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Homemade Pasta: Cappellacci di Zucca from Ferrara

Cappellacci di Zucca – Italian Pumpkin Ravioli

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  • Author: Kathy Bechtel
  • Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x


Cappellacci di Zucca is a ravioli like fresh pasta stuffed with pumpkin filling and served with a classic butter and sage sauce.


Units Scale
  • 5 eggs
  • 3 1/2 cups 350 g. all purpose or pasta flour (14 ounces), plus more for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 1/4 lbs. 1 kg. butternut or other flavorful winter squash or pumpkin
  • 1 cup 180 g. freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons 85 g. unsalted butter
  • 1 bunch fresh sage leaves
  • 3/4 cup 130 g. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Light, delicate pasta comes from working the dough as much as possible to develop the elasticity of the flour’s protein, or gluten. Kneading and then gradually rolling, stretching and thinning the dough lengthens the gluten strands, producing tender and resilient pasta. Shortcutting the process results in heavy noodles.
  2. Measuring the flour: Weighing the flour is preferable, but if no scale is available, spoon the flour from the sack into a measuring cup, and level with a knife. Do not tamp or tap the cup.
  3. Mound the flour in the center your counter. Make a well in the middle. Add the eggs, and using a fork, beat until well mixed. Gradually start incorporating a bit of the flour from the sides of the well into the eggs. As you continue to work the flour into the eggs, the sides of the well may collapse. Use a pastry scraper to keep the liquids from running off and to incorporate the last bits of flour into the dough.
  4. With the aid of the scraper to scoop up any pieces, start kneading the dough. Once it becomes a cohesive mass, use the scraper to remove any bits of hard flour from the work surface. Knead the dough about 3 minutes. It should be elastic and a little sticky. If it is too sticky to move easily, knead in a few more tablespoons of flour. Continue kneading 10 minutes, or until the dough has become satiny, smooth, and very elastic. Poke your finger into the dough, if the indentation made by your finger does not disappear, continue to knead. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and allow to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes to 3 hours. Skipping this rest step does not have much effect.
  5. Work with one fifth of the dough at a time, keeping the rest wrapped. Lightly flour the machine rollers and the work surface around the machine. Set the rollers at the widest setting. Flatten the dough into a thick patty. Guide it through the rollers by inserting one end into the space between the two rollers. Turn the crank handle with one hand while holding the upturned palm of your other hand under the sheet emerging from the rollers. Keep your palm flat to protect the dough from punctures by your fingers.
  6. As the emerging sheet lengthens, guide it away from the machine with your palm. Pass the dough through the rollers five to six times, folding it in thirds each time. Then set the rollers at the next narrower setting and pass the dough through three times, folding it in half each time. Repeat, passing it through three times at each successively narrower setting. Repeated stretching and thinning builds up elasticity making especially light pasta. If the sheet becomes too long to handle comfortably, cut it in half or thirds and work the pieces in tandem.
  7. Don’t worry if at first the dough tears, has holes, is lumpy, or is very moist. Just lightly flour it by pulling the dough over the floured work surface. As you keep putting it through the rollers, it will be transformed from slightly lumpy and possibly torn to a smooth, satiny sheet with fine elasticity.
  8. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Lightly oil a baking sheet. Cut the squash or squashes in half, scoop out the seeds and dispose of them. Place the halves cut side down on the sheet pan. Bake the squash for 1 hour, or until the squash are easily pierced with a knife. Allow to cool.
  9. Scoop out the flesh of the squash. Place in a bowl, and mash with a potato masher. Stir in the cheese. Grate in a bit of nutmeg; just enough to give it a nice, soft taste, but be careful – it can quickly overwhelm the filling.
  10. Roll out the pasta dough as described above, making it thin enough to see the orange squash through the sheet. Once rolled out, work with one sheet at a time, keeping the others covered with plastic wrap. Using a knife, cut 3 1/2 to 4 inch squares. Cut no more than 5 at a time to keep the dough from drying out.
  11. Place a generous spoonful of filling in the center of each square. Fold the square in half, forming a triangle, and force out the air as you seal the edges together. Moisten the edges with water or egg if necessary, to seal them. Then form an oversize tortellino by bringing the two ends together, folding one over the other and sealing. Place them on a baking sheet that has been sprinkled with flour or semolina, without touching each other. Continue filling and shaping until done.
  12. Melt the butter with about 20 or so sage leaves in a small saucepan. I like to brown the butter, which gives it a great “nutty” flavor, but is not the way it was served in Ferrara! Set aside and keep warm. Warm the serving bowls. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a rapid boil over high heat. Salt. Drop in the cappellacci, cooking in batches so as not to overcrowd the pot. Cook for about 3 minutes, or until the edges of the pasta are tender but still firm to the bite. These are too fragile to drain in a colander. Instead, use a spider or large slotted spoon to gently scoop the cappellacci from the boiling water, allowing the water to drain. Place them in the warm serving bowls. Sprinkle with cheese, and top with a bit of the melted butter. Season with salt and pepper, and garnish with a few fresh sage leaves.
  • Prep Time: 2 hours
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Main Course
  • Cuisine: Italian
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