Easy to make Homemade Cavatelli with Broccoli is a simple yet classic Italian recipe dish. You’ll be happy to know that these fresh handmade pasta noodles can be frozen for later use to have on hand at a moments notice.
These cavatelli where definitely not a fresh pasta variety that I grew up with. I was first introduced to these delicate handmade pasta morsels by my mother-in-law.
At first glance they looked similar in appearance to potato gnocchi, my absolute favourite childhood dish!
Although both have humble beginnings, with very few ingredients needed, they do differ somewhat in texture.
Potato gnocchi are slightly plumper and light in taste considering that there’s potato in the dough.
However, I find that cavatelli tend to have a firmer shape and more of an al dente bite to the cooked noodles.
How to make homemade cavatelli
There are a few simple ingredients that go into making homemade cavatelli!
Basically all you need are flour, water and a little extra virgin olive oil.
You start by placing some flour on a work surface. Then simply make a well in the centre and pour about 1/4 cup of water and olive oil in the hollow centre.
With a fork, gradually work in the flour a little at a time until a very soft ball forms. Keep adding water a tablespoon at a time while working in the remaining flour.
It does get messy but if you have a pastry scraper nearby it will help release the dough from the work surface.
Knead the dough for about 8 to 10 minutes until smooth. You’ll know it’s ready when it no longer tears apart while kneading.
A short rest is needed after kneading (the pasta dough that is) so that the gluten relaxes and makes it easier to roll and shape the cavatelli.
Mind you, you can take a short nap as well if you like while the dough rests. No judgements here!
Can You Freeze Cavatelli
Yes! You can absolutely freeze these fresh pasta noodles after they’ve been shaped.
You’ll need a large baking sheet dusted with semolina flour. Simply transfer the cavatelli to the prepared baking sheet and spread them out into one single layer.
Place the baking sheet in the freezer and allow the cavatelli to freeze until firm. For about 30 minutes or so.
Once firm, transfer them to a plastic freezer bag and freeze up to 3 months.
You won’t need to thaw them before cooking but they will need a couple of minutes longer to cook.
My favourite way of serving homemade cavatelli with broccoli is with a very simple sautée of extra virgin olive oil, chili pepper flakes and smashed garlic cloves.
And this can be ready in as little time as it takes to cook the cavatelli noodles.
Then simply plate and serve with a drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil.
You may want to pass around some extra chilli flakes for those who love a little extra heat and a good dose of freshly grated cheese.
If you make this recipe remember to tag @marisasitaliankitchen on Instagram so I can see your creation!
Homemade Cavatelli with Broccoli
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup water room temperature
- 4 cups broccoli florets
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling over the finished dish
- 4 garlic cloves peeled and crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed pepper flakes
- fine sea salt to your taste
- freshly crushed black pepper to your taste
- 1 tablespoon semolina flour for dusting a rimmed cookie sheet
- grated Romano cheese optional
- Place the flour on a work surface. Then simply make a well in the centre and pour about 1/4 cup of water and olive oil in the hollow centre.
- With a fork, gradually work in the flour a little at a time until a very soft ball forms.
- Keep adding water a tablespoon at a time while working in the remaining flour.
- It does get messy so it helps to have a pastry scraper nearby. This helps release the dough from the work surface.
- Knead the dough for about 8 to 10 minutes until smooth while picking up as much of the remaining flour as possible. You'll know it's ready when it no longer tears apart while kneading. It will feel smooth and will spring back when poked.
- If the dough seems dry when kneading while working in as much of the flour as possible, you can dab your hands with a little bit of water.
- Note that you will not need all of the 1 cup of water. I've only ever used 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of water at the most. But its a great idea to keep it nearby just in case.
- When your finished kneading, cover the dough with cling wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
- The resting time relaxes the gluten in the dough and makes it easier to roll and shape.
- Sprinkle a rimmed baking sheet with some semolina flour and set aside.
- Cut the dough into 8 pieces.
- Working with one piece at a time, while keeping the remaining doughs covered, roll the piece out into a pencil thin rope.
- Cut the rope into 1 inch pieces.
- Use a gnocchi board if you have, to make the little caves or indentations in the dough.
- If you don't have a gnocchi board, use your index and middle fingers to press down into the dough and swiping towards you. This will create the distinctive crevice.
- Transfer the cavatell to your prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil.
- Salt the water and add in the broccoli.
- Cook the broccoli till fork tender, about 4 minutes.
- Once the broccoli is cooked, remove the broccoli with a slotted spoon but DO NOT throw out the water. Save to cook the cavatelli.
- Transfer the broccoli to a large skimming bowl and run under cold water. Set aside.
- Bring the water back to boil if needed and add in the cavatelli.
- Cook for about 10 minutes or till al dente.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil on medium low heat.
- Add in the crushed garlic, pepper flakes and a dash of salt and pepper to your taste.
- Stir to brown the garlic all over. This will take 2 minutes or so.
- Drain the cavatelli while reserving 1/2 cup of cooking water.
- Add the cooked cavatelli and the broccoli to the skillet with the browned garlic sauce.
- Toss to mix well and add a little of the reserved pasta water if needed.
- Plate and serve with a little drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, a sprinkle of chilli flakes and freshly grated cheese if desired.