All posts tagged: cooking

Full Cappelletti (or Ravioli) Recipe from Motherlode

I uploaded the full, 11 minute long pasta making video I made for my cousin (minus the NYT intro) to YouTube. You should be able to see it above, but if not, it’s here.

Ready to roll.

I posted a video and some thoughts about sharing a kitchen’s worth of ethnic heritage to the NYT Motherlode, and several commenters asked for the full recipe, so here goes. This is SO not in proper NYT recipe style! But it’s worked for years. Decades. Generations. I guess that’s the point.



1 lb ground meat mixture (pork/beef/chicken) fried in ½ stick butter
3 cups grated cheese, half romano, half parmesan
1 cup bread crumbs
salt, pepper
3 garlic cloves
pinch nutmeg
3 eggs

Fry meat in butter with three garlic cloves, add salt, pepper. Remove garlic cloves after cooking. Add pinch nutmeg. When cool add beaten eggs, cheese, bread crumbs, mix well. Refrigerate at least an hour or over night. Can freeze extra filling, but do NOT defrost in microwave—let it defrost in fridge. I know, that seems obvious, but still.


Food processor before gasping last desperate breaths.

4 eggs
approx. 2 ¼ cups flour

Mix eggs in mixer or food processor, add all flour, mix slowly until dough ball forms, then switch do dough hook and let it beat around a while. Take it out and knead it by hand, then leave it in the fridge until ready to use. At least an hour is best, but you can use it right away if you don’t mind sticky. I should probably say I have killed two food processors this way, but this last one has hung on a while.

Part-way mixed.

Ready to come out and knead by hand.

Squoosh, squoosh. It’s harder than it looks. Italian grandmas have great arms.

You can see another post on making pasta, with more detailed illustrations on rolling it (although I made spaghetti with it that time, but the dough is always the same) here.

You’ll have to watch the video for the fold, and you can also see my mother making the filling with me grilling her at every step (and you can hear how approximate the recipe really is, as she sits there going “well, I think I put in a cup of bread crumbs…maybe half a cup, it just depends) and watch me make a small batch of dough with her grilling me at every step (and me saying “well, I think I put in a cup of flour, it depends…). Or you can just make ravioli, which you make exactly like you’d think you’d make them. Fold the dough over the filling, cut, seal. Mom does that way at the end of the video, about minute 10.

A perfect sheet of dough.

Cappelletti, I need hardly say, goes in soup. Any soup. Growing up, my mom used Wyler’s beef boullion cubes, which I can’t even spell now, let alone find, and I loved it them. I use boxed chicken broth, or very occasionally real soup, which is honestly too rich most of the time.

Ravioli goes in sauce. I make my sauce with a big can of Muir Glen diced tomatoes with garlic and basil. First I sauté extra grated garlic, and maybe some grated onion, then I add salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar, and then I puree the hell out of it with my hand blender because I hate chunky sauce.

And that’s it. We freeze it in bags suited for a meal, I serve 8 ravioli to kids and 12 to adults, and figure 10-12 cappeletti each for soup. It lasts months, particularly if you have hoarding tendencies. Make a double batch of sauce, freeze half, and it’s practically an instant meal the next time. Loaf of bread, bottle of wine, you’re ready to go. I hope someone tries it. I hope my cousin Ashlyn tries it!


Rory turns the handle, circa 2011.

KJFull Cappelletti (or Ravioli) Recipe from Motherlode
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A Perfect Afternoon; or, Why Activities Are Bad; or Spaghetti Zucchini Carbonara: Yum!

Did I say it was a perfect afternoon? It was a perfect afternoon.

All children were successfully picked up after what must have been a successful day at school. Wyatt needed a few minutes of snuggling, which no other child objected to my granting. Music Teacher extraordinaire arrived, and music commenced. Homework was voluntarily embarked on. There was some bickering over the homework table, where the children without homework were doing mazes, loudly and competitively, because some children can do anything loudly and competitively. I explained to Sam why if you had a square foot to be filled with 6 inch square tiles, you would need 4 tiles, not two.

And then it was time to contemplate dinner. Dinner was planned. Dinner was on the iCal: Spaghetti Carbonara. With home-made noodles, because later this week, I’ll be bringing ravioli to Lily’s classroom for her “unique week” and although I have filling in the freezer, I needed to make the dough, and so why not make extra for dinner?

