Cavatelli with Basil Pesto
- 227 g semolina flour plus more for dusting
- 120 g warm water
- 6 g salt
- 2 Tbsp butter for finishing
- 3 oz basil leaves
- 1 garlic clove smashed
- 2 Tbsp toasted pine nuts
- Zest of 1 lemon
- ½ cup olive oil plus more as needed
- ⅓ cup freshly grated pecorino romano cheese plus more for serving
- Kosher salt and pepper to taste
- In a medium bowl mix semolina, water and salt until combined.
- Transfer the shaggy dough to a clean counter and knead until a smooth ball is formed, about 7-10 minutes.
- Wrap dough in plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 1 hour.
- While the dough rests, prepare the pesto. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Prepare an ice bath.
- Blanch basil for 30 seconds in the boiling water, and immediately transfer to the ice bath. Keep the boiling water for cooking the cavatelli later on.
- Squeeze out all the excess water from the basil and transfer to a blender. Add in garlic, pine nuts, lemon zest and olive oil. Blend until smooth, adding more olive oil if needed to blend.
- Transfer pesto to a bowl and fold in the pecorino cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place in the fridge until ready to use.
- Once dough has rested, form the cavatelli.
- Divide dough into 6 equal-ish pieces.
- On a floured surface, roll each piece into about a 12 inch log. Cut logs into ¼ inch pieces.
- Take each ¼ inch piece, and using a butter knife push down on the pasta as you roll it away from yourself and you will create a cute cavatelli shape! So easy! *
- Transfer cavatelli to a sheet tray dusted with semolina flour. Repeat with all the dough. **
- Bring the large pot of water back to a boil, and season heavily with salt.
- Drop cavatelli into boiling water (you can do this in batches if necessary), and cook until they float and are al dente, about 5-7 minutes.
- Save some pasta water and drain cavatelli.
- Add butter to the large pot that you cooked the pasta in and melt over medium heat. Add pasta back in along with a splash of pasta water. Toss to coat pasta in the butter.
- Add in your desired amount of pesto and toss again until coated, adding more pasta water if needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve topped with more pecorino and freshly cracked black pepper.
*You can keep the cavatelli in this shape or you can add ridges by using a gnocchi board, like in the video **Cavatelli can be frozen at this point, spread out on a sheet tray. Once frozen they can be transferred to a bag and kept frozen. They can be cooked in the same manner as above from frozen. This is great if you don’t want to cook all the pasta right away!
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