Cavatelli literally means 'little hollows'. They are small pasta shells made with hard-wheat flour and water from the central and southern regions of Italy (Molise, Puglia, Campania). Each region or town gives them a different name. They are also called crusìcchi, cecaruccoli, cicatielli, rasciatelli.
Since cavatelli are made by 'dragging' pieces of dough on the work surface, they are part of a broader group of homemade pasta shapes called strascinati (trascinare means 'to drag'). Orecchiette, strascinati, cavatelli, strascinate are all made using this technique, each in a different way.
How to Make Cavatelli
Prepare the Basic Dough Recipe: Hard-wheat Flour and Water and leave to rest for at least 1 hour in plastic wrap.
Cut a piece of dough and wrap up the rest so that it doesn't dry out. Start rolling the piece of dough into a long rope about the size of your index finger.
Using a cutter or a knife, cut the rope into small pieces of about 1,5cm / 0.6-in wide.
With your index finger, press down on the dough and drag it towards you.
Drag, done. Drag, done! It is easy, easy, easy!!
Place your cavatelli on a stackable pasta dryer or ...
... dust them with semola flour so that they do not stick to the surface or to each other. For this purpose, always remember to use a coarse flour. Fine flour would be absorbed by the dough, making it stick to the surface.
Once you are done, you can either cook the cavatelli immediately, dry or freeze them.