My friend Tammie came by the house a while back and made the big announcement that her daughter, Justine, was getting married. HOW, how in the world did she grow up that fast??? I mean seriously, just yesterday she was a pesky 14 year old. Ok, she might have only seemed pesky because she would hang out with my pest Tate. And because Tate would pester her, she would give it back to him. And it would go on and on. Until she would get fed up and whallop Tate a good one, which he would totally deserve.
Anyway, when Tammie and Justine told me the news, I KNEW what was about to happen. I remember Erin’s wedding all too well. So, I offered to help in any way I could. One of the ways that I helped was to offer my kitchen up to make some kind of Italian dish that is Justine’s favorite food. She wanted to make them for the reception but all I kept hearing about them was that they take forever to make. See, Tammie and her family are of Italian heritage. And whew, you get them all together, you can see it…and I LOVED being invited in as a guest member of their family. And I quickly found out, that Italian dish we were making…usually takes about 4 hours to make 2 pounds. We needed 60 pounds.
Ummm, what the heck did I sign up for???
Cavatelli. That is what.
Their typical time frame didn’t factor in that I had a mixer. Or that Tammie’s brother-in-law thought ahead and purchased a Cavatelli maker. And we cut that time WAY down!!
We ended up making 58 pounds in 11 hours.
It was a long and tiring day. My house was a wreck. I never thought we would ever get all the flour up. Even Chuka got in on the event.
But we sure did have fun!!!
And I would totally do it all over again.
The wedding was beautiful, the food was fabulous and I want to wish Justine and Shadow the best for years to come!
So, now that I learned how to make these, I just have to share with you. When Tammie and Justine first started talking about Cavatelli I had no idea what to expect. I really had in my mind that it was some kind of large shell stuffed with Ricotta cheese. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Cavatelli means small shell like pasta. It is more of a name for the type of pasta than a dish. They make theirs with Ricotta mixed into the dough but it turns out there are many flavors you could mix in. Once you make the pasta, it needs to be laid out to “dry”. After drying for an hour or two you can either cook it and then add to sauce, you can refrigerate to make in a day or two or you can freeze them in a freezer bag for use later. If you do not allow them to dry a little they clump together and make a glob of a mess. Yeah, I found that one out really quick.
To make the pasta: mix 3 cups of all-purpose flour, 2 cups of Ricotta cheese (DO NOT USE LOW-FAT) and 2 eggs in a stand mixer using the dough hook. Tammie and Justine have always done this step by hand. Mixing and kneading, mixing and kneading. So, it can be done without a stand mixer, it just makes it much more work.Tammie LOVED using the mixer, she decided that anytime she needed to make Cavatelli she would be at my house from now on.
Once your dough is formed, put a LOT of flour on a large cutting board, counter top or whatever flat surface you have. Then roll the dough out until it is about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Justine’s Aunt Tanja was a pro at this by the end of the day!
Once you have the dough rolled out to the correct thickness, you will need to cut it into 1 inch strips. They don’t have to be exact, just close.
The we ran the strips of dough through the Cavatelli Maker. A specialized hand operated machine especially for making this type of pasta. You can also roll them out by hand if you don’t want to invest in a machine to do it for you. That is the way Tammie had done it for years.
Then, lay them out to dry.
And that folks, is how you make homemade Cavatelli.
Now that you have made them, all you have to do is bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drop in some of the Cavatelli, allow to boil for approx. 3 minutes, remove from the water and drain. Then add to whatever type of Italian sauce you prefer.
Eat and Enjoy!!
It really isn’t as hard as I thought it would be, and it was a lot of fun spending the day with friends making a tradition from their family. And, we even got ALL the flour cleaned up. Of course Chuka might have had a little paw in helping with that detail.