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Caccavelle alla sorrentina: the best baked first course in Campania

Sorrento-style Caccavelle

Caccavelle alla Sorrentina are a typical Campanian product, a particular pasta to be filled with sauce and mozzarella and cooked in the oven.

With this simple recipe, we can understand how to prepare Caccavella Sorrentina in our kitchen. It is a very tasty and substantial baked first course that comes from the gastronomic tradition of Campania. The name is due to the particular paste used to compose it; the caccavelle consist of a sort of very large shells – the more traditional ones are 9 cm long -, which are typical of the city of Gragnano .

In the original recipe, they are boiled and filled with meat sauce, mozzarella, minced meat and ricotta cheese . The final cooking must be done in the oven and, as tradition dictates, the stuffed pasta must be cooked in earthenware pans. With stringy mozzarella (better if buffalo mozzarella) and enriched with minced meat, this first course is so delicious that you can't wait to taste it.

Sorrento-style Caccavelle
Sorrento-style Caccavelle

Preparation of the recipe for the Caccavella Sorrentina

  1. To begin, season the sauce. Take a non-stick pan and pour 3 tablespoons of olive oil.
  2. Add a chopped onion and let it dry on the stove for just under 10 minutes. At the end, pour the tomato sauce and salt.
  3. Leave to cook for another 10 minutes over low heat , breaking up some basil leaves. The gravy must remain fluid enough.
  4. Meanwhile, chop the greens: celery, carrot and the other onion. Put everything in a saucepan, slowly add 3 tablespoons of olive oil; then, let it brown over low heat.
  5. Once done, shell the sausage and add it to the pan, along with the other minced meat.
  6. Let the meat brown and stir continuously with a wooden spoon, further breaking it up.
  7. When the meat appears browned, blend with the red wine . After the liquid evaporates, add salt and pepper and, when ready, turn off the heat.
  8. When the two ragùs are ready, dedicate yourself to the pasta. Bring a pot full of salted water to the boil and immerse the caccavella in it. Boil them for 15 minutes , keeping the boil gentle.
  9. In the meantime, pour the ricotta into a container and crumble it with a spoon; separately, cut the mozzarella into cubes .
  10. Once cooked, drain them and be careful to eliminate the water from inside them; place them on a plate.
  11. Take the four terrines and fill each one with a ladle of tomato sauce, then place a caccavella in the centre.
  12. Fill each conchiglione with half a ladle of tomato sauce, 50 g of ricotta (about 3 tablespoons), 1/4 of the white ragout and 1/4 of the total amount of mozzarella pieces.
  13. Cover each caccavella with more tomato sauce, then sprinkle a handful of grated Parmesan.
  14. Bake in the oven at 200°C for 30-40 minutes . At the end, let it cool down and serve immediately!


Caccavelle alla Sorrentina are a traditional first course of Campania that conquers everyone. They are so good that it will be impossible not to finish the whole dish; if it is left over, you can keep it for only a few hours in the earthenware pan and reheat it for the evening, because conservation is not recommended.

With a completely different but equally genuine taste, there is the more traditional pasta alla sorrentina .

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