Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Making Cavatelli


I love to think of that first Italian chef who looked down at his work surface and pronounced his novel form of pasta, strozzapreti. That particular chef might have had an anti-religious bent as that shape translates priest chokers. There are the angel’s hairs (oh if they should all be fine curly haired beauties), partridge eyes, butterflies and quills.
A child’s life is about naming and making sense of the names. When told that a fava bean is kidney shaped, our Belle mentioned her particular adoration for said organ. As gross anatomy is not a routine part of preschool and offal are not particularly popular at our table, we were curious about this endorsement. Kidneys are baby cats, we soon learned, and she loves cats.

For dinner last night, we made fava beans and cavatelli. After I demonstrated the making of cavatelli, Belle asked if she too could make mouse-shaped pasta.
Making Cavatelli
Mouse you say? If you are not familiar with the insipid pulp with their computer generated graphics and sound effects that masquerades as educational literature, consider yourself lucky. In this literature, the predators lay down arms and play hand in hand with their former foes completely at odds with nature and good sense. Lions and lambs frolic, often enrobed in matching ensembles. Sharks swim alongside clown fish (you know who I mean.) And, cats are friends with mice. So, if there are kittens for dinner, should they not matched with their rodent allies? Hey, if angels are blond, why shouldn’t mice be dinner?

And on to the forming of the cavatelli.

Make a long snake of dough by rolling it along the counter. Or dangle it over the counter and rock the dough back and forth in your palms. We found the latter was easier for little hands.
Making Cavatelli
Cut off pieces with your pastry cutter or else pinch of bits. Again the latter was better for little hands.
Making Cavatelli
Place the dough against a gnocchi board. Cut against it at a 45 degree angle with a butter knife. OR, for little hands, punch down with your thumb.
Making Cavatelli
Then peel back with your thumb. This part is a little easier for Mom to do.
Making Cavatelli

Boil in salted water until they pop up like jolly pillows (3 minutes) or else freeze.

Today is day two of our #meatlessweek . I am doing this as part of @lornayee 's meatless week.
We ate pasta salad of sorts.
Cavatelli Salad

Basically, no recipe here: combine equal parts of cooked chickpeas (i cooked dried ones in the slowcooker), cooked cavatelli, with a handful of green bell pepper, chopped purple onion, pepperocini, marinated artichokes, carrots and raw peas. Dress with a combination of grapeseed vegannaise, red wine vinegar, basil, oregano, and finely diced pepperocini. This was delicious if not lovely. It is the only I have cooked, and I have been attempting to cook since I was in kindergarten, that my father has genuinely said is good. He said it three times in between bites.


lisa is cooking said...

I have a gnocchi board but keep putting off making gnocchi. Maybe I'll make cavatelli instead. Looks like a lot of fun!

Jacqueline Meldrum said...

I do like that this meal was a joint effort and I am glad of the instructions too :)

Johanna GGG said...

lovely photos and the stories of belle's view of the world are gorgeous - but I am curious about what is the difference between gnocchi and cavatelli - is it in name only or something else?

Desisoccermom said...

Lol on angles have blond hair...

Came here from Manisha's IFR and found a gem. Nothing like cooking with kids. At least your eat what she helps with. Mine just helps and goes back to her regular, favorite fare. :)

angela@spinachtiger said...

I'm super impressed. you make this look so easy, but I never find these kind of pastas all that easy to make.

Löu said...

A link as you wanted to see my Gnocchis :
Thanks for your comment ;)

Alicia Foodycat said...

They look perfect! I shape gnocchi on a fork - I suppose I could do that for these too?

Kidneys are baby cats - how cute!

Dragon said...

So beautiful!