I use a cavatelli machine (see Find It Fast) to make this family favorite. Different brands of ricotta have different consistencies and moisture levels. Drain the ricotta for several hours or overnight to remove excess moisture. Cook 5 to 8 minutes, to taste--Nana liked her cavatelli fairly soft in texture. Prep: 1 hour, Cook: 5 to 8 minutes.
Measure 3 cups flour into a large bowl; make a well in center. Add ricotta and kosher salt. Knead to form a firm dough, adding more flour as needed to keep dough from sticking. Gather dough into a ball, and turn it out onto a clean work surface; knead 5 to 8 minutes or until smooth and no longer sticky. Let stand, covered, about 30 minutes.
Tear off golf ball-size pieces of dough; roll into 1/2-inch logs. Dust logs generously with flour. Insert into cavatelli maker, and turn handle slowly but steadily. If dough sticks, sprinkle more flour onto dough; knead back into a ball, reform the log, and pass through machine again.
Lay pasta on trays or baking sheets that have been sprinkled lightly with cornmeal to prevent sticking. Cook in boiling salted water 5 to 8 minutes.
(You can freeze in zip-top bags or refrigerate until ready to use. Frozen cavatelli should be cooked without thawing.)
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