Casunziei all’ampezzana – beetroot-stuffed ravioli with poppy seeds

This casunziei recipe is a fantastic example of the sort of hearty, filled pasta you find across northern Italy, particularly the more mountainous parts of Veneto. Filled with beetroot and ricotta, these little half moons are ideal for colder weather.

First published in 2018

Originally from Cortina d’Ampezzo, a town of the North-Eastern Dolomites, casunziei all’ampezzana are hearty beetroot-stuffed ravioli seasoned with oozing butter, Parmesan cheese and poppy seeds.

The simple filling consists of roasted beetroot and ricotta cheese, while the shape of the paper-thin, fresh pasta dough that envelops it is that of a half moon.

What’s special about this dish, beyond the unusual combination of flavours and the beautiful colour, is certainly the texture, which benefits from the contrast between the melt-in-the-mouth feel of the stuffed pasta and the nice crunch of the many tiny poppy seeds.




Pasta dough

  • 300g of plain flour, sifted
  • 3 eggs

Beetroot filling

  • 500g of beetroot, peeled
  • 100g of ricotta
  • 2 eggs
  • fine breadcrumbs, as needed
  • fine sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper


  • 60g of butter
  • 1 tbsp of poppy seeds
  • Parmesan, grated


  • Steamer
  • Food processor
  • Muslin cloth
  • Pasta machine
  • 7cm round cutter


Start by making the pasta dough. tip the flour onto a work surface and make a well in the middle. Crack the eggs inside the well and beat with a fork, incorporating the flour a little at the time, until you see some lumps of dough coming together. Carry on with your hands, kneading the dough until you have a smooth, elastic ball. Flatten it into a disc, wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for half an hour
Meanwhile, make the filling. Steam the beetroots until tender all the way through – about 30 minutes. Place in a food processor and blitz to a purée. Place them over a fine-mesh sieve lined with muslin to drain for 10 minutes
Transfer the beetroot purée to a bowl. Add the ricotta and eggs and as many breadcrumbs as needed to thicken the mixture – it should be creamy but not runny. Season with salt and pepper and set aside
Divide the pasta dough into three pieces and roll out using a pasta machine – I normally stop at to the second-to-last setting
Using a round, 7-to-8 cm ravioli cutter, cut out as many circles of pasta as you can get. Ease a teaspoon of filling into the centre of each circle then gently fold it over to form a half moon, smoothing down to remove any air pockets. Press the edges together using a fork
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Next to it, heat a large skillet and melt the butter for the sauce
Cook the casunziei in boiling water for 3 minutes, or until they float to the surface. Drain them with a slotted spoon and transfer to the skillet with the melted butter. Sauté for 30 seconds, until evenly coated in butter
Sprinkle with poppy seeds and Parmesan cheese and serve immediately

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