Cavatelli has to be my all time favorite macaroni. If I had to choose a last meal it would include Cavatelli with my mother’s tomato sauce with meatballs and Gudinna (rolled up pig’s skin made like a braciole).
Cavatelli is made with durum wheat flour, fresh ricotta and eggs. If you can buy fresh cavatelli all the better. If you are lucky enough to live near an Italian specialty pasta store you can get all the fresh ravioli and cavatelli you want. If you’re not that lucky, sometimes these specialty stores ship to your local supermarkets. If your supermarket has a fresh pasta case, go for that. The other alternative is to look in your frozen food section of the supermarket. You can usually find the cavatelli with the frozen ravioli. And then there is the internet. You can get anything you want online.
This recipe utilizes all the wonderful Sicilian flavors I grew up enjoying. Broccoli Rabe and Italian Sausage with oil cured olives is a dish unto itself. With a loaf of Italian bread, it’s a tasty meal. Use those ingredients as a base for the sauce with cavatelli and you think you had died and went to heaven. This very tasty dish is easy to make and hard to put down. Make sure you make enough for everyone!
Cavatelli with Broccoli Rabe & Italian Sausage
- 1 bunch of broccoli rabe, washed and cut into inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
- 5-6 Italian pork sausage, casing removed
- 2 teaspoons of chicken base with 2 cups of water or 2 cups of chicken stock
- splash of white wine
- 2 tablespoons oil cured olives, pitted and chopped
- 1 pound of fresh cavatelli
- salt & pepper to taste
- crushed red pepper flakes to taste (1/2 -1 teaspoon)
- 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Cut off about 2 inches at the end of the broccoli rabe bunch and discard them. Cut the rest of the broccoli rabe into 1 inch pieces and rinse in cold water.
In a large saute pan, heat two tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Cook the onion till they get soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Break up the Italian sausage and add to the pan, stirring and breaking up into 1 inch pieces. Once the sausage meat is cooked, add the olives and a splash of white wine. Cook down till the wine evaporates, about 30 seconds. Add the chicken base and 2 cups of water.
When the liquid starts to simmer add the broccoli rabe. Stir well and cook covered for about 7 minutes.
Taste for salt and pepper and add the red pepper flakes.
In the meantime cook the cavatelli in plenty of salted boiling water for only 6 minutes. Drain the cavatelli and add to the sauce. Toss to coat everything. Turn off the heat and cover the cavatelli and sauce and allow to sit for 3 additional minutes.
Add a 1/4 cup of grated Pecorino Romano Cheese and toss.