Ricotta Cavatelli are tasty, handmade pasta that requires just four ingredients!
This crowd pleaser is delicate yet hearty and teams perfectly with lots of different sauces. Impressive but easy enough for the novice pasta maker, learn how to make these ricotta cavatelli today!!
Table of Contents
Why you'll love this recipe
Ricotta Cavatelli are a soft and pillowy-light pasta that is traditionally hand rolled and shaped. Hand cranked machines are available to roll and shape the pasta for you but I'd much rather go the traditional route. It's just so easy!
While the original cavatelli are made with just flour, water and salt, this recipe contains ricotta. Ricotta creates a tender dough that just melts in your mouth and is super easy to work with.
For complete ingredient quantities and full instructions, please scroll to the printable recipe card bottom of the page.
Like any homemade pasta recipe, the ingredients here are basic and that choosing the best is important.
- 00 flour for pasta - alternatively use all purpose flour or even bread flour
- egg - free range is best for beautiful, rich yolks
- ricotta - this must be well drained
- salt - so important to bring out the flavor of the other ingredients
- Combine ricotta and egg.
- Add flour and stir to combine drizzle in water until the dough comes together.
- Knead to form a soft dough and set aside for 30 minutes
- Take a small portion of dough, roll into a rope and cut small lengths. Use two fingers to press and roll each piece.
- Continue until all the dough is used.
- Cook in boiling water until pasta rises to the top. Combine with your choice of sauce.
Tips for success and FAQ's
This is quite an easy dough to prepare but there are few important points to remember. Firstly, don't skip the step of draining the ricotta. Extra ricotta water will change the texture of the dough.
Ricotta cavatelli dough is soft but not sticky. To fix sticky dough, add a little flour while kneading until the texture is right. And if the dough is too dry, sprinkle over a little water while kneading until the texture is right.
When rolling the dough rope, don't flour the work surface otherwise it'll be harder to roll. Be sure to keep the remaining dough covered with plastic wrap.
Just like regular cavatelli, roll pieces of pasta against the tines of a fork, pressing and curling the dough as you roll. Alternatively, use a cavatelli board or gnocchi board or simply use the work surface for a pasta with no ridges. Check out my cavatelli recipe for more tips.
It's not hard to tell when these are ready because they will float to the surface just like gnocchi. Scoop them up with a slotted spoon and coat right away with delicious sauce.
Yes, freeze on the baking sheet then when frozen transfer to zip lock bags. Store for up to three months in the freezer. Cook from frozen. Keep in mind that frozen pasta will take longer to cook.
Absolutely! This is an excellent recipe when feeding a crowd.
I don't own a machine to roll cavatelli but I can't see why it wouldn't work. I'm thinking that the dough may need some adjustment in consistency.
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Ricotta Cavatelli Recipe
- 15 ounces (425 grams) ricotta cheese See Note 1
- 3½ cups (455 grams) 00 flour
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup water
- 1 teaspoon salt
Drain the ricotta cheese
- Before you begin, drain excess liquid off the ricotta cheese. You may need to drain the ricotta cheese for anything from one to four hours.
- To do this, line a fine mesh strainer with cheesecloth or paper towels.
- Set the strainer over a bowl, making sure that the bottom of the straining as at least 1 inch (2.5cm) above the bottom of the bowl.
- Spoon the ricotta cheese into the lined strainer.
- Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the cheese is crumbly and has released most of the liquid.
Prepare the dough
- Combine ricotta and egg in a large bowl.
- Add flour and salt then stir to combine, drizzling in the water until the dough comes together.
- If the pasta dough is too wet, knead in a little more flour. If the pasta dough is too dry, drizzle in a little more water.
- Knead to form a soft dough. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes
- In the meantime, line two large baking sheets with non stick baking paper and dust with fine semolina or flour.
- After 30 minutes, take a small portion of dough and rewrap the remaining dough.
- Roll the dough into long rope about ½ inch (or approx 1cm) in diameter. It may be easier to cut it in half and keep rolling to achieve this thickness. Cut the rope into ¾-1 inch (2-2.5cm) lengths. Try not to flour the work surface or it will be too hard to roll the dough.
- Use a gnocchi board or the tines of a fork to shape the ricotta cavatelli. Use two fingers to press firmly onto each piece of dough and drag towards you creating a curl and an indentation. Use a little dusting of flour or fine semolina if the dough is sticking. Place ricotta cavatelli on the prepared baking sheets in a single layer and not touching.
- Continue forming the cavatelli until all the dough is used.
Cooking the ricotta cavatelli
- Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add a couple of tablespoons of salt to the boiling water.
- Cook in batches in large pot of salted boiling water until pasta rises to the top.
- As the pasta rises, scoop out with a slotted spoon and transfer to a large serving bowl, mixing in spoonfuls of your favorite pasta sauce.
- Make homemade ricotta cheese with my easy recipe.
- Don't skip the step of draining the ricotta. Extra ricotta water will change the texture of the dough.
- To fix sticky dough, add just a little flour while kneading until the texture is right.
- To fix a dry dough, sprinkle over a little water while kneading until the texture is right.
- When rolling the dough rope, don't flour the work surface otherwise it'll be harder to roll.
- Be sure to keep the remaining dough covered with plastic wrap.
- Just like regular cavatelli, roll pieces of pasta against the tines of a fork, pressing and curling the dough as you roll. Alternatively, use a cavatelli board or gnocchi board or simply use the work surface for a pasta with no ridges. Check out my cavatelli recipe for more tips.
- It's easy to tell when they are cooked because they will float and can just be scooped up with a slotted spoon.
- This recipe can be made in advance and is suitable to freeze. Freeze on a baking sheet then transfer to heavy duty freeze bags and freeze for up to 3 months. Be sure to cook from frozen.
Nutritional Estimate Per Serving
Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. For accurate results, it is recommended that the nutritional information be calculated based on the ingredients and brands you use.