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Cavatelli with Broccoli Rape

Cavatelli means little caves because of how the dough is shaped, similar to gnocchi. There are no eggs in the dough. Water and durum flour with a pinch of salt are the ingredients. The dough is rolled into long ropes the width of your pinkie finger then cut with a small spatula-like tool called a rasola, into scant 1/2 inch pieces and each piece is rolled under your finger to create an indentation or is rolled on a wooden board called a *cavarola board. Serves 6 to 8


Cavatelli Dough

2 1/2 cups fine durum semolina flour (10 1/2 ounces or about 300 grams)

3/4 cup warm water (approximately)

1/2 teaspoon salt


1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, or more, as needed

3 oil packed anchovy fillets, drained and coarsely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small red chili pepper, crumbled

1 tablespoon salt

2 pounds broccoli rape, trimmed of tough stems, leaves washed, drained and coarsely chopped


For the dough

Heap the flour on a work surface.

Dissolve the salt in the water.

Make a well with the flour, add the water and make a dough that is fairly stiff. Add more flour or water as needed. Knead the dough until smooth like bread dough.

Rest the dough covered for 30 minutes then cut dough into 6 pieces and roll under the palm of your hand to create a log that is the thickness of your thumb and 14 inches long.

Coat each log well in flour to prevent them from sticking as you feed them through the cavatelli rollers. As they form, place them on floured towels in single layers.

To make them by hand cut each log into 1/8th inch pieces.

With your finger, draw each piece of dough across a cavarola or wooden cutting board, leaving them with an impression and place them on floured towels. You can freeze them on the trays and then transfer to plastic bags once hard or cook them immediately.

For the topping 

Brown the breadcrumbs in 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large sauté pan until toasted, then transfer to a bowl.

In the same pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil; add the anchovies, garlic and chili pepper and cook until the anchovies almost dissolve. Cover pan and keep warm while cavatelli cook.

Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil; add salt and the cavatelli and broccoli rape and cook until the cavatelli are al dente, about 4 minutes.

Drain and reserve 1/2 to 1 cup of the cooking water.

Transfer the cavatelli and broccoli rape to the sauté pan and combine well over medium heat with the sauce, adding some of the reserved cooking water if too dry. Check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the mixture to a platter and top with the breadcrumbs. Serve hot.

We used a Cucina Pro Cavatelli Maker #530.

This recipe is featured on Show 2720 – Cave into Cavatelli.


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