Apparently the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. I’ve been testing this theory ever since my first batch of heart shaped sugar cookies I baked up for my first boyfriend. Since then it’s been a parade of everything from brownies to boeuf bourguignon to baklava. (That last one ended up with me in tears as I tossed out pounds of expensive nuts after struggling with phyllo and honey and butter.) And even though I’m pretty sure that first batch of cookies ended up in the trash as well, I managed to keep him hanging around for a year after that. The last boy I tried to impress with my culinary prowress ended up putting up with me for almost two years.
So, here we go again.
I’ve managed to pick myself up a good New England Italian boy (let’s call him Tom). So apparently they eat a lot of pasta over there. And apparently our selection of pasta out here on the good ol’ West Coast ain’t up to par. So when on one of our first dates Tom mentions his everlasting love for this little rolled pasta shape cavatelli, I store that info in the “Things to Cook/Things to Get Me Laid” sections of my brain for future use.
Fast forward four months, and I actually get around to doing it. A quick Google search leads me to this method. Why this one, you ask? Well, it was the second result for “homemade cavatelli,” and the first one didn’t have pictures. Plus Ruhlman‘s from Cleveland, so I figured it’s gotta be a pretty knowledgeable food town. (And if that’s not sound reasoning, I don’t know what is.)
I threw the dough together while Parker was napping. It was simple enough to mix together the flour, egg, and ricotta, but the dough itself needed some resting time. And by the time it would be ready to go, so would Parker. So in an rare effort to be a good mother, I mixed together some playdough so he could play along at the other end of the table. Ended up being some pretty crap-ass playdough, if I do say so myself. After making the real pasta dough, I had very little AP flour left, and I still needed bench flour, so I used whole wheat for Mini Me’s version.
No matter, he was more into his Cheez-Its anyway. (Oh and in case you were wondering, playdough isn’t very tasty. Just ask Parker, and that kid eats anything. Including the raw pasta dough.)
As for rolling the actual shapes out, it really wasn’t an difficult as I had imagined. The only slight issue was that shockingly, it was actually raining in Arizona that day, and I think the humidity made the dough a lot stickier than it would have been. I ended up having to incorporate a lot more flour. The recipe/method I was using suggested using a pastry cutter on a floured surface to roll it out, but I just used my fingers on a gnocchi board. I had only seen cavatelli once and it had ridges, so I decided to buy the special equipment for authenticity. Which really means I just needed and excuse to wander around Sur la Table for a while. But all in all, for my very first attempt at any sort of homemade pasta, and I don’t think I did too shabby of a job.
I cooked up a test batch for dinner that night (more on that later), and while nice, I found them a bit doughy. I’m fairly certain this was my fault–I don’t think I rolled the dough into a thin enough tube. But I’m glad I did it. It was a fun rainy Sunday afternoon activity, and Parker actually sat at the table the whole time (just about an hour).
Update: I cut each cavatelli in half lengthwise before cooking them up for the cavatelli connessuir. Much better this way. Oh, and apparently all the cavatelli he had growing up didn’t have ridges. So next time, thinner, with no ridges. Live and learn, kids.