Had a gift card and wanted to treat myself to a little something. Not surprising, something kitchen-related came to mind. Had this (cavatelli) pasta machine on my wishlist. The reviews were mixed, but with little self-restraint when it comes to fun, little kitchen gadgets, I had to have it. I envisioned bowls and bowls of handmade cavatelli — with red sauce, with pesto, with lamb ragu, you name it. With a simple click of the mouse, it would soon be mine.
A few days later the cavatelli machine arrived and I couldn’t wait to take it out of the box. Mixed the dough. Let it rest. Rolled it out. Homemade cavatelli, here we come.
My first attempt…not a complete disaster, but let’s just say I was not happy, to say the least. Not sure what went wrong that first go around, but the results were less than stellar. The dough kept getting stuck in the machine, the cavatelli were all misshapen and sad-looking.
Was all ready to send it back. Cleaned it, put it back in its box, and printed out the return label. While doing so, decided to give the (misshapen) cavatelli I had managed to roll out a try. Boiled some water and dropped them in. Within minutes, they floated to the surface, and I scooped them out. And…
Just one bite and hmm, I like. I like a lot. Soft and tender, with just a little chew. Maybe I need to rethink sending you back.
So, I practiced a few more times, and I quickly got the hang of it. And, now that I got it down, I love this little gadget. So, lesson learned — sometimes you shouldn’t be so quick to judge. Sometimes it’s me, not you.
This is what I found works the best: Roll the dough out about 1/2″ thick. Cut about 3/4″ thick long strips. Lightly flour the rollers (rice flour works well for this) and feed the strip of dough in slowly. Crank the handle slowly. If you crank too fast, the cavatelli tend to stick together in the machine.
Perfect with a simple red sauce…
Ricotta Cavatelli = flour + egg + fresh ricotta + pinch of sea salt
Also tasty with [spicy lamb Merguez] sausage and broccoli rabe (aka rapini)…
makes 2 pounds
1 pound (~ 3 cups) all-purpose flour
1 pound fresh ricotta
pinch of sea salt
Cavatelli pasta machine
Measure out the flour on a clean work surface. Form a mound and make a well in the center. Crack the eggs in the center. Add a pinch of salt. With a fork (or your finger) work the egg into the flour. Add the ricotta and work it into the egg-flour mixture (you may not need all the flour). Continue until well incorporated. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and gently knead until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.
Lightly flour your work surface. Roll out the dough to approximately 1/2″ thick. Cut into 3/4″ wide strips.
Lightly flour the rollers of the cavatelli machine. Feed the dough through the rollers and slowly crank the handle. Continue until all the cavatelli are rolled out. Sprinkle the cavatelli with a little (rice) flour to prevent sticking. Let dry at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in the cavatelli. After a few minutes, they’ll float to the top, they’re done.
Note: Overly wet dough will get stuck in the machine. Make sure your dough isn’t too wet; if too wet, add more flour.
You can freeze the uncooked cavatelli for up to one month.