Ricotta Cavatelli with Toasted Walnuts & Baby Greens

Ricotta Cavatelli Pasta with Toasted Walnuts, Slivered Garlic & Baby Greens

I’m now officially in love with Homemade Ricotta Cavatelli Pasta and look forward to making each new batch. The leisurely rhythm of hand shaping the soft, supple dough is relaxing. And there’s a little thrill as the mound of beautifully grooved pasta grows. After all, this is homemade, handmade pasta, and it’s extraordinary.

Cavatelli Pasta Ingredients

Of course, you can buy prepackaged cavatelli pasta. The dish will still taste delicious. But with a little extra effort, you’ll have a meal fit for royalty.

To keep this from being an all-day adventure, make the cavatelli pasta a day or more in advance. It freezes well and is great to have on hand for impromptu dinners.

Tossing Ricotta Cavatelli Pasta with Toasted Walnuts & Baby Greens

Note  Recently, I taught my favorite 3-year-old, Miss Lillian, to shape ricotta cavatelli. She’s still talking about it. Get the kids involved. Shaping ricotta cavatelli is a great rainy afternoon activity. And, hey, you get to eat it when you’re finished.

Ricotta Cavatelli Pasta with Toasted Walnuts & Baby Greens

Ricotta Cavatelli with Toasted Walnuts & Baby Greens

This is a delicious pairing of chewy, pillowy pasta; earthy, almost sweet walnuts; toasted garlic; slightly bitter greens; and crisp pancetta; punctuated with a creamy, bright tasting cheese.

Ingredient Note   Five-ounce bags of baby power greens are available at Trader Joe’s. Baby spinach can be substituted if desired.

Ingredient Note   Trader Joe’s sells nifty 4-ounce packages of cubed pancetta, which is the perfect amount for many dishes. I keep a couple extra in the freezer because running out of pancetta is not a trivial matter. Of course, you can usually substitute bacon, but the flavor is quite different.

12 ounces fresh ricotta cavatelli (about 3 cups)
1 tablespoon fine sea salt (for pasta water)

¼ cup cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oil
½ cup chopped pancetta (2 ounces)
4 large cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup whole walnuts, coarsely chopped (3½ ounces)
2 large handfuls baby power greens, stems removed (baby spinach, baby kale, baby chard) (3-4 ounces)

fine sea salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

soft, crumbled feta or goat cheese

  1. Fill a large pasta or soup pot with four quarts cold water and add 1 tablespoon fine salt. Cover and bring to a rolling boil.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, heat the olive oil; and add the pancetta, garlic, and walnuts. With a metal spatula, turn often as the pancetta begins to crisp and the garlic and walnuts begin to toast. Add the greens, toss a few times, until they just begin to wilt, and then remove from the heat (but keep warm).
  3. When pasta water is boiling rapidly, add cavatelli. After cavatelli float to the top of the water, boil for 2 minutes.
  4. Scoop cavatelli from the water with a sieve and add to the sauté pan, along with ½ cup of the hot pasta water.
  5. Return pan to the heat, and saute for a minute or so, tossing the cavatelli to mix with the other ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Scoop the cavatelli onto a serving platter or into individual wide-rimmed pasta bowls, and garnish with the feta or goat cheese if using.
  7. Serve immediately.

Serves 2-3.

More Fabulous Pasta, Gnocchi & Spaetzle Recipes from LunaCafe

Cookin’ with Gas (inspiration from around the web)

Copyright 2013 Susan S. Bradley. All rights reserved.

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  1. says

    Oh boy, now you’re talking! I love pasta with greens and walnuts and all your flavours look wonderful. I’ve never seen that kind of pasta before, it reminds me of gnocchi a bit, I’d love to try some.
    Emma recently posted…Kung Pao ChickenMy Profile

    • Susan S. Bradley says

      Emma, thank you! Yes, they are a bit like ricotta gnocchi only CHEWY, which is my favorite texture. You’re going to love this dish, so delicious. Now I’m running over to check out your Kung Pao Chicken…

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