Cappelletti

 

On my Mothers side of the family we have a Christmas tradition of making these things called "cappelletti" or "caplets." That means "little hat" in Italian.  We make them a week before Christmas, freeze them, then serve them in broth.  This is pretty much all we eat on Christmas day.   Some add a splash of wine and others add  parmesan reggiano cheese.  Everyone in my family looks forward to it the entire year and there are normally no leftovers.
I inquired a bit more this year at - as we call it "Caplet Day," and learned from my Grandfather, Great Uncle, and Great Aunt, that my Great Grandmother, Irma, (who I remember because she lived to the age of 98) and Great Grandfather, Guleardo, were both born in Reggio Emillia, Italy.  There, both of their families made cappelletti.  My Great Aunt also said my Great Grandmother told her she remembered making them for the first time when she was 6 years old in 1915.  This had been a tradition in my family for well over 100 years and as you can tell we intend to keep it that way. 
The night before "Caplet Day" my Mother makes 9 batches of dough (thats 60 eggs!)  And eventually, the dough making will be passed along as my responsibility.  My Uncle makes the meat we use which is called "pist."  (Naturally when we were little we used that word often during "Caplet Day" because it sounded like we were saying you know what.)  When we begin, the dough is flattened by my mother.  Usually the younger kids who don't make caplets yet will turn the crank in between taking plates of made caplets off the table to be counted into 10x10 lines.  Then my Uncle cuts the dough  and passes it along to caplet makers.  The board we use to knead and cut the dough was my Great Grandmothers.  She got it in 1931 when she married my Great Grandfather Guleardo.  I wont get too technical but the dough is only passed to certain people.  There are those that strictly make pist balls, and those that make caplets, hah.  Once we are finished and the top side of the laid out caplets are dry, we flip them, let the other side try and bag them up.  This year our final caplet count was 4051, a record high. 
On a side note, my Grandfather told me my Great Grandmothers maiden name was Neri.  This was Michelangelo's mothers maiden name.  So I'll go with that and hope I'm related to Michelangelo!  Hah.  Something interesting I could dig further into.

 

Have a safe and happy holidays everyone.  I hope it's filled with food as delicious as this!

 

 

 

 

 

Rachel Tokarski

Pittsburgh, PA 15201

Pittsburgh Wedding and Event Photographer, Rachel Tokarski