Dozens of delicious pastas make up the flavorful world of Italian cuisine. Cavatelli is a durum flour-based pasta that works with marinara sauce, cream sauce, and many other variations. Shaped like a small hot dog bun with a long, rolled edge, cavatelli pasta is good for holding thick, creamy sauces.
A product of southern Italy, these noodles are traditionally made by hand. After the dough is rolled out, the long strands of tubular pasta are cut into bite-sized pieces. Each noodle is then flattened by thumb, then rolled to form the curved, hot dog bun-shaped noodle the pasta is famous for.
When cavatelli noodles are unavailable, some similar noodles can be used. Conchiglioni, casarecci, and cochiglie noodles can hold the chunky sauces that cavetelli is typically intended for. Casarecci, in particular, is very similar to cavatelli, though it is a longer noodle. All of these noodles can also be used in pasta salad recipes.
Broccoli is a favorite serving suggestion used with cavatelli pasta. Other common additions include shrimp, mushrooms, cauliflower, tomatoes, capers, green olives, spinach, and squash. The pasta can also work well when served with meat, such as chicken or turkey. Sauces made with cream, vegetables, meat, and seafood all work well with this type of pasta.
Making cavatelli noodles at home is possible, though it is not considered an easy culinary endeavor. To make the pasta, slowly stir together one pound (half of one kilogram) of flour, two eggs, and one pound (half of one kilogram) of ricotta cheese. Knead the mixture to create a soft, pliable dough.
Wrap the dough and cover in a dish for a minimum of thirty minutes. Once ready to form the pasta shapes, divide the dough into sections and roll them into tubes. Cut each tube into one-inch (two and one-half centimeters) sections before rolling them into curved shapes. The dough can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer.
Purchasing the noodles is not usually required, however. Many grocery stores and most specialty Italian food shops carry the pasta. When sold in the grocery store, these noodles are often found in the frozen foods section. Many restaurants, both Italian and non-Italian, also serve the cuisine.
Cavatelli noodles should not be confused with gnocchi. Though similar in shape, the former is made up of a harder base of flour. The noodles may also contain ricotta cheese as a final product. Gnocchi, instead, is a softer noodle, typically made from potatoes.