There are also a different type of Corzetti from the Val Polcevera, one of the principal valleys of the area of Genoa, that are made in "figure eight" shape and look nothing like coins.
Corzetti stampae are also made in the area surrounding Novi Ligure, just across the border with Piedmont in the Province of Alessandria. Both coin types are similar to an historic Ligurian pasta called Croxetti, nowadays produced as dry pasta in factories, but originally made by peasants in the Middle Ages to be consumed exclusively by the ruling class.
It is also possible that during the Renaissance they were used for weddings with the coats of arms of both bride and groom, one each on either side. Some claim that one local family made corzetti to impress Maria Luigia of Borbone, just before leaving for France to marry Napoleon.
These small, thin rounds of pasta are given an embossed decoration using a special wooden hand-tool. One side of the corzetti tool is used to cut out the round shapes, while the other side is carved with the embossing pattern--one pattern for each side of the coin. The embossing does more than just decorate the pasta coins--the resulting texture helps the sauce cling to the pasta.
Sugo di noci
1 ½ cups chopped walnuts
1 medium size clove garlic
1/2 cup of fresh ciabatta bread, cubed, soaked in a bit of milk, then squeezed nearly dry.
1/4 cup fresh marjoram leaves
3 -4 tablespoons grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
a pinch of salt
Run all the ingredients in a blender until smooth, with some texture remaining.
This sauce can be used as any pesto, tossing with the pasta. If you like, you can also place the sauce into a large saute pan and heat along with the corzetti.
The ingredients for the pasta are for 4 persons.
3 1/3 cups all purpose flour.
5 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup of white wine
- Place the flour on a wooden board and create a well.
- Place the egg yolks into the well.
- Add half the wine and slowly incorporate the mixture into the flour with a fork, adding the rest of the wine as you mix.
- Knead the dough for several minutes until very smooth and supple.
- Wrap with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.
- Using a bench knife, cut the dough into 3 equal pieces, flattening each into a rectangle.
- Using a pasta machine, starting thicker and moving to thinner settings, roll sheets until they are about 1/8" - 3/16" thick. If you roll the pasta too thin, your corzetti stamps won't leave a strong impression and the pattern on one side will cancel out the other. Also, the deeper the pattern, the better your corzetti will hold sauce.
- Dust the sheets with flour to prevent sticking. Cover with a cloth to prevent drying.
- Using the cutting side of a Corzetti stamp, first dip the stamp into flour (to prevent sticking), then cut a disk from the sheet. Some people dust the coin shapes in flour just before placing them into the stamp.
- Next, place the cut pasta disk between the patterned sides of the stamp. Pressing down on the pasta, you will emboss both sides with the design on the stamp.
- Repeat many, many times.
- Let the disks dry in a single layer on sheet pans lined with clean cotton kitchen towels.
- Have your sauce ready before cooking the corzetti--they cook fast.
- Fill a large pot with cold water, add 3-4 tablespoons of Kosher salt to the water and bring to the boil. Put the Corzetti in to the water, stir to prevent sticking.
- The corzetti should be ready when the water comes back to a boil, plus one minute or so. Test a corzetti to see if they are just a bit before being al dente. They will finish cooking in the pan with the sauce.
- Place the sauce in a hot pan and cook with the corzetti, toss to coat with sauce, perhaps adding a tablespoon or two of the pasta water the help the sauce to cling.