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Filled pasta evokes memories of rituals and traditions that belong to my family history.

Maybe it is that the Holiday season is coming, or it’s the passing of time that is to blame, but I admit, for the past few years since mid-November onward, I have started to make stock pots and tons of fresh stuffed pasta.

Even this year, although winter is late and temperatures are not quite broth-like, my production has already begun. And the tastings even.


Over the past few weeks, I have made several types of fresh egg pasta that, by tradition, on the Sunday or holiday table, have to come in a tureen of steaming broth: passatelli, Zuppa Imperiale, spoja lorda, quadrucci (little squares of pasta sheet).

Tortellini needs no rehearsal. For years, they have been the ones my mom makes with our family recipe, and we will serve them in a humble hen broth that, at least, my diners prefer than capon broth.

Returning to the stuffed kinds of pasta I have been preparing these days, a recipe has been missing from my table for a long time: cappelletti with cheese.


Cappelletti romagnoli with cheese recipe

The history of Cappelletti from Romagna

The first written mention concerning the preparation of cappelletti goes back to a 13th-century AD text by Friar Salimbene de Adam of Parma.

Although are Cristoforo di Messisbugo, a cook at the Este court, and Bartolomeo Scappi, also employed for a time at the court of Ferrara, the first people to mention the recipe for cappelletti, describing shape and filling.

Over the centuries, cappelletti became a typical dish of Romagna.
From there, it spread to the regions of central Italy. In the early 1900s, Count Giovanni Manzoni, a local gastronome, lists several recipes for cappelletti. The same ones that Pellegrino Artusi also later indicates in his Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well, listing fillings made with ricotta, capon breast or pork loin.

Among the various recipes for meat-filled cappelletti, the oldest is the recipe for cappelletti di magro (without meat). In fact the first and specific written mention of the recipe dates back to the early 19th century.

In 1811, the Milanese Leopoldo Staurenghi, Prefect of Forli, wrote his report for the Napoleonic Inquiry, aimed at learning about the peasant traditions, dialects, and superstitions.

From the dispatch, we learn that in the early 19th century, cheese cappelletti was the rule at Christmas.

A few years later, in 1818, Michele Placucci of Forlì, author of a study on the peasant habits of Romagna, described cappelletti as a soup where in the filling are ricotta, cheese, eggs, and flavorings: all wrapped in dough, called lasagna strips.

Read what the Prefect of Forli wrote:


Every family makes a pasta soup with a ricotta filling called cappelletti. The greed for such soup is so general that everyone, even the priests*, takes bets on the number they will be able to eat. Some reach the number of 400 or 500. This custom produces every year the death of a few individuals from severe indigestion.

*At that time, Romagna was part of the State of the Church, while the Kingdom of Italy was born in 1861.

Pasta dough

Cheese cappelletti of Romagna

Cheese cappelletti and the cook’s joke

Families in the old days were numerous, and when making cappelleti (caplèt), women rolled out large sheets, and everyone needed to help. The pasta sheet must not dry, so you quickly have to distribute the filling and proceed to close the cappelletti.

During preparation, there was the tradition of caplitaz. The azdora used to put a grain of pepper in the filling of only one cappelletto. No one could know who would get the joke, or perhaps the spite of the fiery cappelletto. At home, Nonna made the joke with tortellini even. Grandma would leave a whole grain of mortadella pepper inside one tortellini. And it was the tortellino matto (crazy).

Sometimes, the unfortunate person who found the pepper ate it without leaking the truth. More often, the sudden redness of the face and the hand reaching toward the glass of water would reveal the identity of the person who had found the joke in the dish.

I don’t know if cappelletto di magro is worth a grain of pepper.
Certainly, cheese cappelletti is a delicate yet flavorful stuffed pasta that has graced the tables of Romagnoli for many centuries.

The delicate cheese filling, a mix of raviggiolo or squacquerone, both typical kinds of cheese from Romagna, cow’s ricotta, and Parmigiano, reveals the peasant nature and it is a reminder of how much Catholic precepts influenced the table of Italians.

Abroad you can replace raviggiolo or squacquerone with stracchino or another soft cheese.

Cheese cappelletti is still the Christmas lunch soup of many Romagnoli. For many, this is now also a Christmas Eve dish (due to the absence of meat).

My family tradition called for tuna spaghetti on Christmas Eve and tortellini in broth at Christmas.

What about cheese cappelletti in broth? That was an Easter dish.

Buona cucina, Monica

The perfect stock for cappelletti romagnoli

Enjoy cappelletti with cheese in a delicate Parmigiano stock or hen broth or, again, in capon broth.

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Cappelletti al formaggio, ricetta romagnola di magro

Cappelletti romagnoli with cheese

One of the most famous and traditional recipes in Italian cuisine is cappelletti romagnoli with cheese
Course pasta fresca
Cuisine Romagnola
Keyword #cheese, #christmasrecipes, #emiliaromagna, #freshpasta, #pasta, #pastafresca, #soup
Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 4 minutes
Servings 4 serves



  • 150 g of stracchino or another soft cheese
  • 150 g of cow's ricotta cheese
  • 80 g of grated Parmigiano cheese
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest optional

Pasta dough

  • 300 g 00 flour
  • 3 eggs



  • In a bowl, combine the cheeses with salt, nutmeg, and grated lemon zest, if you like, and mix. Store the covered bowl in the refrigerator.

Pasta dough

  • Combine flour and eggs in a bowl and mix.
  • Using a fork, gradually incorporate the flour into the well in a circular motion until large breadcrumbs form.
  • From that point, knead the dough on a clean surface until smooth, firm, and well-combined, about 15 minutes.
  • Wrap the dough tightly in plastic and allow it to rest for at least 30 minutes and up to several hours at room temperature.
    If storing overnight, refrigerate, then bring back up to room temperature before use.
  • After resting, flatten the ball with the palm of your hands.
  • Roll it out thinly with the rolling pin or the pasta machine.


  • Using a pasta wheel, cut out 4 cm squares.
  • Place a generous teaspoon of filling in the middle of each square.
  • Fold each square into a triangle, sealing the edges well.
  • Join the two ends by overlapping them and form the cappelletti.
  • Place on a wire rack for pasta to dry cappelletti.
  • Cook the cappelletti in boiling salted broth for 3-4 minutes.
  • Tips
    Let the filled pasta air dry for at least 2-3 hours before freezing.
    You can store uncooked pasta in the refrigerator for one day and in the freezer for one month.

Cappelletti romagnoli with cheese recipe

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