“Ciasonjie da Fighes” (fig cialzons) are a type of pasta similar to ravioli, typical to the Trentino-Alto Adige and Friuli Venezia-Giulia regions, in the north-easternmost corner of Italy. The name is from the dialect in Val di Fassa Trentino, which is the hometown of David, a Cesarino host who lives in Rome.
The name of this fresh filled pasta changes from town to town in this area, such as casumziei, cassunziei, casumzieei, casônsei... The language being a lasting sign of the Austro-Hungarian influence on the region.
David tells us that the Val di Fassa area historically went through many hardships, so the locals used the humble ingredients they had to hand to create something delicious for their families.
Our Cesarino recommends serving these pasta parcels in a browned butter sauce with toasted poppyseeds and parmesan. The salty cheese, the nutty notes of the butter, and slightly bitter seeds balances perfectly with the smooth, sweet filling of fig and potato. Delicious!
1. Soak the figs in a large bowl of warm water overnight.
2. When it's time to cook, remove the figs from the water, but don’t throw the water away. We’ll use this fig water for our pasta dough, as it’s full of flavour.
3. Heat a large pan of salted water, and boil the potatoes whilst you make your pasta dough. When they are cooked, leave them to cool. If you can, do this the day before!
4. Pile the flour on a wooden surface, and create a well with your fingers. Into the well, add a little olive oil and salt and crack the egg into it. Start mixing the ingredients with your fingers always following a clockwise movement. Then, add a splash of the fig water to make a soft and homogeneous mixture. Knead for about 10 minutes until you achieve a smooth, elastic dough.
5. Leave the dough to rest for 15 minutes under a glass bowl.
6. Meanwhile, prepare the pasta filling by crushing the boiled potatoes with finely chopped bay leaves. Mix in the figs (chopped finely) and a little salt and pepper to create a homogeneous mixture. If you need, you can add a little leftover fig water to bind the mixture.
7. When the dough has rested, roll it out to about 1-2mm thickness. Then, with the help of a drinking glass, cut the dough into circles. Place a teaspoon of filling in the center and then close in half-moon shape. To ensure the edges stick together well, wet them with a little water before you seal them. You have made your Ciasonjie!
8. Let the Ciasonjie rest on a clean tea towel dusted with flour for another 10 minutes or so. While they rest, heat a large pan of water, and add salt when it comes to a rolling boil.
9. Add the Ciasonjie to the boiling water and cook for 6/8 minutes.
10. While they’re cooking, melt a knob of butter in a skillet, and allow it to brown for a nutty flavour. Add grated parmesan and poppy seeds.
11. Drain the Ciasonjie, and toss briefly in the skillet, covering them well with the butter sauce.
Your Ciasonjie are now ready to serve, buon appetito!
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