Cavatelli al Forno
by James Belardo
One of my all-time favorite pasta dishes is Baked Cavatelli. Baked Cavatelli was the holiday and special occasion pasta dish. Grandma (nonna) rarely made lasagna and instead made Baked Cavatelli. Since Baked Cavatelli was only one of the ‘courses’ I can guess that the complication of layering the pasta for lasagna may have took too long for her liking. By using Cavatelli, she used a pasta with history; Cavatelli. Cavatelli’s history is deeply embedded in the southern regions of Italy (Calabria and Sicily).
Baked Cavatelli uses gravy (tomato sauce) prepared in the ‘Sunday Gravy’ fashion , adding spinach between layers is a nice touch. Meats such as polpetti (meatballs), pork neck bones, Brasciole and Italian Sausage (w/fennel) are part of the Sunday Gravy routine and are served on the side.
1. Cook Cavatelli al dente
2. Combine Cavatelli with couple of ladles of gravy and then the Ricotta mixture.
3. In a 2-3 inch deep rectangular roasting pan, coat with a layer gravy. This will be your base.
4. From bottom to top, alternate other layers as you feel with layers of pasta, spinach (optional), mozzarella and some more gravy.
5. Finally top with Gravy and cheese
6. cook at 350F for 60 min or until the Cheese on top brown to your liking.
7. Garnish with fresh basil leaves.
The Grape Gourmet
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