2-3 cm in diameter. I came up with about 40 with those doses... but I had a predatory bird next to the filling so I don't actually know how many there were potentially 😀 😀 Place the balls on the discs and seal them tightly!casoncelli-bergamaschi-ricetta-3
    9. When you have finished closing all the casoncelli, arrange them on a plate with baking paper... or on your new Silikomart carpet 😉  and let them dry for a few minutes while the salted water is not boiling. In the meantime, heat butter and chopped sage in a non-stick frying pan... and if you want more slices of guanciale with a garlic clove and a few peppercorns.casoncelli-bergamaschi-ricetta-4
    10. Transfer the casoncelli with a Paderno skimmer gently so as not to break them up in the pan and toss them for a couple of minutes in the butter, sage and guanciale... with a tablespoon of cooking water and a grating of Parmesan... and a little more pepper too! Now on the table...and hurry up and take the photo they'll be done in no time 😉

ca-del-bosco-maurizio_zanella-sebino-redObviously with a pasta like this... the wine must be up to the mark! I happily paired it with a Sebino Rosso I.G.T. 'Maurizio Zanella' from Ca' del Bosco. Franciacorta is not just bubbles, although I for one am inclined to consider it as such. Cabernet sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet franc, selected from the company's best vineyards, skilfully vinified and aged in small oak barrels, guarantee a grainy wine, powerful and harmonious at the same time, capable of maturing for decades.

Another extraordinary wine from Ca' del Bosco which, as I will never tire of reminding you, is not synonymous with Cuvée Prestige. If you'd like to read HERE my report on the Ca' del Bosco company!

What can I say... I'm getting Bergamasque! And if I can be honest... Casoncelli vs Cappelletti 1-0. They really are amazing! I know that home is always home... but try them: they're really worth it!

Try making this tasty recipe... and leave me a comment 😉

See you soon,

Chiara

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