Capeletis a la Caruso is a delicious pasta dish that harmoniously combines a medley of flavors.
These tender pasta pillows have a savory filling composed of beef, Parmesan cheese, ricotta, and eggs, and are complemented by Caruso sauce — a Uruguayan invention made with mushrooms, ham, Parmesan cheese, and heavy cream.
Just this description might already make your mouth water. So, why not begin learning to craft your own capeletis?
In this exclusive masterclass, we’ll uncover the secret techniques behind its creation and guide you through the steps to prepare this exquisite pasta dish in your own kitchen.
History and Origins of Capeletis a la Caruso
“Cappelletti”, this pasta variety of small pockets characterized by its hat-shaped appearance filled with various ingredients like meat, cheese, or vegetables, is deeply ingrained in Italian culinary history with roots that date back centuries. It’s believed that they originated in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy.
On the other hand, Caruso sauce was created in the 1950s by Italian chef Raymundo Monti in Montevideo, Uruguay, following the traditions of Italian cuisine. The story goes that capeletis a la Caruso was named after the Italian tenor Enrico Caruso, who was popular in South America.
Caruso sauce (or “salsa Caruso” in Spanish) is a sauce made of cream, cheese, ham, beef extract, and mushrooms that has become increasingly popular around the world.
The Art of Pasta Making with Artisanal Techniques
Making pasta from scratch is an art form deeply rooted in Italian culinary heritage. And crafting capeletis exemplifies this perfectly.
Italian pasta recipes, including capeletis, demand precision, not only in the creation of the pasta dough but also in the assembly and cooking process. They involve an understanding of the pasta’s texture, as well as the proper techniques for kneading and resting the dough to ensure a perfect consistency.
The process begins with the pasta dough, kneaded into a smooth and elastic consistency and then rolled out to achieve the ideal thickness, before being fashioned into small squares or circles.
The artistry of making capeletis, in particular, lies in the folding and sealing of the pasta pockets, making sure that the filling is encased within the pasta sheets securely.
Masterclass in Capeletis a la Caruso: A Step-by-Step Guide to Perfecting Them
Here we’ll share with you a pasta making class to prepare your capeletis a la Caruso, ensuring that you are equipped with all you need in this art.
Step 1: The Pasta Dough
- 2 cups “00” flour (Note: All-purpose flour can be used as an alternative, but bear in mind that the texture of the pasta might vary.)
- 2 large eggs
- On a clean surface, form a mound with the flour.
- Create a well in the center and crack the eggs into it.
- Slowly, incorporate the flour into the eggs, kneading until a smooth and elastic dough forms.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest for 6 to 12 hours in the refrigerator.
Step 2: The Filling
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 3 oz ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Nutmeg to taste
- Heat oil in a pan, add the beef and cook it until it just turns brown. Then, remove and let it cool to room temperature.
- Then in a bowl, combine the ground beef, Parmesan cheese, ricotta, egg, salt, pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg if desired.
- Mix the ingredients thoroughly until the mix has a consistency of a thick paste.
Step 3: The Shaping and Cooking
- Roll out the rested pasta dough thinly and cut it into small squares (approximately 2 inches on each side.)
- Place a small amount of filling in the center of each square.
- Fold the pasta over the filling diagonally to create a triangle or a half-moon shape, sealing the edges firmly.
- To create the capeleti shape, bring the two corners of the triangle together and press them firmly.
- Place the capeletis on a lightly floured surface and let it rest for at least 3 hours before cooking.
- Boil a pot of salted water and add the capeletis carefully.
- Cook them for about 5 minutes or until they float to the surface.
- Remove the capeletis with a slotted spoon and transfer them to bowls.
Step 6: The Caruso Sauce
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1.5 cups mushrooms, sliced
- 1 white onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup ham, diced
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 16 oz heavy cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Nutmeg to taste
- In a pan, sauté the onions in oil or butter until translucent.
