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Cavatelli (Every little thing You Have to Know) – The Pasta Mission

Homemade cavatelli on a tray.

What’s Cavatelli?

Cavatelli is a small pasta shell created from durum wheat semolina flour and is initially from the Molise and Puglia areas. Nonetheless, this pasta can be common all through Southern Italy and is conventional at this time in Abruzzo, Campania, Basilicata, Calabria and Sicily. Every of those areas has its personal typical cavatelli recipes.

The phrase cavatelli really means ‘little hollows’. It comes from the Italian ‘cavo’ or ‘incavo’ which means hole or indent. The closest English phrase could be cavity!

Cavatelli with rocket and tomatoes.Cavatelli with rocket and tomatoes.

Completely different sizes of cavatelli.

Basic cavatelli from Puglia and Molise are historically made by rolling pasta dough into lengthy ropes or snakes after which chopping them into items 5cms in size. The cavatelli is then shaped by urgent the three center fingers of 1 hand into every bit of dough to create a cavity.

Nonetheless, in some components of Southern Italy, they make cavatelli shorter utilizing solely the index and center fingers or solely the index finger. Calabrian cavatelli, referred to as ‘cavateddhi’ within the native dialect, are made utilizing solely the index finger.

In some locations, folks make the pasta items even longer by doubling the size of the ‘rope’ to about 10 centimeters. They then use the three center fingers of each arms.

Cavatelli is historically clean, ‘lisce’. Nonetheless, some folks desire it with ridges or grooves (rigate), like malloreddus. In an effort to make the pasta this fashion, you want a small wood board, just like an gnocchi board. These days, it is also widespread to see folks make cavatelli utilizing a knife or a machine.

Historical past and Custom

Cavatelli is historically served with completely different substances from area to area. In Molise, the unique dwelling of cavatelli, this pasta has lengthy been an essential a part of household Sunday lunch menus.

Cavatelli with Senise peppers.Cavatelli with Senise peppers.
Cavatelli with Senise peppers.

On Sundays and different particular days, they typically serve cavatelli with a hearty pork sausage ragu, a thick sauce made with pork ribs, sausages, and tomatoes. This dish is a staple, beloved for its wealthy flavors and connection to the area’s culinary heritage.

There’s additionally a legend that claims that within the outdated days, a bride-to-be’s future mother-in-law would examine her fingertips to see in the event that they regarded well-used and considerably worn. This was the tell-tale signal that she knew the best way to make cavatelli and would, subsequently, make an excellent spouse!


Contemporary and dried cavatelli usually have simply three substances: durum wheat semolina flour, salt, and water. Nonetheless, typically, additional virgin olive oil is added to recent cavatelli dough for a barely richer taste.

Homemade cavatelli ingredients on a kitchen table.Homemade cavatelli ingredients on a kitchen table.

Some recipes additionally use two kinds of flour; ‘00’ gentle wheat flour along with the semolina flour referred to as ‘semola di grana dura rimacinata’ (indicating it has been milled twice for fineness).


To make your personal cavatelli comply with these steps or try my selfmade cavatelli recipe.

Mixing the Dough: Start by pouring the flour right into a bowl and mixing within the salt. Create a nicely within the middle and pour within the water. Steadily combine the water with the encompassing flour, incorporating all of the flour and water till you possibly can flip the dough out onto a floor for kneading.

Cavatelli dough ingredients in a bowl.Cavatelli dough ingredients in a bowl.

Kneading: Knead the dough, including extra water whether it is too dry or a bit extra flour whether it is too sticky, aiming for a play dough-like consistency. Proceed kneading for 5-10 minutes till clean and never sticky. Let it relaxation, lined or wrapped in plastic wrap, for 15-Half-hour.

Cavatelli pasta dough in plastic wrap.Cavatelli pasta dough in plastic wrap.

Shaping: Sprinkle semola flour on two rimmed baking sheets. Divide the dough into 8 items. Preserving the remaining lined, roll one piece of dough into a protracted rope, about 8mm in diameter, then lower into 2 cm lengthy items.

