This pasta is called capunti (or cavatelli, or gnocchetti depending on which region of Italy you ask) and it’s about the simplest pasta you can make. I use a mixture of semolina flour and 00 wheat flour, but it would work perfectly well using all semolina flour, or all 00 flour if you don’t have both. If you don’t have a ridged gnocchi board like mine, then you can make it on the work surface, and it won’t be ridged, but it will be no less delicious for it. If you don’t have a dough scraper then use a knife, or just your fingers (in which case it would technically be strascinati, or raschiatelli)
The sauce is my version of sugo finto, which literally translates as “fake sauce”. It’s a meatless ragu, which is cooked for a long time, to make it really richly flavoured and hearty. Not only is it absolutely delicious, it’s filling, supremely comforting and incredibly cheap to make. The parsley and sun-dried tomatoes are lovely, but not essential if you don’t have them. Just do make sure to dice the veg very finely, that’s what makes it all come together like a ragu. If you aren’t interested in making your own pasta, this would be delicious with dried pasta – I’d suggest either a wide noodle like tagliatelle or papardelle, or something like rigatoni.
Sugo Finto with Capunti
For the capunti
- 150g semolina flour (also called semolina rimanciata or fine semolina)
- 150g tipo 00 pasta flour
- 130ml hot water (hand hot, not boiling)
For the sugo finto
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, very finely diced
- 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 medium/large carrot, very finely diced (I never bother to peel)
- 3 sticks celery, very finely diced
- 3 tbsp good quality tomato puree
- 100ml red wine
- 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 300ml vegetable stock
- Small handful flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 3 sun-dried tomato halves (in olive oil), drained and finely chopped
- Salt and black pepper
- Big handful rocket leaves to serve
- Grated vegetarian parmesan to serve (or not if vegan)
- To make the dough, put the flours together in a bowl and pour the water over. Use a fork at first to stir in the water, then once it looks crumbly, use your hands to bring it together to form a dough, and knead it vigorously for 10-15 minutes until smooth and elastic. Wrap in cling film and rest at room temp for 30 minutes. To shape it, divide it roughly into four pieces, and roll each piece into a rope approximately 1cm in diameter. Cut these ropes into inch long pieces, then one by one place them on the ridged board (or just on the work surface if you don’t have a board) and use the flat edge of a dough scraper held at a 45′ angle to drag it towards you, so the dough curls up around the scraper. I have a video of this on Instagram if you look in my highlights. If you don’t have a dough scraper, use two finger tips in the same way as described for the dough scraper. Once they’re all shaped, let them sit at room temp on a tray lightly dusted with flour for at least 30 mins before cooking.
- In a large saucepan heat the olive oil over a medium heat, then add the onions, garlic, carrot and celery and saute stirring frequently for 8-10 minutes. Add the tomato puree, then the red wine, and simmer for another 5 minutes until the majority of the red wine has boiled off. Add the tinned tomatoes and veg stock, season with salt and pepper, and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure it doesn’t stick. Off the heat, add the parsley and chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Taste, and add more salt and black pepper if necessary. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, then add the capunti. Stir, then wait for them to float to the top. Give them 2-3 minutes, but check frequently, as they should be lovely and al dente. Use a slotted spoon to scoop them out of the water and into the pan containing the sugo finto, stirring to coat them in the sauce. Stir in the rocket leaves, then serve immediately with grated veggie parmesan on top.