Etsy business. And now thanks to the tech-lovin' husband of a friend, I'm up and running again.
As I was browsing through my almost 500 photographs trying to choose which one to write about first, one shot definitely stuck out at me. It wasn't the best shot I had taken, but probably the most meaningful to me, so I thought I should start from there. It's my three year old son's hands rolling out a piece of home made pasta the same way my grandmother taught me when I was little.
Serves 3-4 people, but the recipe can easily be multiplied.
For a printable recipe, click here.
These cavatelli are very much like a gnocchi, only made with ricotta instead of potato. You don't have to roll them out on the pasta board if you don't want to- simply cut the pasta into 1 inch pieces. I think rolling them gives them a less chewy (i.e. more pleasing) texture and the little scoop you create is the perfect hiding spot for sauces. But that's up to you. I found my wooden boards at specialty kitchen shops, but you can also use the tines of a fork for rolling the cavatelli. Lastly, if you can get your hands on some semolina flour the taste of the pasta will be all that much more interesting.
1 lb. whole milk ricotta
1 lb. unbleached all-purpose flour, about 3 cups (you can use half all-purpose and half semolina flour as well)
In a large bowl or on a clean counter, mix 2 1/2 cups of the flour, the ricotta and egg together with your hands. Add more flour as needed. You may not need all of the flour depending on how wet your ricotta is. I was using very well drained home made ricotta, so I didn't need as much. You are looking to create a smooth, not sticky dough. But you also don't want it to be dry. You will know you have enough flour when the dough just comes together and is no longer sticky.
Knead the dough a few times on a floured work surface. Cut it into 8-10 pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll the dough into a log with a diameter of about an inch. Cut the log into 1 inch pieces. If using the wooden shaping board, roll each piece across the length of the board with your thumb, pushing down slightly to create a curved, shell-shaped piece of pasta. Transfer the pasta to a lightly floured baking sheet.
At this point you can cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap and refrigerate the pasta or freeze it. If you freeze it, once the pasta is completely frozen, transfer it to a freezer bag. It will keep for several months. If cooking right away, place in a large pot of boiling, salted water. The pasta is ready when it floats, about 3 minutes. It is wonderful with a simple tomato sauce and some grated pecorino romano cheese.