Corzetti Stampati with Seared Mushrooms, Marjoram & Pine Nuts
Recipe and photos by Meryl Feinstein
I’m a huge fan of Ligurian food. The flavors are, typically, light and refreshing—think Genovese pesto and focaccia, of course, but also vegetables and herbs, citrus, fish, and olives—and just hearing the name “Liguria” brings back fond memories of sun-drenched lunches overlooking the sea. When it comes to pasta, you’re most likely to find hand-fashioned spirals called trofie; herbaceous pot-bellied ravioli known as pansotti; linguine-like trenette; delicate silk handkerchiefs (fazzoletti di seta); potato, cheese, and mint-stuffed turle; and a pasta called corzetti (or croxetti).
There are a few variations of corzetti, but the most popular version are the embossed pasta medallions of Genoa. This pasta is old, dating back to the 13th century, and it’s likely that they were first created using metal coins and therefore a symbol of affluence. Today, elaborate wooden stamps are pressed into soft circles of dough, resulting in pasta that’s both delicious and show-stoppingly beautiful.
I’ve made this style of corzetti many times, having collected several stamps over the years, but I first fell in love with it when I made it alongside Genoese food writer Enrica Monzani. The dough in this recipe—a chewy and fragrant combination of soft wheat flour, eggs, water, and white wine—is the one I learned from Enrica, and I’ll rarely make corzetti with anything else. The sauce is also a twist on this pasta’s traditional condiment of fresh marjoram and pine nuts. Here I’ve added seared wild mushrooms, which bring body and texture, not to mention a warm earthiness that makes for perfect wintry comfort food. Just remember: the pasta cooking water is your friend and the key to creating a luscious, creamy sauce.
Corzetti Stampati with Seared Mushrooms, Marjoram & Pine Nuts
Prep time: 90 Minutes
Cook time: 20 Minutes
Work surface, preferably wooden
Pasta machine or rolling pin
Star corzetti stamp
For the pasta:
300 grams (about 2 cups) 00 pasta flour or all-purpose flour
50 grams (1 large) egg
50 ml (a scant ¼ cup) water
50 ml (a scant ¼ cup) dry white wine
For the sauce:
50 grams (½ cup) raw walnuts
35 grams (a generous ¼ cup) pine nuts, plus more for serving
60 grams (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, divided
90 ml (2 tablespoons plus ¼ cup) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
225 grams (8 ounces) mixed mushrooms like oyster, maitake, chanterelle, and king trumpet, cleaned and sliced or torn into bite-sized pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh marjoram or oregano leaves, plus more for serving
30 grams (1 ounce) finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, divided, plus more for serving
To make the pasta dough:
Make the pasta dough by hand (see instructions for the “well method”) and knead it vigorously until smooth and firm, about 10 minutes. Alternatively, add the flour, egg, water, and wine to a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse in a few brief increments until the ingredients are evenly distributed and couscous-like beads of dough form (the mixture should come together easily when pressed). Transfer the dough to a work surface and knead for 5 to 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and homogeneous.
Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. If you plan to roll the dough with a rolling pin, let it rest for at least 1 hour.
To make the corzetti:
Set up your workspace: Dust a sheet pan with semolina flour or line it with parchment paper or a dry dishcloth. Gather your tools and set up your pasta machine if you plan to use one.
Roll out the dough: Cut off a third of the dough and re-wrap the remainder.
On a wooden work surface (a cutting board works great!), flatten the dough into a rough oval with the heel of your hand until it’s about ¼-inch thick. Set your pasta machine (I use a Marcato Atlas 150) to its widest setting (#0) and roll the dough through once (it will be tapered at the ends). Rotate the dough 90 degrees and fold the ends into the center like an envelope, so the width of the folded pasta sheet is similar in width to the pasta roller. Flatten the dough again with your palm, then roll it through the widest setting once more so you’re left with an even-ish rectangle.
