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Homemade cavatelli


Cavatelli, in Southern Italian recipes, are the true protagonists of the Sunday table. Here's how to prepare them and some ideas for seasoning them.

Italy is certainly the country with the most pasta shapes in the world . In fact, although the starting ingredients are always more or less the same (flour or semolina, eggs and water), the number of variations that can be obtained is almost infinite. Today we discover how to prepare cavatelli, a pasta shape originating from Molise which later also achieved great success in nearby Puglia.

The cavatelli dough is based on semolina and water . Nothing more. Worked patiently until a smooth and soft dough is obtained, with a single hand movement it allows you to obtain this particular shape of pasta. Similar in a certain sense to orecchiette, cavatelli lend themselves to many different condiments but in this case it is essential to respect tradition . Let's see the recipe together and some ideas for bringing them to the table.

the movement to make cavatelli
the movement to make cavatelli

How to make cavatelli

  1. Arrange the semolina in a mound on a cutting board or in a bowl.
  2. Pour the water slowly, incorporating flour little by little with a circular motion of the hand.
  3. Once the water has been absorbed, finish working the dough on the pastry board until it is smooth and elastic. It will take about 10 minutes .
  4. Then let it rest under an overturned bowl (or cling film) for half an hour.
  5. Remove portions of the dough and form loaves of about 1 cm in diameter. It is essential to never leave the dough out in the air : it tends to dry out, so always cover it with cling film.
  6. Using a knife, cut 1-2 cm pieces and roll them one by one under your thumb or forefinger, creating a hollow , crushing them slightly and at the same time pulling the cavatello to the side (a bit like you do with gnocchi when you pass them on the rigagnocchi). Alternatively, if you are not satisfied with this movement, you can use a knife and drag the piece of dough outwards, pressing lightly and recreating a hollow in this case too.
  7. Leave the cavatelli to dry for an hour before proceeding with cooking.
  8. Then boil them in plenty of salted water for 5/7 minutes , tasting before draining them.

Here is a video to prepare cavatelli at home (but also two other types of pasta with the same dough, if you are interested):

How to season cavatelli? Recipes and ideas

Cavatelli go perfectly with the most rustic flavors . In addition to the classic meat sauce , an excellent condiment is given by the combination of broccoli and sausage. To prepare it, shell the sausage without the casing directly in the pan and brown it over a high heat. Boil the broccoli (but also the turnip greens) together with the pasta and once ready, drain and sauté in the pan, completing with a little pepper and pecorino.

The cavatelli with cardoncelli are perfect for the autumn season when mushrooms are in season. Prepare the sautéed mushrooms of the variety you prefer and once the pasta is ready, stir it in the pan. A knob of butter or a spoonful of raw oil will enhance all the flavors of the dish.

Cavatelli with fish, on the other hand, are mainly prepared along the coasts. Use the varieties you prefer or follow our fish ragù recipe : you will hardly be disappointed .


The cavatelli can be stored in a container with a lid, but only after they have dried completely, even for 1 month . Alternatively, it is possible to freeze them , spreading them well on a tray and once they have hardened, transferring them into the already portioned freeze bags. If necessary, boil them from frozen until they reach the right level of cooking.

Read also
60 typical Italian dishes (region by region): do you know them all?

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