Cappellacci Ferraresi with Duck Ragù


There are still many pumpkins in the markets, so since I like them I’ll keep cooking them 🙂 I wanted to do something different than the usual cream soups or gnocchi, and a good idea is to make some filled pasta, of course 🙂

In Italy the most famous pasta filled with pumpkin are probably the “tortelli mantovani“, but they require amaretti and “mostarda mantovana“, which is not an easy ingredient to find outside Italy, so I decided that the version of the near Ferrara is a good option, with ingredients easy to find everywhere 🙂 moreover, this is a nice recipe to prepare also during feasts as Christmas or Easter!

There are a lot of filled pasta types in Italy, each with different names. Cappellacci are typical of Ferrara, and their original recipe dates back to the Renaissance period, exactly at the time of Este Court, with the first recipe written in 1584.

At that time it was common to use a lot of spices between the noble families, there were also ginger and cinnamon in the original recipe, but nowadays the filling is more simple, and only nutmeg remained in use for this recipe as spice.

The name Cappellaccio is related to the shape of a typical local straw hat used by peasants.

The most common sauce is the simple one made with butter and sage (and Parmigiano), which makes the recipe 100% vegetarian, but also meat ragù or tomato sauce are often used. In this case I had half duck breast in the freezer and some “wastes” that I removed from around 2 previous duck breasts I used to make hams, so I decided to make a “rustic” ragù with them, cutting the meat by knife and not minced.

To prepare this filled pasta is not too much difficult but it requires time, patience and some hand skills 🙂

I am used to prepare more often “casoncelli” for example, typical of my origin area, this was the first time I made cappellacci, but I think they don’t look too bad 🙂

Let’s see how to make it.

INGREDIENTS (4 people):

For the pasta:

  • 450 g of white flour (but in this case I used 150g of white flour and 300g of a less refined flour “tipo 1”, according to Italian flour classification)
  • 4 eggs
  • salt

For the filling:

  • 800 g of pumpkin
  • 150 g of grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • nutmeg
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • salt

For the ragù:

  • 1 duck breast (so the 2 halves, to be clear)
  • half onion
  • half carrot
  • 1 rib of celery
  • half glass of red wine (but also white is ok)
  • one tea spoon of triple tomato concentrate
  • some vegetable stock (or water)
  • black pepper
  • rosemary
  • 40 g butter (or extra virgin olive oil if you prefer)
  • salt
  1. First of all let’s start with the pumpkin (choose a type of pumpkin whose pulp is as dry as possible). Pre-heat the oven at 180 °C, then cut the pumpkin in big slices and bake it until soft, about 45/50 minutes, control with a fork.
  2. Now prepare the dough for the pasta: put the flour in a large bowl and the eggs in the middle, add a little salt and start to mix it together. Once it gets a shape put the dough on your working table and work it with energy for about 10 minutes long. You must obtain a smooth dough, then let it rest at least 30 minutes, covered in a plastic wrap.
  3. Now start with the ragù (60/90 minutes should be enough for it, but it’s a ragù, it’s not a problem if it will cook longer). Take the duck breast and remove the fat, then cut it in slices and then cut each slice into small dice, smaller as possible with a knife. Then cut the vegetables small and heat them in butter (or oil if you prefer) in a pan or casserole, let them brown at low heat.
  4. When the vegetables are soft, add the meat and brown it at medium-high heat. Then add the wine and set high heat until the wine has reduced. Then set the heat low and add the tomato concentrate, diluted is some vegetable stock or hot water, and also the rosemary, wrapped in a cooking gauze so you can remove it later. Add a ladle of stock (or hot water), season with salt and some freshly ground black pepper, cover the pan and let it simmer.
  5. At this point the pumpkin should be ready. Remove the skin and put the soft pulp in a bowl and squeeze it well, then add the grated Parmigiano Reggiano, a little bit of nutmeg, a little bit of black pepper and some salt, and mix together. The filling must be smooth and homogeneous.
  6. Now spread the dough: you can use just a rolling pin if you are able to make it very thin with that tool as the best housewives in Ferrara do 😀 or you can help yourself with a hand pasta maker (or electric). Make it thin, then cut the pasta in big squares, of about 7/8 cm.
  7. Then place in the middle of each square of pasta a spoon of pumpkin filling (or you can use a pastry bag if you prefer) and close them in a triangle shape but not perfectly, leave the upper portion of pasta a little bit shorter then the top lower corner, just a couple of millimeters. Then take the corners of the triangle and close them behind the filling, around your index finger: it’s harder to explain then to make it, I suggest you to watch the video HERE 🙂 you should do it as fast as possible, before the pasta gets dry.
  8. Once you used all the pumpkin take a pot and boil the water. Then when it’s boiling add the salt and then drop your Cappellacci, making attention not to break them. When they are ready they will float on the surface, 4/5 minutes or so should be enough. Try one to taste if the pasta is cooked, then drain them and put them in the pan with the ragù (remove the gauze with rosemary first), mix together and serve it.
  9. Add a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano on top, and finally enjoy your hard work! 🙂


