We made the Cappelletti the other day, finally. As with all labor-intensive cooking, it wasn’t really that hard once we got into it. They turned out pretty good, although because I had to substitute a stronger, sheep’s-milk cheese for the ricotta, the filling was a little too strong-tasting. It probably didn’t help that I made them large in order to reduce the hand-work a little.
What impressed me more than the food itself was how seriously helpful Nathan is. He’s helped me before with the pasta machine, although turning the handle by himself requires a little more strength and leverage than he has. But for the cappelletti, he wanted to spoon the filling onto the little circles — and did so remarkably well. He wanted to dab water on the edges before I pressed them together. (Ok, some water went into the filling as well. He is, after all, two.)
Working with him in the kitchen lately is both a struggle and a pleasure — a pleasure because his capability increases in leaps and bounds, and a struggle because he is no longer content to simply follow directions, but wants to make his own choices. My challenge is not to be too uptight about the cooking getting done “right,” but to figure out what things matter and what don’t, and let him explore a little. Thus I try hard to let him measure out the flour for muffins himself, since I know what the consistency needs to be and can adjust things if necessary after the fact. On the other hand, the salt container is strictly verboten.
As for the cappelletti, a few of them were a little sorry-looking. But who cares? On balance they worked out well, and making them with Nathan was a lot of fun.
(If you try the recipe, be aware that the “level teaspoon of filling for a 2-inch circle” measurement is dead wrong. It’s way too much and will squish out the sides. I can’t tell you the right amount, because I used a larger circle and eye-balled the filling, but do a few practice ones before you cut all your circles. I was sure glad I did…)