Recipe of the Week: Cavatelli Arrostiti (Cavatelli with Fresh Tomato Sauce)
One of the most popular homemade pasta in the United States is cavatelli. Loved by young and old, it is so easy to make. Shaped like an almond it can be made by simply taking a piece of dough and rolling it on the counter with the help of a butter knife. Cavatelli really shines when it is served with a fresh tomato sauce. This is a traditional recipe that fits today’s busy lifestyle. Serves eight. (Chef tip: For best results, use red ripe Roma tomatoes. Roast them in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, peel them and chop them. They are ready to use in your sauce.)
1/2 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
2 cups double OO flour
1/2 cup well drained ricotta cheese
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt
2 pounds ripe Italian plum tomatoes or canned diced tomatoes
1 small onion, finely minced
1 carrot, grated
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
2 cups tomato puree
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese
Sift flours together. Place on wooden board and form into a mound.
Make a deep well in the center and add eggs, ricotta and salt. Use a fork to mix in eggs.
Slowly add flour, beginning at the top of the well so the walls collapse and blend into the mixture. When flour is almost totally absorbed, begin kneading, pressing with the palms of your hands. Knead dough for about 20 minutes, until it is smooth and elastic. (If dough is dry, add a few drops of water. If sticky, add a little flour.)
Gather dough into ball, place in mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest for 30 minutes. (To test for doneness, punch dough with index finger. If it springs back, it is done.)
Break the dough into lemon-size pieces, rolling each one into a long tube. Feed through the cavatelli machine. Spread pieces out to dry.
Bring a six-quart pot of salted water to boil. Add salt, then pasta and cook until “al dente,” about five to six minutes. Drain and set aside.
In a large non-reactive saucepan, cook onion until transparent. Add carrot and garlic and sauté for five more minutes. Add chopped tomatoes and sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 20 minutes to thicken at medium heat. Add basil and cook for a few minutes more.
Toss pasta with roasted tomato sauce, sprinkle with cheese, and serve.