Capelletti With Potato & Taleggio In Leek & Spinach Sauce
For the dough:
- 260g/9oz of Italian 00 flour, plus more for dusting
- 2 whole eggs + 3 egg yolks
For the filling:
- 500g/1lb 2oz floury potatoes (I like Maris Piper, but you could use King Edward or Yukon Gold)
- 75g/2½oz Taleggio cheese, pulled into pieces
- 75g/2½oz Parmesan, grated
For the sauce:
- 75g/2½oz butter
- 75g/2½oz warm water
- 1 medium leek, roughly chopped
- 200g/7oz spinach, washed
- Juice of half a lemon
First make the pasta dough. Tip the flour onto a clean worktop or board, make a well in the centre and crack the eggs into the middle of it. Break the egg yolks and start to whisk them, slowly incorporating the flour as you go. When everything starts to come together, use your hands to knead the dough and continue to work it for around 10 minutes.
If your dough is too moist, dust it with some extra 00 flour. If it feels too dry and crumbly, wet your hands under the kitchen tap and continue to knead. After 10 minutes your dough should be smooth and pliable. Cover the dough with an upturned bowl and leave it to rest for at least 30 minutes, while you make the filling.
Peel the potatoes, halve or quarter them, place in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Season with a tablespoon of salt and bring to the boil. Cook for 15-20 minutes until just tender. Drain and then mash the potatoes into a large bowl using a mouli, ricer or potato masher (a mouli or ricer will give a smoother result). Add the Taleggio and Parmesan, season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and set to one side.
Take a quarter piece of your pasta dough (leave 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.
Dust a clean work surface or board with semolina, place the first sheet of pasta onto it and using a 7.5cms plain round cookie cutter, cut out as many circles as possible. Roll up the leftover scraps and cover them to re-roll with the other leftovers when you’ve used up the rest of the dough, but first fill the circles you’ve just cut.
Take a heaped teaspoon of the cheesy potato filling and place into the centre of half the circles. Fold the dough over to create a half-moon shape, and holding the flat edge towards you, seal 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.
Place each cappelletti onto a tray dusted with semolina to make sure they don’t stick, and continue to cut, fill and shape the remainder of the dough. Finally, re-roll the scraps to make as many more little hats as you can, or simply wrap and freeze the scraps to drop into a soup another day.
Now make the sauce. Place the butter and water together in a shallow saucepan, immediately drop in the leek, cover with a lid, and cook for 3 minutes on setting 7. Stir occasionally to make sure the leek doesn’t catch, then after 3 minutes add the spinach leaves, replace the lid, and cook for a further minute. The spinach should be wilted, and the leeks will be buttery and soft. Now remove the lid, mix everything together and reduce the heat to setting 3 or 4.
Drop the pasta into boiling salted water and cook for 2 minutes on setting 8 or 9. Scoop out the cooked pasta and drop into the sauce. Gently swirl the pasta and sauce together, season to taste with salt, freshly ground black pepper and lemon juice, swirl again so all the cappelletti are nicely coated before sharing between four warm plates. Finish with a generous grating of Parmesan and tuck in.