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Cavatelli allo Scarpariello

Cavatelli allo Scarpariello



Serves 2

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cooking Time: 5-8 minutes

A simple and authentic pasta dish full of flavour and one that is authentic to Naples and reminds me of my nonna.

Cavatelli are one of the main shapes she used to make as it is traditional in her region in Campania. With just 2 ingredients and no pasta machine required, why wouldn't you make this every Sunday?!
Cavatelli have an elongated shape with a hollow cavity made by pressing your fingers into small pieces of pasta.
Cavatelli is derived from the word “cavare” which means to dig/hollow out and that is the exact motion we use to form the shape. Our method is by using 2 fingers, the index and middle fingers. Other methods use just the thumb or even 3 fingers, let’s stick to my traditional method!

We then come to the sauce we are using and its meaning. Scarpariello is a very old recipe born in the Spanish Quarter of Naples, then spread all over the Campania region.
The “Scarpari” which were shoe-makers is who this dish was named after. Many of their customers were farmers who didn’t have money to pay their debt so they repaid them with products that came from their land and were paid with cheeses, so their wives came up with the dish using fresh tomatoes and cheese. Not to be mistaken with Pasta al Pomodoro which is pasta with tomatoes and a sprinkle of cheese to top the dish.

With 2 main ingredients this is super quick, easy and delicious.

For the pasta:
200g 00 plain flour
100ml warm water

For the sauce:
1 punnet cherry tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, whole
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons pecorino cheese, grated
3 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper
Chilli (optional)

 Method - Make the Pasta

  1. Place flour in a bowl, make a well and add the water a bit at a time, bringing the flour from the outside in and mixing with your hands until all combined. It may seem like there isn't enough water but keep kneading and it will all come together.
  2. Turn out onto a wooden board and knead the dough for about 7 minutes until the dough is smooth.
  3. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rest at room temperature for 20 minutes.
  4. Cut off ¼ of the dough (keep the remainder covered with a teatowel) and roll into a long thin log, about 1 cm wide.
  5. Using a knife cut into 1.5 cm pieces. It will resemble a small pillow.
  6. With each “pillow” using 2 fingers (your index and middle fingers) to dig into the dough while pressing down and rolling towards you.
  7. Continue doing this with the rest of your dough.
  8. Place your cavatelli on a tablecloth that has been sprinkled with flour, then dust with more flour on top. I like to place this close to my pot of boiling water so it is easy to transfer them to the pot.

 Method - Make & Combine the Sauce

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.
  2. Cut cherry tomatoes in half.
  3. Heat oil in a large frypan, add the garlic cloves and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, salt and pepper and cook on low to medium heat.
  4. Add the cavatelli to the boiling water.
  5. Once the tomatoes start to soften the juices will release from the tomatoes, (remove 2-3 tomato halves from the pan for decoration if you like) once it starts drying up add a ladle of the pasta water, stir through and remove the garlic from the pan. (Keep the frypan on very low heat)
  6. The pasta should only take about 5 minutes to cook.
  7. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pasta to the frypan and stir through over a medium heat. Don't let all the water evaporate.
  8. Turn down to a very low heat, add the cheeses and mix through quickly until the cheeses have melted.
  9. Serve immediately.

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