Asparagus and Mascarpone Cappellacci in Red Cabbage Broth | Cappellacci Ripieni di Asparagi e Mascarpone in Brodo di Cavolo Rosso
Disclaimer: Our pals at Rio Vista Olives sent us the incredible oil that we cook with in this post. Like everything that we recommend on our blog, we use and love it, and hope that you will too!
One of little Al’s favourite things is our weekend trip to the markets. We’ve got a routine now, that starts with a snack and a coffee – decaf macchiato for him, double espresso for me, followed by the butcher, deli, and wholefood shop, before finishing with the fruit and veggies at our favourite little grocer, Ziggy’s Fresh. Little Al talks about it all week and tells anyone who’ll listen.
If you remember way back, we actually once dedicated another special cappellacci recipe to the friendly folks at Ziggy’s. It had been literally decades since I even knew the people who sold me my food, so the least that we could do was invent a dish for our new friends. Especially after they sourced us a same-week box of nettles, at the very end of the season, after a random Instagram message from me…
Anyway, since then, Little Al’s grown to the mighty age of two, and has found a best pal in one particular member of the Ziggy’s crew, Claire. Before we can even settle down for our coffee, he has to check that she’s in, usually at the counter behind the strawberries. Every week she finds the time to chat with him, give him a flower, or play a quick game of hide and seek around the store, and I really can’t say how grateful we are for that. Not only for the way that this supports a hopefully life-long healthy relationship with food, but more importantly the simple but profound impact that a friendship like this, between an adult and a child, can have on a little person.
This week’s recipe uses the freshest and finest ingredients hand-picked from Ziggy’s by little Al; everything from asparagus and red cabbage, to micro-herbs and cheese. We do like a good trip to the deli for our cheese, but this is easier said than done when your tiny co-shopper decides that it’s time for running laps. After helping to whip him into this frenzy with hide and seek, Ziggy’s benevolently provided a cheese cabinet, so we quickly added mascarpone and crumbled feta to our basket before running a few more circuits and heading home.
So here it is then, dedicated to Claire, and all of those fine people out there who take the time for the little gestures that make such big impacts. Asparagus and mascarpone cappellacci, made with a spinach-spiralled dough, and served in a red cabbage broth with feta, pistachios, and shiso micro-greens. It’s a big call, and maybe we’re a little biased, but we think you’ll love it.
This dish came together in my head as I brushed my teeth the night before I made it, so everyone was a little surprised when it turned out to be such a winner. Perhaps one of the most delicious things that we’ve dreamed up so far for this blog. For the sake of impartiality (of a kind), Forty-Two Cakes confirms that it was indeed a winner. We wanted something that was colourful, light, and had a balance of subtle flavours, and we think that this is it. With a bright purple broth, it was also hard to resist doing something a bit fun with the pasta. So of course we made spirals!
Despite initial appearances, the whole thing’s pretty straightforward. It might resemble some of the more time-consuming stuff that we’ve made in the past, but we promise that you can pull this off effortlessly in little more than an hour. That said, If the spirals seem just too daunting, either mix all of the dough ingredients together to make one big old lump of pale green dough, or check out any of our previous spinach-based doughs (like our spinach ravioli), or even plain doughs (like we used for our farfalle), for perfectly respectable substitutions.
So, start off with that dough, ideally working one at a time. Mix the flours together and then divide into two even amounts. Half of the egg and oil into each, then spinach into one and water into the other. Knead for 10 minutes, then rest for 30.
To prepare the broth, simply sauté the red cabbage, onion, garlic, and peppercorns until soft, then add in the rest of the broth ingredients and simmer for around 20 minutes. Strain the liquid out but don’t throw away that cabbage! For a great side dish, we like to mix it with some blanched greens and dress it all with olive oil, lemon juice, a little minced garlic, and maybe a bit of crumbly cheese.
For the filling, blanch the asparagus, and then blend it into the mascarpone and breadcrumbs, before sticking it into a piping bag. If it’s your kind of thing (it’s ours), hang onto the tips for plating.
Now the pasta! Roll each piece of dough through your pasta machine to a medium-thin thickness. We’ve got a 9-thickness machine, so for us that’s a setting of 5. To laminate, lay one out flat, give it a spritz of water, and then smooth the second piece down on top. Pass it through the machine up to a thick setting of 3, spritz the top of it again, and then roll it into a tight log, short end to short end.