Products used:

Flour: Farina Biologica Tipo 1 from “Azienda Agricola Floriddia”




Cappellacci ferraresi con ragù d’anatra

Il cappellaccio ferrarese è una delle tante varianti di raviolo presenti in Italia. Ammetto di essere più avvezzo coi casoncelli, e questa era la prima volta che mi cimentavo con questa ricetta, ma devo dire che il risultato è stato soddisfacente, seppur non perfetto nella forma 🙂

Solitamente si condiscono semplicemente con burro e salvia, ma anche le varianti con pomodoro o con ragù sono abbastanza diffuse. In questo caso avevo del petto d’anatra e l’ho utilizzato per farci il sugo.

INGREDIENTI (4 persone):

Per la pasta:

  • 450 g di farina
  • 4 uova
  • sale

Per il ripieno:

  • 800 g di zucca
  • 150 g di Parmigiano Reggiano
  • noce moscata
  • pepe
  • sale

Per il ragù:

  • 1 petto d’anatra
  • mezza cipolla
  • mezza carota
  • 1 gambo di sedano
  • mezzo bicchiere di vino rosso (o bianco se preferite)
  • un cucchiaino di triplo concentrato di pomodoro
  • del brodo vegetale
  • pepe
  • rosmarino
  • 40 g di burro (o olio extra vergine di oliva se preferite)
  • sale
  1. Innanzitutto scegliere una zucca non troppo acquosa. Pre-riscaldare il forno a 180 gradi e cuocere le fette di zucca fino a quando saranno morbide, circa 45-50 minuti dovrebbero bastare.
  2. Ora preparate l’impasto dei cappellacci, e lavoratelo sul piano di lavoro per circa 10 minuti. Deve essere bello omogeneo. Quindi fatelo riposare 30 minuti avvolto in pellicola trasparente.
  3. Nel frattempo iniziate il ragù: eliminate ogni parte di grasso dal petto, quindi tagliatelo a cubetti più piccoli possibile, a coltello. Quindi tagliate le verdure a pezzettini e soffriggetele nel burro in una padella, fino a quando saranno morbide.
  4. Quindi aggiungere la carne e rosolarla. Quando la carne ha preso colore, sfumare col vino. Quindi abbassate la fiamma e aggiungete il triplo concentrato di pomodoro diluito nel brodo o in acqua calda, e anche il rosmarino, meglio se in una garza da cucina. Aggiungete del brodo, regolate di sale e pepe e lasciate cuocere a fuoco lento, coperto.
  5. A questo punto la zucca dovrebbe essere pronta. Togliete la buccia, schiacciate la polpa, aggiungete un pizzico di noce moscata, il formaggio, sale e pepe e impastate. Il ripieno deve essere soffice e omogeneo.
  6. Ora stendete la pasta sottile, e tagliate dei quadratoni di circa 7/8 cm di lato.
  7. Distribuite del ripieno su ogni quadrato di pasta e chiudete come si vede QUI. E’ più facile da vedere che da spiegare 🙂
  8. Una volta preparati i cappellacci, fate bollire dell’acqua, salatela e quindi tuffateci i cappellacci. In 4/5 minuti saranno pronti. Quindi scolateli e metteteli nella padella col ragù (dopo aver rimosso il rosmarino), e mescolate bene facendo attenzione a non rompere i cappellacci.
  9. Infine servite e spolverate con del Parmigiano Reggiano 🙂

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Wow this looks SO good! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rowena says:

    Honestly, these look absolutely gorgeous. A good thing that it’s impossible to gain weight just be looking at delicious food images 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you 😀 yes, it’s true, but then you maybe go to the kitchen and look for food 😀 it happens sometimes when I watch too much food blogs 😀


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