Homemade Corzetti Pasta with Marjoram and Pine Nuts: Recipe from Liguria.
This recipe for homemade corzetti pasta with marjoram and pine nuts is a fabulously elegant and delicious traditional recipe from Liguria. It is a great example of how you can make a 5 star dish with just a few simple ingredients.
What is corzetti pasta?
Corzetti pasta medallions, also called corzetti del levante or croxetti, are a unique stamped egg pasta originally from Liguria. Originally made for special occasions, homemade corzetti pasta dates back to medieval times! This is a pasta with really interesting ancient origins. You can read more about it in my corzetti post. But in short, food historians believe the name of this pasta derives from the crozetto, a 14th century Genoan coin. Both the coin and the pasta medallions traditionally had a cross on one side.
Corzetti del Levante are described as ‘printed’ or ‘stamped’ because the design on these small circles of pasta is made with a wooden mold or stamp which has 2 engravings carved into it (one for each side of the pasta medallion). Apparently, during the Renaissance, nobles had their cooks stamp these pasta circles with their family coat of arms. The wooden stamps created to make their corzetti were handed down from generation to generation. They were also a gift that a father-in-law gave to his new daughter-in-law at the time of her wedding.
How to make homemade corzetti pasta.
Making the dough for homemade corzetti pasta medallions is much the same as other types of egg pasta. However, as with many traditional Italian recipes, there are different versions! Some people make corzetti dough with soft wheat flour and whole eggs, others use only the egg yolks and some add water or wine too!
We used Italian ‘0’ flour, 3 eggs yolks and 50ml of white wine for our dough. I say ‘we’ because my hubby, Salvatore, helped me. In fact, we’ve recently started to make fresh pasta together on Sundays when we don’t have other plans. It’s so much fun doing it together!
Where to find a corzetti stamp.
As far as I know, there are only 2 ways to buy a corzetti stamp, either online or from a traditional wood carver in Italy. There aren’t so many of the latter these days, but I know they exist in Liguria, particularly in Varese Ligure or in the historical centre of Genoa.
Online, there are many companies that sell stamps for homemade corzetti pasta. Of course, most are in Italy, but some ship abroad. There’s a company in Florence that makes them called Florentine touch. You can order through their Etsy shop https://www.etsy.com/shop/FlorentineTouch. I’ve also seen some corzetti pasta stamps on Amazon.
The stamp I used to make this homemade corzetti pasta with marjoram and pine nuts was actually a present sent to me by a Pasta Project follower in Western Australia called Ted Stewart- Wynne. Ted makes corzetti stamps and other wooden kitchen tools, such as cheese knives, mostly as a hobby. Although he told me he does sell them occasionally! His stamps are handmade out of olive wood. Very beautiful!
How to use the corzetti stamps.
Once you have made your pasta dough making homemade corzetti pasta medallions isn’t so difficult. The stamps comes in two sections. One section has an end for cutting circles out of the dough. The other end has an engraved design upon which you have to place your cut pasta circles. The other part of the stamp also has a design as well as a handle.
You just need to press the second part onto the first part where the dough is using a little bit of force, but not too much. When you remove the top of the stamp, you’ll find a nicely embossed corzetti pasta medallion. Remove the pasta circle from the stamp carefully and place on a lightly floured clean tea towel or baking paper.
Obviously it takes a little time to make enough corzetti medallions for 4 people but it’s well worth the effort! The ingredients in the recipe below makes about 500g ( about 1lb) of homemade corzetti pasta. When cooking this pasta it’s best to add a few drops of olive oil to the pasta water to prevent the pasta sticking together. Cooking time will depend on how thin your pasta is and how dry!
I cooked one batch almost immediately and the pasta took only 3-4 minutes after rising to the surface of the water. However, I cooked the rest the next day and because the pasta had dried, it took longer to cook! We ate the first batch with melted butter, marjoram and parmigiano. So so good! I served the second batch with a very simple homemade tomato sauce and it was delicious too!
How to serve your homemade corzetti pasta.
