Traditional Italian Corzetti

Traditional Corzetti stamp with Marjoram Pesto

Corzetti is an Italian pasta which tradition goes back to the medieval ages. Corzetti is small circles of pasta with a flowery decoration stamped on it. This edible art is made by using elaborate wood stamps. Making them at home is quite unusual today as it takes time and finding corzetti stamps is not that easy. However, there are still few artisan woodcarvers, especially in the East Italian Riviera, who work to preserve this ancient culinary art and carves gorgeous garnishing stamps just like centuries ago.

I don’t have the Italian stamps, but I have stamps from China used to make decorations on Mooncakes. In ancient China they were wooden stamps, However I have some in plastic. I also have wooden stamps from Ghana. The symbols on them are called Adinkra Symbols, also ancient. And I have my mothers Norwegian wooden butter mold.

So I thought I would make corzetti with a twist, with Chinese, Ghanaian and Norwegian patterns stamped.

Making the Corzetti

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ cups (300 g) of flour
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tablespoons (50 ml) of lukewarm water
  • 4 tablespoons (50 ml) of dry white wine
  • a corzetti stamp or an embossed coin or medallion

For the marjoram pesto

  • ½ cup (60 g) of pine nuts
  • ½ cup (40 g) of walnuts kernel
  • 30/40 marjoram leaves
  • 4 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons of parmesan cheese
  • salt to taste

Instructions:

For corzetti

Put the flour on the working surface and make a hole in the middle like a volcano.

Open the egg in the centre of the crater and beat slightly with a fork, add the white wine and water, a pinch of salt and start mixing the liquids. Then start adding flour to the mix gently digging the side of the crater with the fork. Little by little the dough will harden.

When the dough starts “staying together” dig your hands and start kneading it, blending and pressing with the lower part of your palm for many times.

If it remains too dry and in flakes add a small quantity of water just wetting your palms. Repeat if needed until you get a dough soft and elastic. You can check if it´s elastic enough putting a finger in the dough: if the dough returns in its previous shape and the hole disappears it’s ready.

Let it rest under a humid tea cloth for half an hour.

On a surface well dusted roll the dough in a thin sheet with a rolling pin and cut many small circles of about 3 inches in diameter with the help of the apposite corzetti stamp or with the edge of a glass.

On the side of each circle imprint the decoration either with the corzetti stamp or with an embossed coin or a medallion. I used my Chineese, Ghanaian and Norwegian stamps. Be careful to dust the dough and the stamp with some flour to avoid that the dough sticks to the stamp.

You can boil the corzetti immediately or leave them to air-drying and cook and eat them after some hours.

For the marjoram pesto

Blend in a mixer the pine nuts, the walnuts, the marjoram leaver and half of the olive oil until obtaining a thick and consistent paste. Put the pesto in a bowl and add the remaining half of olive oil and the parmesan cheese. Add salt to taste.

Boil the Corzetti

Boil Corzetti in a big pan of salty water for about 7-10 minutes (cooking time depends on the thickness of the pasta, taste before draining). Drain the Corzetti and set aside ½ a cup of boiling water.

Put the corzetti in a skillet jointly with the marjoram pesto and the ½ cup of boiling water. Stir gently and cook for a couple of minutes at low fire until the sauce is creamy.

Before serving decorate with some leaf of marjoram, a fistful of pine nuts and a drizzle of olive oil.

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