Continue rolling the pasta sheet through the machine once on each progressive setting until you have a semi-thin sheet (setting #5 on the Marcato Atlas). If the dough is at all sticky as it goes through the machine, or the sheet starts to tear on the surface, dust both sides with a little ‘00’ or all-purpose flour.
Alternatively, use a rolling pin to roll the section of dough into a sheet that’s about 2mm thick—don’t go crazy and do the best you can!
Cut the sheet into rounds: If it feels tacky, dust both sides of the pasta sheet with a bit of 00 or all-purpose flour. Use the hollow cutter side of your corzetti stamp to cut as many rounds from the dough as you can. Ball up the scraps and re-wrap them—after all of the fresh dough is gone, you can re-roll the scrap ball to make more corzetti (any remaining scraps afterward can be cut into pieces and frozen for soup).
Stamp the dough: Flip the corzetti stamp over so the patterned side is facing up and place a round of dough in the center. Align the other patterned piece of the corzetti stamp on top. Press down firmly, sandwiching the dough between the pieces. Gently remove the round to reveal a beautifully printed medallion. If the pasta sticks to the stamp, dust the rounds or the stamp with a little more flour.
Arrange the finished corzetti in a single layer on the prepared sheet pan (if you like, you can stack the pieces by placing a sheet of parchment between each layer or dusting them with semolina). Repeat with the remaining rounds, and then the remaining dough.
Storage note: To store the corzetti for future use, freeze the coins uncovered on the sheet pan until solid, about 25 minutes, then carefully transfer them to a freezer bag and return to the freezer (they’ll last for up to 3 months). When ready to cook, boil the pasta in water straight from frozen—no need to thaw—and let them cook for an extra minute or two than usual.
To make the sauce:
Toast the nuts: Heat the oven to 375°F. Spread the walnuts and pine nuts on a small foil-lined sheet pan. Toast in the oven until golden and fragrant, watching closely, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool.
In a large sauté pan or skillet, warm half of the butter and 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, turning the cloves occasionally, until fragrant and golden, about 3 minutes. Remove the garlic and reserve.
Turn the heat to medium-high. Add the mushrooms and stir until they’re coated in butter/oil. Cook in a single layer, stirring occasionally but mostly leaving them undisturbed, until deeply golden, 7 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a plate. Turn off the heat and set the pan aside (don’t wipe it out).
In a food processor, combine the reserved garlic, toasted nuts, marjoram, and remaining ¼ cup oil. Pulse until the mixture is paste-like but still has some texture. Stir in half of the Parmigiano-Reggiano and season to taste.
To finish the dish:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then season it generously with salt. Add the corzetti to the pot, shaking off any excess flour before you do so, and cook until tender, 3 to 5 minutes (depending on thickness and drying time—always taste-test!).
While the pasta cooks, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium-low heat in the pan used to cook the mushrooms. With a spider sieve or slotted spoon, transfer the pasta to the pan and toss briefly to coat in the butter. Add the nut/marjoram mixture, mushrooms, and ¼ to ½ cup pasta cooking water. Cook over low heat until the sauce is creamy and the pasta is well-coated, adding more pasta cooking water as needed. Turn off the heat, add the remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano, and toss until combined. Adjust seasoning to taste.
Divide the corzetti among plates and serve topped with more marjoram, pine nuts, cheese, and a drizzle of olive oil if you’d like.
Meryl Feinstein is a chef, pasta maker, and food writer who left the corporate world for the food industry in 2018. After graduating from the Institute of Culinary Education, Meryl got her start at the renowned New York establishments Lilia and Misi, where she was part of the pasta production team. During her time in New York, she founded Pasta Social Club, a platform that brings people together over a shared love of food, learning, and making connections both on- and offline. Meryl now lives in Washington, D.C., where she develops recipes and teaches pasta-making workshops. She is the author of Pasta Every Day, a guide to making pasta doughs, shapes, fillings, and sauces with joy and confidence for all home cooks, which will be published in September 2023. Her dishes draw on her travels in Italy, ongoing research into the rich history of traditional pasta making, and her Jewish heritage.