Few things are as soothing as homemade pasta. This shape is especially so for me. My husband’s Aunt Marie used to make these with me when we were first married. Her recipe was a bit different because there were no exact measurements – you know those recipes! So I worked with it over the years and came up with a more exact recipe that works every time.
Making these is still a family affair. My daughter Caitlin usually gets her hands dirty with me, but this time she was taking the pictures!
As with many pastas, cavatelli are pretty versatile. You serve them with different meats or veggies and with different sauces. They are awesome with a quick tomato sauce, as shown here, with a Sunday gravy, or even in a white wine garlic sauce with fresh asparagus and peas. I’ve also made them with a brown butter sage sauce that was really good.
So here goes Aunt Marie – “poke and roll”.
2 cups all purpose flour
8 oz. ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1 tsp salt
Make a well in the center of the flour. Add the cheese, egg and salt. With a fork mix the ingredients in the center and gradually add the flour from the edges into the mixture until beginning to combine.
Lose the fork and get your hands dirty! Knead into a ball, but don’t overwork it. You want tender pasta. Shape the dough into a small loaf.
Slice off a piece of the dough. I like to use a dough scraper for this bit coming up.
Make sure your surface is lightly floured. Take the slice of dough and roll it into a tube about an inch thick. Slice pieces off of the roll to make little tubes of pasta dough.
Take each one and roll them towards you using gentle pressure with the edge of the dough scraper or a knife from cut end to cut end to make the distinctive cavatelli shape.
Place them on a baking sheet to rest while you bring your pasta water to boil. Don’t forget to salt the water generously before adding the pasta. Boil for about 15 minutes. They will rise to the surface as they cook. Drain and serve with your sauce.
You can easily double this recipe and freeze the extras.