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Italian Food, Pasta Recipe:Cappelletti Alla Caruso
This is what we call Cappelletti
This is what we call Tortellini
How Cappelletti /Tortellini alla Caruso was born.
There are two versions as to how this uruguayan native dish came to be.
- One is that the dish was created to be served to Enrico Caruso when he visited Uruguay in 1915. It is said that when he went to eat at a trattoria located on the corners of Constituyente st. and Tacuarembo st. the chef wanting to serve the great Caruso a unique and exclusive dish to honor him created this dish that includes many of the ingredients most popularly used in the cuisine of Piamonte .It includes Mushrooms,heavy cream,ham,of course the pasta,but it also included a secret ingredient that wasn't revealed until many decades later and that was ,"beef extract"which gives it its distinctive color and taste.
- Another version is that it was really created in 1954 by Raimundo Monti who was at the time the chef at the restaurant that stood in the same place of the trattoria that Caruso had dined in .He wanted to create a unique dish and was working with the ingredients prevalent in Piamonte,where he was from, mushrooms,heavy cream,ham and Cappelletti.When he was satisfied with the dish he gave it to try to the owners and personnel of the restaurant who found it exquisite and when asked what he would name the dish he immediately responded "Salsa Caruso" of course in honor of the great "Maestro".
- The reason why in the title I name it Cappelletti / Tortellini is because here in the United States where I live what we in Uruguay call Cappelletti are called Tortellini.But in any case the pasta is the one shown in the first picture.
The truth behind the story
I personally believe a mixture of the two versions of how the dish came to be is possible.The recipe after having been created and served to Enrico Caruso could have been lost in time.And it is possible that when chef Monti learned the story of the restaurant he was working in he wanted to recreate the famous recipe ,and did so.
- 1/3 lb. cooked ham, chopped
- 1/2 lb. champignons /mushrooms, sliced or cubed
- 1 large tablespoon butter
- 1 Pt. heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon Beef extract.
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- In a large saucepan put the butter in and sautee in it the champignons or mushrooms for a few minutes stirring occasionally until they start to soften,at this point add the ham and the beef extract, sautee for a couple of minutes add the salt the two tablespoons of flour and mix ,add the heavy cream ,grated parmesan cheese and milk and keep stirring until the sauce thickens to a consistency of a cream.
- Cook the Cappelletti to your taste,drain and now there are two ways to continue,you can either mix the pasta in the same pan where you made the sauce mix and serve from there or put in a large pasta dish and pour the sauce on top.When you serve each plate top with parmesan cheese as you should any pasta.
Two Very Different Interpretations of Italian Cuisine .
Something that has always provoked curiosity in me is how different Italian cuisine in the United States is from the version prevalent in Uruguaay and Argentina ,Percentage wise the presence of Italian Descent is greater than that of the U.S ,so one can't be less representative than the other ,but it is my opinion that the difference must be explained by the different composition of the Italian population that migrated to one and the other . So since the majority of early Italian immigrants that traveled to the U.S were Sicilian their culinary influence became prevalent as opposed to the majority of Italians that migrated to Argentina and Uruguay which was mainly from Naples giving that cuisine greater influence .
Cappelletti / Tortellini alla Caruso
A delicious sauce at the ready in minutes
A good thing about this sauce is that you can put in a Tupperware and freeze so you have it ready for a great quick dinner.You also can use it with any pasta,it doesn't have to be with cappelletti or tortellini,it goes great with ravioli ,or even farfalle, zitti,or the pasta of your preference.