More >

Cappelletti in Broth

Cappelletti, “little hats” are plump meat filled pasta served in rich capon or chicken broth. Some say the best come from Gubbio where it is a tradition, as in many other parts of Italy, to have them on Christmas. Some historical references claim that the hat shape originated from the pointed hats that Spanish soldiers wore when they invaded Italy in the seventeenth century. Cappelletti can be pointed or round; the point is that no matter what the shape they are a delicate beginning to any Sunday dinner or special occasion. I will not deceive you, these are time consuming to make, but the reward is in every spoonful. Make them ahead, and freeze them. Use large eggs for the dough, and lean meats for the filling; do not skimp on the lemon zest. This recipe makes approximately 150 cappelletti. Six to eight are plenty for an individual serving. To serve six you will need two quarts of the broth and three to four dozen of the cappelletti.



2 tablespoons Filippo Berio extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 pound boneless pork cutlet, cut into small chunks

1/4 pound boneless chicken, cut into small chunks

1/4 pound veal roast, cut into small chunks

1 large egg

1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

2 tablespoons minced parsley

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

Salt to taste

Grinding black pepper to taste

Thin slices of lemon

Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for sprinkling

Cappelletti Dough

4 large eggs

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 to 3 1/4 cups King Arthur unbleached all purpose flour


For the Filling
Heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a sauté pan; brown the meat pieces well on all sides. Do this in batches if necessary; do not crowd the meat or it will not brown uniformly. As the pieces brown, remove them to a dish.

Grind the meats together in a food processor or meat grinder until they are almost a paste consistency; transfer the meats to a large bowl. Stir in the egg, cheese, parsley, zest, nutmeg, and salt, and pepper. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate the mixture until ready to fill the pasta rounds.

For the Dough
Whirl the eggs and salt together in a food processor or whisk them together in a bowl. Gradually add the flour until a ball of dough forms that is not tacky or sticking to your hands. What you want to achieve is a smooth, not too dry dough or it will be difficult to seal the edges of the dough when forming the cappelletti.

Knead the dough on a lightly floured work surface until it is silky and very smooth. Cut the ball into 4 pieces and work with one at time, keeping the rest covered. Flatten each piece with a rolling pin; run each piece through the rollers of a pasta machine to thin it out. Do not make it too thin or the filling will poke through the dough. If you can just see your hand when placed behind the sheet of dough, it is thin enough. Alternately use a rolling pin to thin the dough.

I like to use a 1-inch square cutter to cut out the dough; re-roll the scraps to make more. Place scant 1/2 teaspoon of the filling in the center of each piece square, then enclose the filling, folding the square in half to form a triangle. Bring the two ends together and pinch closed with your fingers. If the dough will not seal, brush a little water or beaten egg white along the edges before sealing the dough.

As you make the cappelletti, line them up on towel-lined baking sheets. Do not pile them on top of each other or they will stick together. Freeze them on the trays, and when frozen transfer them to heavy duty plastic bags. Take out as needed and cook them in boiling broth just until they bob to the surface. Ladle the cappelletti into soup bowls, add a thin slice of lemon, and sprinkle the top with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

This recipe is featured on show 2226 – More Umbrian Cooking / Piu’ Cucina Umbra.


  1. Annmarie Ballaro's avatar

    Annmarie Ballaro

    I grew up on this dish almost every Sunday. When my grandmother passed away in 1985 she had 4 bags in her freezer and they were like gold to us because we did not have the recipe written down. We are so grateful we found it in one of MaryAnn 's cookbooks. My father told me about the book. He used to work with MaryAnn at the phone company many many years ago and remembered she made them. They are still our favorite.
  2. Anna's avatar


    My family was northern Italy. The pasta was cut out when filled with a one inch hor dourve type cutter creating a small round (smaller than a nickel) ravioli shape. Cooked in chicken broth. We still make them, 500 at a time reserving from nov. thru the new year for each holiday. My grand kids dive into them. We also make a savory torta with potatoes, etc. I have both recipes.
  3. Anna's avatar


    My family was northern Italy. The pasta was cut out when filled with a one inch hor dourve type cutter creating a small round (smaller than a nickel) ravioli shape. Cooked in chicken broth. We still make them, 500 at a time reserving from nov. thru the new year for each holiday. My grand kids dive into them. We also make a savory torta with potatoes, etc. I have both recipes.
  4. Kathy's avatar


    My family is from Santarangelo di Romagna, Italy. Our "Capplet" are shaped like square ravioli noodles and filled with lemon zest pinch of nutmeg cottage cheese and Parmesan cheese. We add them to homemade chicken broth. Time consumer yes. Holiday family tradition. Soooooo yummy!
  5. Kelli's avatar


    I'm almost 50 years old and do not ever remember a Christmas dinner without them. My Papa and his family immigrated from Italy and this is our family tradition. Just got together this morning with the family and made 1550 for Christmas dinner. We will get together one more time to finish the production of more. DePetri Family Tradition ❤️
  6. Pietro Borghesi's avatar

    Pietro Borghesi

    Saying that Cappelletti are coming from Gubbio is one of the biggest lies you could have posted. Still love the dish, but do not sell untruthful statements
  7. Linda's avatar