Use a sharp knife to cut your pasta log into thin discs (this recipe should allow around 28), and then roll each of those through the machine to a setting of 5. Make sure that you keep any pasta you’re not working on covered up, to prevent it drying out. If you find that it is drying, use a light spritz of water to soften it up.
Finally, squeeze a grape-sized lump of filling into the centre of each piece, fold it in half pressing down around the filling to seal, and then cut a semi-circle with the dough fold along the straight edge. A round cookie cutter is just the ticket! Turn it into cappellacci by drawing the corners around the filling, and pinching gently slightly behind where the points meet.
Cook them al dente (of course), and serve them up in that broth, topped with the asparagus tips, crumbled feta, zucchini ribbons, pistachios, and shiso.
As always, have fun and keep loving pasta. And always save a smile for a little person.
– Al & Al.
- Air tight container for resting
- Food processor
- Piping bag with medium round tip (alternatively, you can use a teaspoon)
- Pasta roller and cutter (if not using a rolling pin and knife)
- Round cookie cutter, optional
- 100 g 00 flour
- 50 g durum semolina flour
- 1 egg
- 20 g spinach
- 1 tbsp water
- 1 tsp oil extra virgin (we used Rio Vista Olives’ Nothin’ But Classic)
- 140 g mascarpone
- 80 g asparagus note: tips used for plating
- 35 g breadcrumbs
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 onion
- 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
- 300 g red cabbage
- 300 ml stock
- small handful parsley
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 zucchini ribboned
- Handful of roasted pistachios
- 2 tbsp crumbled feta
- Asparagus tips retained from pasta filling
- Small handful shiso micro-herbs
- Mix the flours together, setting half aside and forming a well out of the remainder. Drop the spinach, half a teaspoon of olive oil, and half of the egg into the centre of the well, and bring together into a ball. For a more vibrant and consistent colour, blitz in a food processor for one minute.
- Knead vigorously for 10 minutes, then cover in cling wrap and set aside to rest for 30 minutes, away from heat and direct sunlight.
- Similarly, prepare a well with the remaining flour, mixing in the other half a teaspoon of oil, the remaining egg, and two tablespoons of water into the centre. Knead for 10 minutes, and then cover and rest for 30 minutes.
- While the dough is resting, sauté the red cabbage, onion, garlic, and peppercorns in one tablespoon of olive oil, over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring regularly. Once the onion begins to soften and turn translucent, add in the stock, parsley, bay leaves, and salt, and simmer at low-medium heat for a further 15-20 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain out the broth. We like to retain the cabbage and serve it as a side, tossed with some blanched greens, olive oil, crumbled feta, and lemon juice.
- Next, prepare the filling by blanching the asparagus in boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Set aside the tips, and then blend the stalks with the mascarpone, breadcrumbs, and salt. Note that you can retain the asparagus cooking water to later cook the pasta in. Transfer the blended filling to a piping bag fitted with a medium round tip.
- Once the dough has rested, and working with one ball at a time, roll it through the pasta machine at the thickest setting a few times, folding each sheet over itself in between passes. Then gradually step them through to a medium-thin thickness (5 on our 9-thickness machine).
- To laminate, lay one sheet out flat on a lightly floured surface, spritz the exposed side lightly with water, and then lay the second sheet on top, smoothing out any air bubbles with your hand as you go. Roll back through the machine at a thicker setting (3 on our machine).
- Spritz the surface of the laminated sheet with water, and then carefully roll up into a tight log, short-end to short-end. Use a sharp knife to cut across the pasta, forming spiralled discs of around 3-4mm thickness. For this original recipe of 300g flour, form approximately 28 discs.
- Cover any pasta that you’re not using to prevent it drying out, and then roll each disc through the pasta machine to a medium-thin thickness (5 on a 9-thickness machine). Squeeze a grape-sized amount of filling into the centre of each piece, and fold in half, using your fingers to press down around the filling and seal the pasta. Cut a semicircle around the filling, with the dough fold on the flat side, and then bring the corners around the filling to meet. Pinch gently, slightly behind where the points meet, to complete the shape, and transfer to lightly-floured baking paper lined oven trays.
- Drop the cappellacci into lightly salted boiling water, and cook until al dente (firm, but no white showing when you cut across the dough). This could take more than 10 minutes depending on the thickness of the pasta. Drain, and serve in the broth with the asparagus tips, crumbled feta, zucchini ribbons, pistachios, and micro-herbs.