- Add the sliced mushrooms and white wine to the pan, allowing it to simmer for a few minutes.
- Pour in the heavy cream and diced ham, reducing the heat to continue simmering the sauce.
- Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste.
- Add the capeletis to the sauce along with the grated Parmesan cheese, letting it rest for a couple of minutes until the cheese melts and incorporates into the sauce.
- Once the cheese is fully blended into the sauce, serve immediately. You can garnish with additional grated Parmesan cheese and sprinkle with finely chopped parsley.
The Right Accompaniments: Our Pairing Suggestions and Serving Recommendations
Italian pastas like capeletis a la Caruso have certain ideal accompaniments to complement their richness.
- White Wines: Choose a dry white wine such as Pinot Grigio, which offers a refreshing contrast to the richness of the sauce and the flavors of the pasta.
- Red Wines: Choose a light to medium-bodied wine to harmonize with the flavors of the meat-filled capeletis. Their balanced acidity complements the savory elements of the dish. An earthy red wine like a Pinot Noir from Argentina would be a fantastic choice. Italian reds like Chianti, Barbera, or Sangiovese can also be good choices.
- Grated Parmesan Cheese: This is a classic garnish that adds depth and savory notes to the dish.
- Side Salad: A refreshing salad will help to balance the richness of the pasta. Try a simple salad of mixed greens with a light vinaigrette dressing.
- Toasted Bread and Olive Oil: Crusty Italian bread alongside extra-virgin olive oil infused with herbs or balsamic vinegar is an incredible way to soak up any leftover sauce.
Interesting Recipe Variations Examples to Develop Your Creativity
The recipe for capeletis a la Caruso allows you to use your creativity and make some variations according to your personal preferences. For instance:
- Walnut Sauce: Make a rich and creamy walnut sauce with walnuts, cream, Parmesan cheese, and garlic.
- Seafood Version: Prepare a filling with shrimp, crab, or lobster, coupled with aromatic herbs.
- Vegetarian Version: Experiment with vegetarian fillings, incorporating ingredients like spinach and roasted vegetables for a meat-free option. Replace the ham in the Caruso sauce with ingredients like smoked tofu to maintain the savory depth.
You can also explore other iconic Italian pasta varieties from various regions (for example, orecchiette from Puglia.)
Final Tips for Pasta-Making Excellence
Mastering Italian pasta-making techniques, especially crafting capeletis a la Caruso, certainly requires attention to detail. Hence, here we’ll share some valuable tips to ensure your capeletis a la Caruso achieve perfection:
For the Dough:
- Use high-quality flour, such as Italian 00 flour, and fresh eggs, to ensure a superior taste in your homemade pasta.
- Pay attention to the pasta dough’s consistency. It should be smooth, elastic, and properly hydrated without being too sticky. Adjust the flour or eggs as needed to achieve this perfect texture.
- After kneading, make sure to let the pasta dough rest adequately. This allows the gluten to relax, resulting in a more pliable dough for shaping.
For the filling:
- Ensure a balanced ratio of filling. Avoid overfilling, as it may cause the capeletis to burst while cooking.
- Taste the filling before incorporating it into the capeletis to make sure that its flavor is well-balanced.
For the sauce:
- Cook the sauce until it’s thickened to prevent it from being too runny and ensure it coats the pasta perfectly.
For the cooking:
- Bring the water to a boil before adding the capeletis in order to ensure that the capeletis cook evenly.
- Don’t overcrowd the pot. This will prevent the capeletis from sticking together during cooking.
- Cook the capeletis until they are al dente: They should be tender but still have a slight bite to them.
Crowning Italian-Uruguayan Artistry
This masterclass has showed all the secrets behind creating this incredible Italian-Uruguayan dish, and now you can prepare your capeletis a la Caruso as if you were a student of chef Raymundo Monti himself.
So, with these skills, craft your capeletis a la Caruso like a maestro, blending Italian sophistication with South American warmth!