Amore is in the air and we simply can’t help ourselves. Italy is a country where love is celebrated in beautiful displays of passion but also through simple, romantic gestures. These delicate heart-shaped pieces of filled pasta, known fondly by our chef Roberta as cuoricini (‘little hearts’), are the perfect way to showcase your love. Whether it’s for a date-night with your partner or for a Galentine’s celebration with your closest friends, these delicious pasta parcels will send the message loud and clear.
Make our beautiful heart-shaped pasta
Prep Time: 1½ hours
Cook Time: 3 minutes
Calories per serving: 1141 kcal
Roberta chose to fill her delicious ‘little hearts’ with taleggio and mortadella, a filling we seriously recommend. However, you can choose to put anything in your cuoricini so if you’re vegetarian you may opt for a spinach and ricotta or a pumpkin and sage option which would be just as tasty.
- A knife
- Heart-shaped pasta cutter (not essential but will make shaping the pasta easier)
For the pasta:
- 200g “00” flour
- 2 large eggs
- 10g-15g beetroot powder
For the filling:
- 200g taleggio cheese, cut into small pieces
- 100g mortadella, cut into small pieces
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season
- 25g butter, to serve
- Parmigiano Reggiano, to garnish
For the pasta:
Making the pasta sheet for your cuoricini is very simple and we’ve outlined the process in the steps below. We also have a helpful video guide if you’d like to follow along with Roberta as she makes fresh ravioli.
Making the dough
- Start by making a mound with your flour on a wooden board or clean work surface. Then make a well in the centre to form a crater-like shape.
- Crack the eggs into the centre along with the beetroot powder and, with a fork, start whisking to combine flour, beetroot and egg, slowly incorporating more and more of the flour from the edges of the crater as you go until you’re left with a thick, red mixture.
- At this stage the mixture becomes too sticky for the fork so we recommend using your hands (or a dough scraper if you have one) to incorporate the rest of the flour.
- Form the mixture into a ball of dough and begin kneading it.
Kneading the dough
- To knead, drag the dough forward with your palm, using the other hand to hold it steady. Then pull the stretched dough back over, turn it around and start again. Repeat this process until you’re left with a firm, smooth consistency.
- We recommend 10-20 minutes of kneading to create a nice elastic dough. A good way of checking if you’ve kneaded the dough well is to press your finger into the centre. As you lift your finger away, the dough should spring back up.
Resting the dough
- Wrap the dough in a tea towel (a more sustainable alternative to cling film) and set aside to rest for about 20-30 minutes at room temperature. This is a good time to prepare the filling for your ravioli.
Rolling the dough
- Once rested, unwrap the dough and divide it into two pieces. Cover one half with the tea towel to keep it from drying out and set aside. Press the remaining piece of dough into a flat circle using your hands. Next, take a rolling pin or matterello and begin rolling out the dough to create a thin sheet. This will take a little while if you’re doing it by hand, so if you have a pasta machine now is the moment to put it to use, however this is not by any means an essential piece of kit!
- When your pasta sheet, called a sfoglia, is ready, you should be able to see your hand through it.
Shaping the cuoricini
- Even off the edges of your sfoglia and cut it in half so that you have two even strips side by side. Spoon your filling, at even intervals (roughly 5cm apart), down the middle of the first strip. Don’t forget you’ve got another piece of dough to roll out, so only use half of the filling at this stage.
- Wet the edges of the two strips with a pastry brush and place the second strip directly on top of the piece with the filling on. Gently press the dough to eliminate excess pockets of air.
- Seal the dough firmly around the edges and between each lump of filling.
- Now take your heart-shaped cutter if you have one and cut out the individual cuoricini, ensuring they’re tightly sealed so the filling can’t escape.
Cooking the cuoricini
- Bring a large saucepan of generously salted water to the boil. Carefully place your homemade cuoricini into the pan and cook for 3 minutes.
- Serve with melted butter and a sprinkling of Parmigiano Reggiano!
- Combine the mortadella and Taleggio as well as you can in a large mixing bowl.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- When ready, spoon the mixture evenly onto the sheet of pasta dough.