Corzetti is a round stamped pasta shape typical of the Riviera di Levante, the Ligurian coast east of Genoa, which resembles a medieval coin called a corzetto. Corzetti are made from flour, water and, sometimes, a few eggs. To make them, you would need a corzetti stamp, a two-piece wooden tool made up of a round cutter and a round engraved stamped carved in a design that embosses itself on the pasta.
You should use the cutter to cut out the corzetti from a freshly rolled pasta sheet, then press each corzetto between the two sides of the stamp, pressing the design on the pasta disk. Lightly dusted with a little semolina or fine cornmeal, they should be laid out on a sheet pan in a single layer until ready to cook. Nowadays corzetti stamps are hard to find even in Italy; one of the few remaining master corzetti carver is Filippo Romagnoli – Intagli Romagnoli, Tuscan craftsmen since 1918, who specializes in a variety of handcrafted wooden pasta tools and still carves them by hand
Traditionally, corzetti are served with melted butter and fresh herbs, basil pesto, or walnut sauce. In Tuscany, where wealthy families from Genoa used to travel to commission works from Florentine master wood carvers, corzetti are sometimes cooked in red wine: the pasta is first boiled until al dente in a mixture of salted water and red wine (preferably Chianti), then sautéed in a pan with extra virgin olive oil, garlic, fennel seeds and some extra wine. This dish is rustic and delicious, perfect for early spring, when you want something fresh, yet still comforting.
THE RECIPE OF RED-WINE CORZETTI PASTA WITH FENNEL SEEDS
For the pasta dough:
300 gr flour
100 gr cold water
1 pinch of salt
For the sauce:
1 bottle of red wine, preferably Chianti or Chianti Classico
2 garlic cloves, peeled
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Dried bay leaves
Grated pecorino cheese
Sift the flour into a bowl, then add the eggs, the water and the salt, combining to a firm dough (if it’s too crumbly, add a little water). Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, then cover in plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes. In the meantime, pour 2 liters of water and the red wine in a large pot, reserving one glass of wine. Add enough salt, some dried bay leaves, marjoram, black pepper and bring to a boil.
Now roll the dough out (it should not be extremely thin) and use your corzetti stamp to cut the corzetti. Here you will find photos of some examples of handmade wooden stamps for Corzetti.
When the water/red wine mixture starts boiling, add the corzetti and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta and sauté in a pan with extra virgin olive oil, garlic and fennel seeds, then add the remaining glass of wine and finish cooking the corzetti. Serve immediately with some extra virgin olive oil and grated pecorino cheese.