Monday, October 19, 2009

Sweet Potato Cappallacci

So this weekend, to keep myself out of trouble and from running amuck in the snack aisle out of boredom with my computer being out of commission, I decided it was time to get my first posting for my Cooking Italy blogging group done early so there would be fewer last minute "Oh this looks good enough moments". We are working our way through Marcella Hazan's wonderful book "Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking" which even though there are no pictures (intimidating at first for me) I can highly recommend.

Now this recipe was not quite as alarming as it might have been a week ago thanks to the pasta making class I had last week when I learned making the dough is actually pretty much a breeze...rolling it out , at least for the gnocchi we made last week, was a lot more of a pain. And I can honestly say now that at least for this recipe, it is not necessary to have tons of equipment to make pasta. All it takes is a table and for me, a cookie cutter.

Pasta Dough
3 eggs
Approximately 1 2/3 cups flour
1 tbsp milk

1 3/4 cups fresh sweet potatoes (I used canned for convenience)
2 amaretti cookies (could not find so I used a splash of amaretto)
1 egg yolk
3 tbsp prosciutto
1 1/2 cups freshly grated parmesan cheese
3 tbsp chopped parsley (I forgot this)
Whole Nutmeg (I used ground)

Butter Cheese Sauce
4 tbsp high quality butter
1 cup parmesan cheese

Now the actual mixing of the dough is fairly simple and actually pretty fun if you're slightly nuts like me and used to like working with the paper mache dough. Although after working with the dough this time, I've learned that it's definitely a lot easier if you flour your hands before starting to work the dough as your hands are at risk of being shellaced with pasta dough. Also, I'd fogotten to whisk the eggs when they were in the center being mixing it in with the dough so that made for a slightly messy moment when I startd to pull the dough together.

I took a hint from Marcella's book and rested the dough for a few hours which made it a lot easier to work with once I was ready to roll out the dough. Although I was not as precise as she was with rolling and turning and letting it hang to stretch, I still feel like I ended up with a perfectly respectable dough.

Once I had the dough rolled out as far as I could to the point where I was nicely close to it being translucent, it was time to cut. I had purchased a pastry/pasta cutter at the store but at the last minute felt nervous about being able to pull it off. So I opted instead for using a round cooking cutter and cutting out uniform circles of dough.

Now as the moment of truth. Actually getting the circles of dough to rememble ravioli. The fist half dozen were NOT pretty. Apparently it is a lot trickier for me to gauge the amount of filling needed than I had anticipated. So those early poor little raviolis were oozing filling and a little mutated.

By the time I had hit the halfway mark, I was feeling pretty good and had fairly nice looking ravioli. Unfortunatately I have no actual physical proof of this. Although this was one of the early success stories with just a little filling oozing out.

Once the ravioli had dried for about 20 minutes, I threw them into a pot of boiling water and fished them out with a sieve once they had floated to the top. I was only a little dubious about the whole thing at this point as I had never had sweet potato ravioli before so I bit into one (it'd fallen on the floor so I figured why not).

Oh my.

Oh my my my oh my.

I had learned that I LOVE sweet potato ravioli. It was absolutely amazing. And this was even before the deliciously cheesy sauce that I didn't even make correctly. Apparently I was supposed to toss the pasta with alternating butter and cheese. Instead I had decided to take the remaining sweet potato mix and melt it with the cheese and butter. It is a thick sauce but oh so very tasty.

I made about 2/3 of the recipe too and then gave up on rolling it out again so I just made a calzone out of the rest of it.

So the end result is definitely hands down better than any store bought ravioli I've bought. And if I have the time on a weekend, I would make it again. It's from start to end at least for me maybe about 4 hours worth of work including resting the dought.


  1. WOW! No kidding rolling out pasta dough is tough, but you did an excellent job! Mmmm, I wish I could taste them!

  2. You did a fabulous job! These look delicious!

  3. I felt like coming into work the day after I made them and yelling "I am the pasta queen" but figured I might want to wait and see how the next batch turned out first.

    It was fun and tasty though doing this.

  4. This is excellent ! I dream of making pasta dough at home, but thought i needed one of those pasta machine things. This I could certainly try... your end results look neat & flawless.

  5. Nat - making pasta at home not the quickest thing in the world but really a lot easier than what you would think it would be. Some of the more complex shapes might be trickier and time consuming but overall, not so bad that I feel intimidated by it. You can definitely do it.