I am in love with this recipe for cavatelli. It is a denser noodle than I normally enjoy, but it is relatively small shapes that are much neater for children to eat than the long strands of spaghetti. It goes extremely well with a hearty marinara sauce with meat. It is also fun to make. I made this the first time with our 3 1/2 year old granddaughter and she loved helping with it! She also loved how they tasted!
The cavatelli can be made up ahead of time and frozen, before boiling, in a single layer on a cookie sheet. No need to thaw before cooking.
Combine all ingredients in a mixer bowl. (I used a Kitchen Aid stand mixer, but probably any heavy duty mixer will do.) Mix until ingredients come together to form a ball. It may be necessary to add a little more water, but start with this and check it after it starts to come together. You don't want it too sticky, but you don't want it too dry either. Wrap in plastic wrap and leave on counter for about 30-60 minutes for the gluten to relax.
Divide dough into 4 portions and keep all unworked portions covered with plastic except what you are working with.
Flour your work surface and roll the first portion of dough into a long rope. Keep working on it until it is about 1/2" thick. Use a pastry scraper or knife, cut into somewhat equal lengths of about 1/3-1/2".
Flour your work surface. You can use a sushi rolling mat, a gnocchi board or just onto a cutting board or other work surface. I prefer the sushi rolling mat. I got mine on Amazon for $5. I can place a few pieces on the mat at a time.
Then using a pastry scraper or the back of a knife or even your thumb, press down on the pieces of dough and pull back. The dough will make a roll back on itself to make a cute tube shape.
Continue working the rest of the dough until all of it has been shaped into cavatelli.
You can go either direction on the sushi mat or the gnocchi board to get the pattern you desire. I like going the long way on the sushi mat.
Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil and add sea salt liberally. I also added some olive oil to prevent the pasta from sticking together.
Boil the cavatelli for a few minutes, then remove from water.
This is excellent served with a hearty marinara sauce with meat and cheese.
Start with boneless chicken pieces and make a rich, scrumptious, thickened broth to go with it. Then make some homemade noodles (or buy some fresh or frozen noodles) and cook them right in the broth. Fantastic!!
For making your own homemade noodles for this recipe, use 3 eggs, 1 T. water, 2 3/4 cups light spelt flour (or all-purpose if no wheat allergy)
Heat large (13") cast iron skillet over high heat. Add oil and chicken. Season chicken with pepper. Cook quickly, stirring often, until done. Remove from pan and place in crock pot.
Melt butter in same skillet over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, onion and garlic, and saute until tender, about 10-15 minutes.
Add flour and blend evenly.
Quickly whisk in cream, water, and chicken base until smooth. Add to crock pot and turn onto low until ready to continue.
Before adding noodles, turn crock pot to high heat. We positioned the Kitchen Aid in such a position so the noodles go directly into the crock pot.
Add noodles and stir to separate. Cook until noodles are tender, about 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
I reduced the amount of flour for thickening because I was using homemade noodles. For making your own homemade noodles for this recipe, use 3 eggs, 1 T. water, and 2 3/4 cups flour. If you are not using fresh homemade noodles, you may need more thickener.
Although spelt is an ancient form of wheat, most people with wheat allergies can eat it with no problem. However, it still contains gluten, so avoid spelt if you have a reason to avoid gluten.
Better than Bouillon organic beef and chicken bases are my favorite to use in broths because they are gluten free and soy free.