Saturday, January 28, 2012

Homemade Cavatelli

The Husband and I have been together for 13 years. One thing I have learned in those 13 years is that his family has many family recipes handed down that Husband LOVES. White pizza (which isn't what you'd think but, that's another post), tidells, and cavatelli are just a few that I would like to master. So, I started with the Cavatelli.

Mind you, I have asked over and over for a recipe. But, like any good family recipe, there really isn't a recipe at all. Mother in Law and the Aunts learned from their mother who likely learned from hers and so they didn't need a recipe. They just mixed the ingredients until it felt right. Meaning well, they promised to write down a recipe the next time they made cavatelli and tried to measure the ingredients as they went in. Well, since I have been waiting and waiting, I decided to consult The Google to find a recipe with which to start out my own cavatelli making.

There seemed to be a lot of similar ingredients but different ratios amongst the recipes out there. So, I sort of formulated an average and came up with this:

6 cups AP Flour
32 oz ricotta cheese
4 eggs
2tsp salt

Seemed pretty straight forward. And pretty inexpensive which makes me happy, of course! I was lucky enough that one of Husband's aunts visited a few months ago and decided to whip up a huge batch of these little cavatelli for the family and she showed me how to make them. So, I felt like I was pretty set for this adventure in pasta.

First, put the flour in a large mixing bowl. You'll need enough head room to mix the flour with the wet ingredients so that the flour doesn't spill out everywhere.

Then, make a well in the middle and add the eggs and cheese and salt.

Using a fork, mix the wet ingredients together in the well which will also start to pull in some of the flour. Incorporate the flour in this way until it just becomes impractical to continue in the bowl. Then, take some of the flour from the bowl to dust your counter and turn the bowl out.

Knead the rest of the flour into the dough. It should be soft and moist but not sticky. There will also be moments when you are *sure* the dough won't come together but, keep going. It will become dough- I promise. Put back in the bowl and cover with a moist towel for at least a half hour. This is so that all of the flour will properly hydrate and absorb the moisture from the cheese and eggs. That will make it a cohesive dough.

After that, the real work begins. Grab a handful of dough and roll it into a snake. Then, take a knife and cut that snake into small segments like the picture.

Take those segments and roll them into the cavatelli. Do that by taking one finger and pressing into the dough while moving accross it at the same time. The goal is to have it roll over onto itself to make a little curl.

Place on a towel to dry for storage (be sure the surface is dry or they will stick when you store them in a bag or container) or cook right away for 5 minutes (or until they float) in boiling salted water.

The batch I  made I served with an easy roasted tomato and garlic sauce. Just roast grape tomatoes and  garlic cloves until soft and caramelized (about 45 min at 400). First slather them in olive oil and some salt and pepper. Then I coated the cavatelli in olive oil and put the tomatoes and garlic over the top with the oil from the roasting pan as well. Some parmesan cheese and it was perfect!

The cavatelli was really tasty and a great vehicle for the sweetness of the roasted tomato and garlic. It was a lot of work to get all of them rolled but, we had an awesome dinner and there is a great big bag in the freezer for 2 or 3 future meals as well.

Husband is thrilled!

Give this one a try! If you don't have a lot of people to cook for or you don't want to make a large batch for freezing, you can very well halve the recipe and get the same tasty dinner for half the time I spent. It was so worth it, though.

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