Utilizing the guidelines of your index and center fingers, firmly press every bit and pull the dough towards you so it lengthens barely and varieties a curl within the center. If utilizing a gnocchi board, roll the items down the board so as to add ridges.

Cavatelli pasta dough being shaped.Cavatelli pasta dough being shaped.

Cooking Ideas

Water Preparation: Begin by bringing a big pot of water to a vigorous boil. Add a beneficiant quantity of salt and anticipate the water to return to a full boil earlier than including the pasta.

Contemporary Cavatelli: The dimensions of your cavatelli can have an effect on cooking time, however a dependable signal they’re almost achieved or achieved is once they begin to float to the floor. Typically, they could require a further minute within the boiling water after floating.

Dried Cavatelli: Dried cavatelli usually takes longer to prepare dinner. Make sure that to stir them sometimes to forestall sticking and guarantee even cooking. Begin checking for doneness a minute earlier than the advisable time on the package deal to make sure they get that good ‘al dente’ texture.

Dried cavatelli on a kitchen table.Dried cavatelli on a kitchen table.


Cavatelli’s distinctive form makes it extremely versatile and excellent for a variety of sauces and substances. Listed below are some basic pairings:

  • With Meat Sauces: Its form works nicely in hearty meat ragus like this conventional pork sausage ragu from Molise, as it could simply catch chunks of meat.
  • Vegetable-Primarily based Sauces: For a lighter however nonetheless conventional choice, toss cavatelli with sautéed greens like broccoli rabe or with a easy tomato and basil sauce.
  • Seafood Dishes: In coastal areas, Italians typically pair cavatelli with seafood sauces, incorporating substances like mussels or clams.

Extra Cavatelli Recipes:


Can I take advantage of a daily fork so as to add ridges to cavatelli if I haven’t got a particular board?

Completely! Whereas a cavatelli board or a gnocchi board provides ridges, a fork may also be used to create the signature cavatelli form. It would require somewhat extra time however will even offer you sufficient texture for the sauce to cling to.

Can recent cavatelli be frozen for later use?

Sure, recent cavatelli freezes nicely. Lay the pasta out on a baking sheet to freeze individually, then switch to a freezer bag. You may prepare dinner your cavatelli straight from frozen, including a minute or two to the cooking time.

Do completely different sizes of cavatelli take completely different instances to prepare dinner?

Sure, the cooking time for cavatelli can fluctuate relying on their dimension. Usually, the longer items of cavatelli will take a bit longer to prepare dinner in comparison with the shorter ones. Nonetheless, the precept for checking in the event that they’re achieved remains to be the identical: once they start to drift to the floor of the boiling water, it is a good time to begin testing them as they’re almost definitely achieved.


Cavatelli is an interesting pasta that has a wealthy historical past in Southern Italy. Originating from the areas of Molise and Puglia, its distinct form and texture have made it a favourite throughout numerous Italian areas, from Abruzzo to Sicily.

Whereas recent cavatelli is perhaps available in Southern Italy, the dried model of this pasta is steadily gaining recognition past Italian borders. It is more and more doubtless you will see dried cavatelli in on-line shops or Italian specialty retailers all over the world.

Making cavatelli at house is surprisingly simple and really rewarding and well worth the attempt! I am certain that by serving selfmade cavatelli you’ll impress your visitors, providing them a style of genuine Southern Italian delicacies proper in your eating room.

Pin for Later:

Cavatelli pasta.Cavatelli pasta.

If you’re all in favour of studying the best way to make selfmade pasta and several types of gnocchi, try my store web page for some nice video on-line programs from my mates in Rome! Nothing beats studying to make pasta from Italians! Plus, when you’re there, why not order a duplicate of one among my pasta recipe cookbooks or try some advisable pasta-making instruments?

If you happen to discovered this text fascinating or useful, please let me know in a remark right here on the weblog or on The Pasta Mission Fb web page.

Trying ahead to listening to from you.

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