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What is Mezzaluna Pasta?

An entree of mezzaluna pasta.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 25 March 2014
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Mezzaluna pasta is a type of filled pasta that is made in a half moon shape, as its name implies: mezzaluna means “half moon” in Italian. This basic pasta shape is quite common; most markets carry it, and it is also possible to find it in restaurants. A wide variety of fillings and sauces may be used with the pasta, ranging from vegan versions to rich, creamy meat and cheese incarnations.

Typically, mezzaluna pasta starts with a base of egg pasta, which is rolled out and then cut with a small die into circular shapes. This pasta tends to be small, requiring a delicate hand with the filling to ensure that it is not overloaded. A dab of filling is placed on each circle and then the circles are folded over and crimped to ensure that they are sealed. The resulting pasta can be cooked immediately, kept under refrigeration for around a week, frozen for several months, or dried, depending on personal preference and the ingredients used.

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The ingredients in the filling are usually cooked before they are mixed and stuffed into the pasta. This ensures that they will be completely cooked, creating a uniform texture and ensuring that the resulting pasta is safe to eat if it contains meats. All sorts of things can be used in fillings, like cheeses of varying flavors, meats, seafood, herbs, vegetables, and mushrooms. The wide variety of fillings can be paired with an assortment of sauces, ranging from delicate lemon caper sauces that complement truffle stuffed pasta to hearty meat sauces for cheese-stuffed pasta.

Fresh mezzaluna pasta should cook within a few minutes; it generally floats to the top of the cooking pot when it is finished. Dried pasta may take up to 15 minutes, but cooks should follow the package directions if they are not sure. Chefs should also put some thought into the filling of the pasta when considering a sauce. For example, a heavy sausage sauce would overwhelm a pasta stuffed with seafood.

A cook can make this pasta at home very easily. She should start with her pasta dough of choice; for some variation, she could even add sundried tomatoes or spinach to the dough, especially if she wants to make vegan mezzaluna. While the dough is resting, the cook should mix up a filling; many Italian cookbooks have fillings for stuffed pastas, and cooks can also invent their own. When the filling is mixed to taste, the dough can be rolled out and cut into circles, then filled. If the cook has trouble keeping the mezzaluna closed, she can paint the edges with egg before crimping them together, encouraging a firm bond.

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Discuss this Article

bear78
Post 6

@alisha-- I can get the dough and the filling right, but I always get confused about the sauce. I'm still looking for the perfect mezzaluna sauce.

Last time I made a butter mezzaluna pasta that I served with a butter and garlic sauce with cherry tomatoes. I sauteed the garlic and tomatoes in butter and added some sage. It was good, we ate it all, but I think it could have been much better with a different type of sauce.

Does anyone have any suggestions for mezzaluna sauce?

turquoise
Post 5

@fify-- Most Italian restaurants have it. Chain Italian restaurants like Olive Garden, Bertuccis's, Mazzio's and Maggiano's definitely have it. If you have any smaller Italian family restaurants where you live though, the mezzalunas will be better.

fify
Post 4

What are the best mezzaluna restaurants?

SarahGen
Post 3

@alisha-- Hey, I just use the same recipe that I use to make ravioli dough which is very basic. It's just flour, water, eggs and salt.

You can't really go wrong with the ingredients and if you follow the proportions listed in any ravioli dough recipe, it will work out for mezzaluna pasta.

I think the most important part of making mezzaluna pasta dough is to take your time with it and knead it nicely. The method I use for kneading is I make the dough into a ball. Then I push down moving outward and then roll it back. I repeat this until the dough is soft.

discographer
Post 2

Anyone have a mezzaluna pasta dough recipe they can share?

The filling is easy, but I never seem to get the dough right.

SteamLouis
Post 1

I love picking up a package of pre-prepared mezzaluna pasta from the store when I don't have time to cook. It comes out really well and tastes like it was made at home. It's such a life saver when I'm busy.

My favorite filling is a three cheese filling. As a sauce, I make a garlic cheese sauce at home. The result is a really good Italian pasta dish. My kids also love this, they say that it's like restaurant pasta. It's the one thing I can always get them to eat.

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