    My Noni was from Gubbio! When she would come to our home to make these withour mother us kids were in heaven!! Wonderful memories!
  8. Carrie's avatar


    These were a tradition from my grandmother, to her daughter, to me, and now to my daughters. We never had a Christmas without them. This year, my daughters cannot make it home, and they had to have the recipe because "it just wouldn't be Christmas without them."
  9. Nanette's avatar


    I am so excited to have found this recipe. I have been looking for quite sometime now. I will come back and reply after I make some this weekend. I cannot thank you enough.
  10. Joseph Raymond's avatar

    Joseph Raymond

    Chicken, parsley, ricotta, parmesano, olive oil
  11. Robert Signoracci's avatar

    Robert Signoracci

    Cappelletti was our Christmas soup. Can anyone tell me where in the 5 Boroughs or Long Island I can buy them.
  12. Marilyn Kubia Sheleheda's avatar

    Marilyn Kubia Sheleheda

    I am 65 yrs old and we have been making and eating them as long and I can remember..... my mother, grandmother and great grandmother made as well. We do our's round and I use the same little aluminum glass that my mother used when I was a kid to cut out the little circles. We use ground beef and pork. We stopped using veal years ago. After the meat is in and hats are completed - we use a fork to make "forked edges" (like a perogie) to keep them together when boiled in soup.... We make them in October or November and freeze them on a cookie tray & then bagged in the freezer... Eating them on Christmas Day has been a special treat for generations past and present... we even got the "in-laws" loving them now. My nonna used to say - "if it takes too long to make - it's because it's done with love". Amen!
  13. Frances's avatar


    I am 86 yrs old and always help my mother make them for the holidays. My mother never measured her ingredients, little of this and that and they always came out perfect. I was always the taster that the filling was just right. Yes I still make them and The family loves them. Thank you ,now I have the correct measurement and don't have to guess any more.
  14. JoAnna's avatar


    I am 40 and part of a large Italian family. Our grandparents are gone and this soup is a way for us to still feel their love. As a child I remember making these on holidays or get-togethers. We formed a family assembly line and laughed so hard while we turned out 1000's of these (over time). We just love these little perfectly wonderful hats. And actually this is the closest we've seen (not quite) to our family's secret recipe. Thank you so much for sharing it! This dish just makes us feel so much love and it warms my heart to know there are other Italians out there enjoying these little lovely hats too!! God bless all and may we all get to eat cappelletti soon!!
  15. Christine Duval's avatar

    Christine Duval

    My mom's first husband who passed away was Italian. She learned out to make two soups and a great cheese bread. I LOVED this soup so much. I'm going to try and make it this weekend.

    God Bless You
  16. Virginia's avatar


    My grandmother brought this from a small town close to Ravenna. Her three sons passed this down to their families. The brothers have all gone now, but their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren gather together each year (there are around 20 of us) to make these little jewels; we make about 1200 to 1500 and then divide among the family members. It's a wonderful tradition and for me (one of the daughters of the oldest brother), I can't imagine the holidays without them; we serve them as a first course at Christmas.
  17. Alejandro Poupouko's avatar

    Alejandro Poupouko

    We make 5000 of them every month! The perfect meal for a fat ass family!
  18. Tracy Ducheneau's avatar

    Tracy Ducheneau

    My in-laws introduced me to these, Only their family calls them caplets. We made over 900 last night! such an amazing family tradition. They use ground beef, ground pork and veal. they are round and as small as a nickel, served in chicken broth.They also make another soup served on Easter and Thanksgiving called Pasatellis which is my absolute favorite. The cheese bread they make called Crecia is delicious too, has a good amount of black pepper which gives it a little bite. Their Nonni may have passed but they follow all of her traditions. So thankful I get to enjoy these traditions too!
  19. Larry's avatar


    My grandmother was from Santarcangelo and made these for us....we only knew them to have cheese& spinach(I guess meat was too expensive in her time)....we only knew them as “cuplets” 2 sister’s have always made them but my wife just learned this skill set and we are having them for the Super Bowl! She has been spot on with the chicken broth! My wife and I are going there this spring to meet family for 1st time!! Can’t wait!!
  20. Nanette's avatar


    WHAT A WONDERFUL RECIPE. I have been looking for this recipe for 30 years. I am so happy that you posted this. Thank you forever.
  21. Eileen Marter's avatar

    Eileen Marter

    We do chicken, parm, garlic parsley, and eggs, grand ma use to use veal...too expensive now. No lemon...favorite.
  22. Frank Ceccotti's avatar

    Frank Ceccotti

    Hey Mack, It's from Gubbio, Cappiche.
  23. Tlc's avatar


    Well... If you have the original from Milan... Which I do.... It requires chicken liver and veal... Onion... Parm... Etc. I spent hour after hour every year with my Nona.... Anything less than 30 per person would just be a joke!
  24. Kathy's avatar


    Hey Larry. How was your trip last spring to Santarcangelo? We were there 5 years ago for first time. My grampa was born there. My email is

Leave a Comment

Looking for even more photos and recipes?
Order my latest book.

Ciao Italia: My Lifelong Food Adventures in Italy

Mary Ann's newest book contains over 150 recipes, 60 gorgeous food photos, and many scenic pictures of Italy taken by Mary Ann on her travels through the years.

Order using this link and receive a signed book plate.

Available now!