Cappelletti are a noble plate - the stuffed egg pasta of holidays - that in central Italy is enjoyed served in capon or hen broth.
The tradition to eat them for the holidays - at Christmas, but also in the heat of August for the Assumption of the Virgin Mary - derives from the fact that Cappelletti were the food of the rich and more humble families treated themselves to it only on special occasions.
For this reason still today, wishing someone “cappelletti in tavola” (cappelletti on the table) is to wish them prosperity.
Some food and wine historians consider the people of Romagna and Reggio Emilia as their creators, while to Modena and Bologna they entrust the Tortellini.
According to Pellegrino Artusi - author of the Bibbia dei Gastronauti - "Cappelletti per l'uso di Romagna" are prepared with a filling of ricotta, Parmesan cheese, egg, a hint of nutmeg, freshly ground pepper, salt and grated lemon juice ("La scienza in cucina e l'arte di mangiar bene", 1891).
In Emilia, the filling is enriched with beef, in the Marche region with pork, beef bone marrow or turkey, in Umbria with assorted white meat (the Cappelletti di Gubbio).
A curious variation is that made in Ferrara and Mantua, where the Cappelletti are larger and drier, and the filling is sweet and lightly spicy since pumpkin is used (Cappellacci)!
Cappelletti is the real last name of William Shakespeare's Juliet and of her noble family, knights at the service of the Republic of Venice always at war with the Montecchi.
Shakespeare in “Romeo and Juliet” (1594-1596) translated Cappelletti into Capulet, which was then again Italianized into Capuleti.
Etymology and traditions
“Cappelletti, caplét in the romagna region dialect, take their name from the shape of the hat worn by the rural people, with a pronounced short dome (the “galonza”), for this reason named “cappelletto”.
The filling is commonly called compenso, cumpéns in dialect!
Cappelletti are often associated with the ritual to close them together, family meals on the eve of festivities and chatting around the table while working the pasta on the cutting board and distributing the filling on the golden discs of pasta, involving even the children.
For this reason, Capelletti are considered a comfort food that reminds us of our grandmothers, the housewives of the Romagna region, and they stitch together many family stories.
We love Cappelletti!