The foods of Emilia Romagna include such staples as Parmigiano cheese, balsamic vinegar and prosciutto. There is no surprise that these ingredients find their way into many recipes in the region and the cuisine of Ravenna is based on many of these traditional specialties. One of the most basic dish is the famous piadina, a flatbread. It is made with flour, lard or olive oil, salt and water. The dough was originally cooked on a terracotta dish, although now flat pans or electric griddles are commonly used. Ravenna is renowned for homemade pasta. This is why many recipes are based on tagliatelle, pappardelle, cappelletti and tortelli, which is especially loved and typically filled with ricotta and spinach. Another specialty is are cappelletti. This pasta is prepared with a filling of Parmigiano-Reggiano, Grana Padano or Robiola cheese and meat, usually chicken if it is to be served in a broth.
Girelle di Sfoglia
The Girelle di Sflogia is a puff pastry appetizer filled with Prosciutto di Parma. Perfect even cold, you can prepare them well in advance of dinner parties and luncheons.
1 package of puff pastry
5 oz Prosciutto di Parma
2 oz grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1 egg yolk with a little bit of milk to brush
Roll out the rectangular puff pastry and place the prosciutto on top to cover the entire surface, leaving 3/8” uncovered on the long side of the pastry. Spread the grated Parmigiano on the prosciutto. Roll up the long side creating a roll and wet the end with water so that the swivels do not open once the cooking edge is closed.
Slice the roll in 3/8” thick swirls and place 2” apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush the surface of the swirl with the egg yolk mixed with a few drops of milk. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 400°F for about 15 minutes, until they are golden brown.
Sformato di Parmigiano Reggiano
Sformato is usually prepared in individual servings. It is like a flan, but made with Parmigiano Reggiano and unlike any that you’ve tried. Served with a simple salad and prosciutto, it makes an elegant and delicious lunch.
4 oz of grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1 cup of fresh cream
1 tsp of cornstarch
salt and pepper to taste
nutmeg to taste
butter to taste
Place the cream in a saucepan. Melt the cornstarch with a spoonful of water and add to the cream, stirring carefully. Add a little salt, freshly ground pepper and a sprinkling of nutmeg. Place the saucepan on the stove and bring the contents to a boil.
Meanwhile, beat the eggs with a whisk together with grated Parmigiano Reggiano. When the cream is boiling, remove from the heat and add some to the eggs beaten with Parmigiano Reggiano, stirring quickly to bring the eggs to temperature and carefully stir in the remaining cream.
When the mixture is ready, you can fill individual baking molds or put in a small baking dish. Make sure to coat with butter before pouring in the mixture. Leave at least 3/8” from the top if using individual molds. Place the molds (or small baking pan) into a high-sided pan and add water to the pan, making sure not to wet the mixture. Cook for 20 minutes in a preheated 300 °F oven. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. If using molds, remove and serve with a few drops of balsamic vinegar and some prosciutto and a green salad.
This stuffed pasta is usually served in a broth, rather than in a sauce. Allow about 10-15 cappelletti for one bowl of soup.
On a board or in a large bowl, add flour and make a well in the middle. Crack the eggs into the center and beat with a fork, gradually scraping in the flour from the perimeter to incorporate. When it gets too thick to stir, turn out onto floured board and knead for 10-15 minutes. Put in a lightly oiled bowl and cover to keep from drying out. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
Set up a pasta machine with rollers open to the widest setting. Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces and keep covered. Flour the rollers of the pasta machine. Take one piece of pasta, flatten it with your hands and run it through the machine at its widest setting. Fold the dough into thirds to make a square shape and run it through again. Repeat several times, decreasing the space between the rollers until you reach the smallest setting. Working quickly, place rolled-out pasta on lightly floured surface and cut into 2-inch squares using a pizza cutter or sharp knife.
To make the filling
Combine all of the ingredients to form a fine paste (use a food processor).
To make the cappelletti
Place ½ teaspoon of filling in the center of a square and fold into a triangle, corner to corner, pressing on the edges to seal. Moisten edges with your fingers dipped in water if they don’t adhere. Bring the two pointy corners toward each other, overlapping slightly and press to join. They should sit flat like the little hats they are. Lay them in a single layer on a rimmed, floured cookie sheet and cover with plastic wrap while filling the rest of the pasta squares. Repeat until all the pasta is used.
When serving in broth, gently boil the cappelletti in broth until they are done, 3-5 minutes (the pasta should be al dente). For each serving, 10-15 cappelletti in a brimming bowl of broth should be sufficient.