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Little Caves


Cavatelli means little caves or quarries. This interesting pasta reminds me of gnocchi because of the little dents or ridges in the dough. I make these on a special cavatelli machine, but they can also be made by hand using a comb.


About 3 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/4 cup semolina flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 large egg, beaten

1 pound whole-milk ricotta cheese, well drained

1/4 cup water


In a large bowl, mix 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, the semolina and salt together. Add the egg, ricotta, and water and work the mixture with your hands until you can form it into a ball. If the dough seems too soft, add a little more unbleached flour; if the dough is too stiff, add a little more water.

Knead the dough on a well-floured surface until smooth, about 10 minutes. Cover the dough with a bowl and let rest for 10 minutes.

If using a cavatelli machine, shape the pasta following the manufacturer's directions. If shaping them by hand, break off small pieces the size of a marble and form into small ovals. Run each piece over the teeth of a clean unused comb or the tines of a fork to create parallel ridges. Place the cavatelli on a floured cloth to dry for 30 minutes to 2 hours before cooking.

In a large pot of boiling water, cook the cavatelli until they bob to the surface, about 4 minutes. Drain and top with a tomato or cream sauce of your choice.

This recipe is featured on show 1622 - Cavatelli!

This recipe is from CIAO ITALIA by Mary Ann Esposito, published by William Morrow and Company, Inc., in 1991.


  1. Addie Maida's avatar

    Addie Maida

    Maryann I have been watching your shows for years and especially loved the ones with your mom what a wonderful lady.I watch you every day and love all your receipes you are the best keep on going.God Bless, Adeline

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