I went to an Italian Cooking class last week and got so inspired I haven’t been able to sleep! One of the things we made was Cavatelli pasta. It looks a bit like long shells, inside out Orecchiette, or Gnocchi, but there’s no potato in the recipe. All you need is semolina flour and water!
Oh, and a Cavatelli machine. I got mine at an Italian imports store which happens to be close by, but you can get them online. If you don’t want to get a machine, then you can form the dough by hand or make it into Orecchiette pasta. Check out this youtube video. The lady makes it look so easy!
The machine makes quick work of the dough and using it for the first time, I took about 45 minutes to roll out my dough into logs and then feed the logs through the machine. Now that I’ve had a go I know I’ll be a lot quicker next time.
The pasta was amazing! I was so impressed with how quick it is to make too compared to making Spaghetti with the roller. No need to roll the sheet thinner and thinner. I think this pasta will be on high rotation at our house. This pasta also works well in pasta salads.
Hand-made Cavatelli Pasta
serves 3 – 4
500g fine semolina
about 200g (200ml) warm water
Flour (semolina or plain) for dusting
Pour the semolina into a large bowl. Add 3/4 of the water. Work the water into the semolina to make a dough that is fairly stiff and just holds together. Add a little bit more of the water as needed. Depending on the semolina you have and how humid the day is the amount of water needed will change.
Take the dough out of the bowl and knead for a few minutes until it is smooth and staying together. Form the dough into a ball. Cover in cling wrap and leave to rest on the bench for about 30 minutes.
Un-wrap the dough and cut off a slice about 1cm (1/2″) thick. Keep the rest of the dough covered with a damp tea towel. Roll the dough into a log about 1cm (1/2″) thick. Feed the dough log through the Cavatelli machine. Sprinkle the Cavatelli with flour so that they don’t stick together.
Repeat with the rest of the dough. Leave the Cavatelli in a single layer on floured trays or towels to dry out for at least an hour or until you are ready to use them.
Because there is no salt in the pasta itself, make sure you’re generous when adding salt to the cooking water. They should take about 5 minutes to cook and will still be just firm in the centre.
You can leave the pasta to dry completely and then store in an airtight container or if where you live is very humid, you can freeze them on trays and then transfer to plastic bags once hard.