Place the semolina flour on a work surface, make a well in the middle and sprinkle with salt.
Add most of water into the well in the centre of the semolina flour.
Start combining water with the semolina flour using your fingers or a fork. Pulling in the flour and forming a dough. Add more water if needed. The dough should feel soft and supple, a bit like playdough.
Knead well for 5-10 minutes until smooth and elastic then form into a ball.
Wrap with plastic and set aside for 30 minutes to rest.
After 30 minutes, cut off ¼ of the dough. Rewrap the remaining dough.
Roll the cut off portion of dough into a sausage shape. You shouldn't need any extra semolina/flour but if you do, use it sparingly.
Continue rolling until you have a long rope about ½ inch (or approximately 1cm) in diameter. Be sure to roll the rope as thin as this otherwise it will be too thick to cook properly. 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.
Using two fingers (the index and the middle finger), press firmly onto each piece of dough and drag towards you creating a curl and an indentation. It's important to press firmly enough to thin the dough and create a curled pasta. This might take a little practice.
Place in a single layer and not touching on parchment (baking) paper that has been dusted with semolina.
Repeat with remaining dough.
Bring a large pot of water to the boil. When boiling, add one heaped tablespoon of salt.
Add the cavatelli to the salted, boiling water and cook for 8-10 minutes. This will depend on the size of the cavatelli. Taste after 5 minutes and cook longer if needed. Cooking may be even longer than 10 minutes if you have made larger cavatelli.
Tips for success and FAQ'sSemolina flour is very finely ground durum wheat semolina. The brand I prefer is Caputo which I find at my local Italian food store. There are other brands available at supermarkets which are also quite good. But be sure to use the correct semolina. It is very fine but not quite as fine as flour. The coarse variety (often used for polenta) won't produce good cavatelli.Roll the rope thinly - almost as thin as a pencil. This isn't like potato gnocchi; cavatelli should be much thinner than gnocchi.Alternative ways of shaping the cavatelliYou can also roll pieces of pasta against the tines of a fork, pressing and curling the dough as you roll. Or alternatively, you may have a cavatelli board or gnocchi board which can be used instead.What to do if the dough keeps shrink when rolling outIf this is happening, set that piece aside and start rolling a fresh piece of dough. In the meantime the first piece of dough will rest and relax and be easier to roll when you go back to it.How to freezePlace the tray of pasta in the freezer. When frozen, transfer to a freezer bag and use within 6 months. Cook from frozen. Frozen pasta will take longer to cook.