I have a few tools in my kitchen that I love. When I say “love”, I’m not talking about my favorite knife, my favorite wooden spoon, my favorite frying pan, or even my favorite rubber spatula for that matter. Yes, I have a favorite rubber spatula. Doesn’t everybody? I’m actually talking about the tools that I rarely use. They are the tools that I could live without, I just don’t want to. It’s even hard for me to imagine my kitchen without them.
Take my corzetti stamp for instance. I fell in love with corzetti the moment I laid eyes on them while browsing photos of pasta (Doesn’t everyone do that?!!). After a little researching to find out exactly what these adorable little coins of pasta were, I knew that it would just be a matter of time before I owned a corzetti stamp. A few days later, I was opening the box that the UPS driver had just delivered, and it was exactly as I expected it would be: Love at first sight. I knew that little stamp would be in my kitchen for the long run. I know that it isn’t something that I’ll use all the time, but it’s just one of those tools that I love to own.
Corzetti are these adorable little coins of pasta. According to My Melange, their origins come from the Ligurian region of Northwest Italy. During the Renaissance, noble families would stamp their insignia or crest on the pasta. It was a fashion statement for sure, a display of wealth, because of the effort that went into stamping each individual coin. The indentation of the stamp does help the sauce to adhere to the pasta as well.
The stamp itself is carved wood. The stamp part is the actual design. The base has a spiral design on the top, so that when you stamp your design into the pasta, the spiral will be the other side of the coin. The bottom of the base is hollowed out, so that you can cut your pasta to size.
There is no doubt that this pasta does take a little time and effort to make. You do have to make the pasta dough, roll it out, and cut and stamp each individual corzetti, but it is definitely a rewarding effort, because you’re left with an impressive “work of art” to share with your family and friends. I’m kind of glad I don’t have the servants to prepare the corzetti, those Renaissance nobles didn’t know what fun they were missing out on!
After stamping the corzetti, I had to decide on the sauce. It definitely had to be a light sauce, such as a fresh tomato sauce, aglio e olio, pesto, or maybe a lemon butter sauce with fresh parmesan. Last night, I decided on a basil pesto. It was perfect for the delicate little coins of pasta, and I used just a little sprinkle of crushed red pepper. Honestly? I think any one of the sauces I mentioned would have been perfect for the corzetti.
Even though I say that I say that there is time and effort to be put into corzetti, it’s not that bad. If you make this recipe that serves four people, it takes about two hours to make the corzetti from start to finish (not including boiling time, or preparing the sauce). If you have the time, tripe or quadruple the recipe (I would do the batches separately), and freeze them. After cutting the pasta into your desired shape, do a quick freeze so that they’re dried enough to stack, and you can freeze the pasta in baggies. I would, however, freeze pasta as delicate as corzetti in a freezer container layered with waxed paper so that they don’t break.
Corzetti are truly a pleasure to make. Honestly. Treat yourself and your kitchen with the little gift of a corzetti stamp. I have a feeling you’ll love it as much as I do! I bought mine here.
Corzetti with Basil Pesto
As I mentioned above, you can freeze the corzetti for up to three months. After you stamp the corzetti, flash freeze them by placing them on a baking sheet, and putting them in the freezer until they’re dried and hardened. Store them by layering them between sheets of waxed paper in a freezer container.
I just used all purpose flour for this recipe. While a lot of recipes call for semolina flour when making pasta, I tend to find that all purpose works just as well. Semolina is definitely a sturdier flour, and tends to hold its shape better than a pasta made with flour, but the corzetti proved to me that the all purpose flour can hold its own when it comes to making pasta. It kept its shape, as well as the imprint on the pasta.
Tools you will need:
Rolling pin (if you don’t own a pasta machine)
Pasta Machine (not necessary, a rolling pin will work too!)
The Pasta Dough
2 cups all purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp salt
5 tbsp water
3 tbsp olive oil
In a large bowl, mix the flour, eggs, salt, water, and olive oil until blended. Form into a ball, and let rest for about 15 minutes. If you’re having a little trouble getting it to mix, feel free to add another tablespoon of olive oil. It won’t hurt a thing. It should be a little crumbly like the photo below:
After the 15 minutes is up, begin to knead the pasta until it is smooth and pliable. Cover with a kitchen towel, and let it rest for about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes. You can knead this by hand or with your dough hook attachment on your stand mixer. I used my KitchenAid, and it took about 10 minutes to get this smooth dough.
After the dough has rested, cut into four balls. Flatten one ball and using either a rolling pin or pasta machine, roll to 1/8″ thick.
Lay the dough on your work surface, and begin cutting the corzetti with your stamp. Place the pasta coin on top of the stamp base, and press the design into the coin with the stamp.
Place the corzetti on a baking sheet that with waxed paper that is sprinkled with flour, between layers.
After you are finished cutting and stamping, you can either boil them immediately, let them sit out to dry, and boil them later, or flash freeze and freeze in a container for up to three months.
To cook the corzetti, bring a large pot of water to boil, and season with salt (about a tablespoon to 6 quarts). When the water has reached a rolling boil, add the corzetti, about 15 at a time to the water. Boil for 7 minutes, and using a slotted spoon, remove from the water and place in a dish. Repeat until the desired amount of corzetti are cooked.
Serve with your favorite sauce!
The Basil Pesto
Pesto is one of the easiest sauces to make. I tend to like to use Grana Padano rather than Parmigiano Reggiano only because it’s a little less salty with a more subtle flavor. It won’t overpower the basil, which to me, is the star of the pesto.
3 cups fresh basil
3/4 cup grated fresh Grana Padano
1/2 cup pine nuts
1-2 cloves garlic (your desired garlic strength, I use two)
1 cup olive oil
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Throw the basil, pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, salt and pepper into your food processor. Process until it’s well blended and smooth. When ready to serve, stir in the remaining 1/2 cup olive oil and Grana Padano. If the pesto is still a little too thick for your taste, you can add more olive oil until it reaches your desired consistency. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with your favorite pasta! Garnish with crushed red pepper and shaved Grana Padano if desired.