Substitute 1 and 1/2 pounds dried orecchiette for the fresh cavatelli below if time is short.



  • 1 pound semolina flour, plus extra for the counter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Hot water


  • 2 tablespoon salt
  • e tablespoons Monini DOP Gargano Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 pound fresh whole milk Ricotta
  • 1/2 cup coarsely grated Ricotta salata
  • 1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano, plus extra for passing at the table
  • 12 basil leaves, torn


  • 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3/4 pound spicy italian sausage, casing removed and crumbled
  • 3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

1. Make the cavatelli: Place the semolina on the counter and mix in the salt. Make a well in the center and add enough hot water to make a dough that comes together; it will take about 1 cup of water. The dough should be firm and form a solid mass. Add more water if the dough is ragged and does not come together (keep in mind that this dough should be quite firm, almost hard, so as to pass through the rollers of the cavatelli machine without sticking together).

2. Knead vigorously 5 to 10 minutes or until very smooth. The dough should be quite hard.

3. Cut into 16 pieces and roll each piece into a 1/4 inch-wide log. Roll one log at a time through a cavatelli machine; be sure to keep the other logs from drying out by covering them with plastic wrap. Toss the cavatelli with semolina flour to prevent them from sticking and spread out on a semolina-dusted tray for up to 24 hours.

4. Make the sauce: Heat the olive oil in 14-inch skillet over a medium-high flame. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up with the spoon, until browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and chili and cook 1 minute; add the tomatoes and cook 10 minutes, or until they release their juice and break down a bit. If the sausage looks dry, add 1/4 cup or more water to the skillet to moisten it.

5. To cook the cavatelli: Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil. Add the cavatelli and salt and cook until the cavatelli are al dente, about 12 minutes, tasting often to determine doneness. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.

6. Toss the drained cavatelli with the sausage, the reserved pasta cooking water, the olive oil, Ricotta, Ricotta salata, and the pecorino. Adjust the seasoning and serve hot, garnished with the basil.