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Ricotta Caramelle

(Makes about 60)
Caramelle cooked wth butter and herb sauce
Ricotta Caramelle
Ricotta Caramelle
Ricotta filling placed on strips of pasta dough
Dough folded over to enclose filling
Dough cut between mounds of filling
Ends of dough twisted to form caramelle

2-1/4 cups "00" or all-purpose flour
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound ricotta cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
Pinch of salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg


To make the pasta:
Combine the flour, eggs, yolks, salt, and olive in the bowl of a food processor.
Pulse several times to combine the ingredients.
Add water, one tablespoon at a time, until the mixture comes together.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until the mixture forms a moderately smooth dough. Place the dough into a bowl and cover .  Let rest at room temperature for 20-30 minutes.

To make the filling:
In a bowl, mix together all of the filling ingredients.  Set aside.

To form the caramelle:
Divide the dough into 4 pieces.  Keep the other pieces covered while you work with one.  Flatten the piece of dough into a disk so that it will fit through the rollers of the pasta machine. Set the rollers of the pasta machine at the widest setting. Feed the dough through the rollers 3 or 4 times, folding and turning the dough until it is smooth and the width of the rollers.

Feed the pasta through the machine, decreasing the setting one notch at a time, to a thin setting about #7 or #8.  Transfer the sheet of dough to  lightly floured work surface.  Cut the sheet in half lengthwise to form 2 strips.  Put dots of 1 teaspoon of filling along the center of dough, about 1-1/2 inches apart.  Brush the top edge of one strip with water.  Fold the bottom edge of the strip over the filling to meet the top edge.  Use your fingers to press the dough around the filling to remove any air bubbles and seal the edges.  Then fold the pasta over to double seal the edges and press again to seal.  Using a fluted pasta wheel, cut the dough between each mound of filling.  Pinch the dough together on each side of the filling and twist the ends, shaping the caramelle like a piece of wrapped candy.  Place the completed caramelle on a lightly floured surface. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
To cook caramelle:
Cook caramelle in boiling salted water until tender, about 2 minutes. Drain, transfer to a serving bowl and gently toss with sauce.  Caramelle can be served with a light tomato and butter sauce or a simple butter and herb sauce.

Caramelle can be prepared and frozen up to 3 months.  Keep frozen until ready to cook; do not thaw before cooking.
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Caramelle means candies in Italian but with pasta it refers not to a sweet flavor but rather to the shape of the pasta.  Caramelle are small filled pasta with the two ends twisted like a candy wrapped in cellophane. They look especially nice served for Christmas or a birthday dinner. To make the caramelle extra festive, you might consider making striped pasta dough.  The filling can be any variety of ingredients but our recipe features a simple ricotta filling.
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Commercial-style stainless steel pasta rollers for smooth rolling of pasta dough.
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Pastry wheels are great for cutting pasta and pastry dough.  The 1 3/8-inch blade has a fluted edge and is made of durable and long lasting stainless steel.
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