Recipes

Mateo Zielonka's cappelletti filled with
potato & mint, served in a mascarpone dill sauce

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Potatoes served with mint were a staple food of my childhood growing up in Poland, so any pasta that contains them is high up on my favourites list. The first time I had a potato-filled pasta was in Sardinia, where gulurgiones are a traditional pasta dumpling quite similar to Polish pierogi. Pasta, dumplings, double-carbs - what's not to like? This shape, cappelletti, means 'little hats', and the filling is inspired by these two special food memories. The addition of extra egg yolks gives this pasta dough a beautiful golden tone. If you're able to buy rich-yolk eggs then use those for an even richer colour. You can use the egg whites to make meringues - pavlova, anyone? - or simply freeze them to use another day.

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To make rich egg pasta dough:


  1. Place the flour on a clean worktop or pastry board and shape it into a mound. Make a well in the centre and crack the eggs into it.

  2. Using a fork, break the eggs yolks and start to whisk them, drawing in the flour a little at the time. Continue to combine with the fork, then when everything starts to come together, begin to knead the dough.

  3. Use the heel of your hand and push away from you, using your other hand to turn the dough 90 degrees after each knead - you will soon develop a lovely rhythm. Continue to knead for 8-10 minutes until the dough is nice and smooth.

  4. Now form the dough into a flat disc, as this will make it much easier to roll out later.

  5. Place the dough in an airtight container and rest it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

  6. Resting it makes the structure of the dough smoother and more pliable, so it's much easier to roll out and shape.

To make the filling:


  1. Fill a medium-sized pan with cold water and add the potatoes. Bring to the boil, season well with table salt, and cook the potatoes until they are just soft, around 15 minutes or so.

  2. Drain and mash using a potato masher or ricer and allow to cool a little.

  3. Finely chop the mint leaves and add them to the potato along with the Parmesan and lemon zest. Mix well together and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, then leave to one side until you are ready to fill the cappelletti.

To make the cappelletti:


  1. Take a quarter piece of the pasta dough, leaving the rest covered until you're ready to use it, and start rolling the dough twice through each setting on your pasta machine, starting at 0 and finishing on setting no 6. Rolling twice each time gives you a better, more pliable texture.

  2. Dust a clean work surface or board with 00 flour and place the first sheet of pasta onto it. Using a 7.5cm/3in plain round cookie cutter, cut out as many circles as possible.

  3. Gather the leftover scraps and cover them to re-roll with the other leftovers when you've rolled and cut the rest of your dough, but first fill the circles you've just made.

  4. Take a heaped teaspoonful of the potato filling and place it in the centre of the circles.

    Take each one and fold the dough over to create a half-moon shape, holding the flat edge towards you and sealing the edges of the dough together. Press a finger into the fold to make a small indent, then pinch the two ends together to form a little hat shape.

  5. Place each cappelletti onto a tray dusted with fine semolina or rice flour (this will stop them from sticking), then continue to cut, fill and shape the remainder of the dough.

  6. Finally, re-roll the scraps to make as many more little hats as you can, or simply wrap and freeze them to cook in a minestrone soup another day.

  7. When you're ready to cook the cappelletti, bring a large pan of water to the boil before seasoning with a generous amount of table salt, then drop in the pasta and cook for 2 minutes.

  8. Meanwhile set a wide saucepan onto a medium heat, add the mascarpone along with half a ladle of the hot pasta cooking water, mix them together with a wooden spoon until the mascarpone has completely melted.

  9. Now, using a slotted spoon, transfer the pasta to the sauce, adding more pasta cooking water if needed to keep the sauce loose, squeeze over the lemon juice and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  10. Serve onto four plates, finishing the dish with sprigs of dill and a generous grating of Parmesan.

About Mateo

Mateo Zielonka, known as the Pasta Man to his social media fans, is executive chef at 180 Studios, a collaborative arts and media space in the Strand, London. Polish-born, Mateo developed a passion for pasta after moving to London and loves to add his own twist to traditional Italian recipes. He has published two cook books, The Pasta Man and Pasta Masterclass, and more recipes can be found on his website, mateo.kitchen.

Serves

4

Time

80

Difficulty

Hard

Ingredients

400g/14oz rich egg pasta dough

260g/9oz of Italian 00 flour, plus more for dusting

2 whole eggs + 3 egg yolks

For the filling:

2 whole eggs + 3 egg yolks

1 small bunch of mint, leaves picked (discard the stalks)

55g/2oz Parmesan cheese, grated, plus extra to serve

Zest of 1 lemon

For the sauce:

200g/7 oz mascarpone

Ladleful of pasta cooking water

Juice of one lemon

To serve:

Dill, a few sprigs

Parmesan, finely grated

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