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The Food: Homemade Cavatelli

INGREDIENTS
2 cups of all purpose flour
1/2 pound ricotta cheese

1 large egg, lightly beaten

Some of you may recall a scene from the Godfather III when Vincent is hiding out in a kitchen in Little Italy and his cousin Maria comes to find him.   He is showing her how to roll cavatelli with his fingers and they are making it together.  It is a very affectionate scene.   When people who don't know what cavatelli is and ask me to describe it, I tell them it is basically pasta the size of a corner flat, then rolled in from both ends. Store-bought cavatelli looks much different then homemade cavatelli, that being bought from the store is obviously more uniform, and has ridges, where as the homemade cavatelli is not, and often does not have ridges unless you roll it over the ridges of a fork.  

Put 2 cups of the flour into a large ceramic or glass bowl.  Make a spot for the egg in the flour, and add the ricotta and egg.  Work the mixture together well.  Lightly flour a surface and knead the dough until it is smooth.  Let the dough rest at room temperature, covered with an inverted bowl or plastic wrap for a half hour.

Form the dough into a round and cut into quarters. Working with one quarter at a time (cover the remaining dough with an inverted bowl to keep the dough from drying out), on a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a rope 1/4 inch in diameter. With a knife, cut the rope into 1/2-inch pieces. With your index and third fingers held together, gently press down on each piece, beginning at the top and moving down toward the bottom, dragging your fingers toward you and causing the pasta to roll over on itself. Transfer the formed pasta to a lightly floured jelly-roll pan and let dry at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil, and add the pasta. Cook until the cavatelli are al dente, 6 to 8 minutes. They're done when they float up to the top. Drain and toss the desired quantity with your favorite sauce. Freeze leftovers.


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