But Spaghetti Carbonara, while delicious and a perfect use for the three pieces of bacon I had in the fridge, seemed a little lacking in green stuff. And while I’d planned a salad, I found myself uninspired. I thought about raiding the garden for cherry tomatoes for Spaghetti Tomato Carbonara, but we’ve eaten a mighty lot of cherry tomatoes lately. But thinking of the garden led me, as it does many gardeners this time of year, to think of zucchini. Heck, zucchini is an honest italian veggie. At first, I thought I’d sauté it up and serve it next to the Carbonara, but that seemed so uninteresting. And so Spaghetti Zucchini Carbonara was born. Clearly you could call it Zucchini Spaghetti Carbonara, or Spaghetti Carbonara Zucchini. I’m flexible. Whatever you call it, it was delicious, and if you have a few zucchini around the house (and if you don’t, ask a gardening neighbor and you soon will), I highly recommend it. Yes, I martha stewarded my own noodles, but you needn’t. It would be just as delicious without. I suggest fusili.

Chopped bacon, diced zucchini: I was going for the same general size.

First, I chopped the zucchini and the bacon into bite sized pieces (keeping in mind that I could expect major shrinkage from the bacon). I used only one zucchini. Next time I’ll use two, as zucchini turns out to do some major shrinking here, too.

Floury pasta sheets. My dough was a little sticky.

Well, no, actually first I made pasta dough and rolled it out, which you can, if you really want to, see in more detail here. But we’ve already agreed that you’re using fusili. Next week, I’m using fusili.

I cooked it on low, because my burners run way too hot.

First I cooked up the bacon about half way to crisp. It let out lots of good bacon fat, perfect for when I added the zucchini. I cook it on low–burning it would taint the whole thing, and I am an impatient cook who often burns bacon. Not today! Probably on a regular stove, as opposed to an insane fire-breathing behemoth with burners that send flames shooting out to get you, medium would be about right.

By the way I really need a stove repair person.

I love the microplane for grating garlic.

I dumped in the zucchini–again, next time I’ll use twice as much–and let’s don’t kid ourselves, that stuff fried right up. “Sauté” my ass. I grated in two big cloves of garlic and, when the bacon and zucchini looked delicious, deglazed the lot with about 1/3 cup of wine. I did not measure the wine. Think a couple good glugs. Certainly not more than half a cup and I think a little less.

First time for this big boy job with the grater "which could really cut a tomato in half really it could."

Pros. WIth a stepstool.

Meanwhile my sous chefs grated cheese and put the pasta through the spaghetti cutter. It’s the first time I’ve pretty much left them to it, and it mostly worked out. Some of it was kinda stuck together, and some of it was on the floor for a bit, but hey, it gets boiled. In nice salty water, btw. That’s true of the fusili too. Really really salty water.

After the whisking.

Next, I cracked one egg into a pyrex and whisked it up with a cup or a little less of grated parmesan cheese.. I let the bacon/wine/zucchini/garlic cool a little, and then I whisked it into the egg/parmesan. The idea is that it cooks the egg up into a creamy sauce. You don’t want to add the egg to the pan, though, or you will have zucchini bacon wine garlic scrambled egg. If you do it in a cool pyrex (or any bowl, including your serving bowl–less dishes!) you’ll be fine. You won’t, however, be able to take a picture while you do it. Unless you have three arms, in which case you really should take a picture of that. I have to say it doesn’t look nearly as good as it tasted.

Actually I forgot the parmesan and added after, but that’s how I usually do it. Or you could add it after. This methodology is all courtesy of Cook’s Illustrated, btw, although it’s years since I actually looked at the recipe.

Serve with bread and butter and more cheese. And maybe a salad, but I didn't.


This was really so, so good, and it wasn’t because of the pasta–in fact, a more rugged pasta would actually be better in many ways. And everyone ate it, although two customers did pick out their zucchini, and a third picked his out, and then ate it that way–but no one actually objected to it, and I’ll bet after I make it a few dozen more times they’ll eat the whole thing. I loved it.

KJA Perfect Afternoon; or, Why Activities Are Bad; or Spaghetti Zucchini Carbonara: Yum!
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The Garden Produce Project

Our garden is done for the year, except for a few pumpkins that refused to turn orange (our plan is to spray paint them in glitter and go all Martha Stewart on their asses). The productive harvest is in the house. Tonight we ate soup made with the beans we grew (the shelling kind, not green beans) which was unfortunately not very good, though the beans themselves were delicious. Two ham hocks=too salty for one soup. (Good biscuits tho!)

And we made a chocolate zucchini cake and invented/adapted a recipe for Apple Zucchini Oatmeal Muffins which turned out quite tasty. And now I will make another zucchini cake, and another dozen muffins, for the freezer.

And there will still be a couple of giant zukes and a basket of apples to go. I cannot imagine what life with a real garden would involve. Canning. Jams. Sauces. I did make pesto, but I just put it in the fridge.

I can’t believe summer’s gone. I can’t believe it will be all snow and mittens soon. In past years, i’ve been pretty proud of our rugged ski it, skate on it and make it your own philosophy, but I’m having some trouble putting my heart into it this time around. Still, it’s coming. Might as well try to be zen.

KJThe Garden Produce Project
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