The recipe below is for the simplest of corzetti condiments. It includes just butter, marjoram, pine nuts and grated parmigiano cheese. I first toasted the pine nuts by dry frying them for a couple of minutes. I then added the butter and once it had melted, I added the fresh marjoram. This recipe is very similar to a sage butter condiment that Italians add to many types of fresh pasta such as these tuscan gnudi with sage butter or delicious pumpkin tortelli.
In Liguria, they also make this dish with olive oil instead of butter and add garlic. Liguria is famous for its olive oil which is usually made from Taggiasca or Opalino olives. The former are my favourite olives! Ligurian olive oil tends to be sweet and light. This is the traditional oil for basil pesto! Since I had run out of the olive oil I get from my local farmers, I decided to go with the butter version. I’ll be trying this dish again once I get my fresh supply of olive oil after next month’s harvest!
You can also find dried corzetti although it’s not as widely available as other dried pasta. I have used dried corzetti in two other traditional recipes, one with a Genovese meat sauce and the other with basil pesto, potatoes and green beans. If you make homemade corzetti pasta you may want to serve them with one of those recipes instead (see links below).
Whichever way you serve your homemade corzetti, I’m sure you’ll fall in love with this pasta and want to make it time and again. So eventually you can try all the corzetti recipes!
If you give this homemade corzetti pasta with marjoram and pine nuts a try do let me know how it turns out, either by commenting below or on the Pasta Project Facebook page. And if you feel it’s worth sharing with friends please do.
All your feedback and support is much appreciated!
Other corzetti recipes to try.
- Corzetti with Genovese meat sauce al tocca di carne
- Pesto pasta Liguria with potatoes and green beans
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Homemade Corzetti Pasta with Marjoram and Pine Nuts
For the corzetti pasta
- 300 g Italian soft wheat '0' flour (10.5 oz) ‘0’ flour is not a finely milled as ‘00’ but you can use either or all purpose flour.
- 50ml white wine (1.7floz) If your dough seems dry add a bit of tepid water. You can also use only water.
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 pinch salt
For pasta sauce
- 60 g butter (2oz) if using unsalted add a pinch of salt
- 3-4 sprigs fresh marjoram
- 2 tbsp pine nuts
- Parmigiano Reggiano grated as required
Prepare the pasta dough
- You can start the dough 2 ways, with a stand mixer or without.
- Put the sifted flour, egg yolks, salt and wine or water into your stand mixer and start the dough there, kneading for about 5 minutes. Then turn it out onto a floured pastry board and continue kneading for another 5-10 minutes.
- You can also make the dough without a stand mixer. Just sift the flour on a pastry board, make a large well in it and put the egg yolks and wine or water. Mix the ingredients a little with a fork, bringing a little flour towards the center and then knead for about ten minutes.
- Form your dough into a ball and let it rest for at least half an hour, at room temperature, wrapped in plastic wrap or a tea towel
Make the corzetti pasta
- After resting, divide the dough into 3-4 pieces and roll out each piece one at a time with a rolling pin. You can also use a pasta machine, but corzetti dough doesn’t need to be very thin. Aim for a thickness that allows you to easily cut out the circles with the cutting part of the corzetti stamp.
- Then with the lower part of the corzetti stamp or, even with a 5 cm pastry cutter, cut out the pasta discs. Press each disc firmly between the two lightly floured parts of the mold/stamp, remove carefully and spread them out on a floured tea towel.
Boil the water and make the sauce
- While you are making the pasta put a large pot of water onto boil. Add salt and a few drops of olive oil and bring to the boil again.
- Put the pine nuts into a pan without seasoning and toast them over a moderate heat.Then add the butter to the pan and melt it with a few sprigs of fresh marjoram. Let it fry for a few minutes over a very low heat.
Cook the pasta and finish the dish
- Cook the pasta medallions in the boiling water a few at a time ( I usually don’t put more than 20 corzetti in the pot together and aim for 10- 12 per person). Once they rise to the surface let them continue cooking for 3-4 minutes. Make sure you check the pasta before you remove it from the water. Once it’s ready, remove with a slotted spoon and add to the sauce.
- Gently mix the cooked pasta with the sauce and serve immediately with grated parmigiano and a few more marjoram leaves.
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