Home-made cavatelli with meat ragout

Home-made cavatelli with meat ragout

Serves 4

Preparation 40min

Cooking 3hr


  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 300 g Italian pork and fennel sausage, casings removed

  • 5-6 pork spare ribs, trimmed

  • 2 lamb shanks

  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped

  • 1 onion, roughly chopped

  • 1 celery stick, roughly chopped

  • 1 clove garlic, chopped

  • 200 ml red wine

  • 2 x 400 g tins tomatoes or 800 ml passata

  • 400 ml water

  • salt flakes

  • oregano and rosemary leaves, to suit your taste

  • freshly grated or shaved pecorino, to serve

Cavatelli lunghi

  • 300 g durum wheat flour, plain flour or specialty pasta flour, plus extra for dusting

  • 1 tsp salt flakes

  • 220–250 ml lukewarm water

  • olive oil, to grease your hands

Cook’s notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Chilling time 30 minutes

Drying time 30 minute

Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large flameproof casserole dish over medium heat. Add the sausage meat, spare ribs and shanks and brown well all over. Remove to a plate.

Heat the remaining oil in the casserole and cook the carrot, onion, celery and garlic until they smell fragrant. Return the meat to the pot, along with the resting juices, and cook together for 1–2 minutes, then pour in the wine and cook for 1–2 minutes or until the alcohol has evaporated. Add the tomatoes or passata, water and a pinch of salt and bring to a simmer. Scatter over the herbs, then reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, for 2–3 hours, stirring occasionally.

After that time, taste for salt and adjust to your liking. If the sauce is too liquidy, increase the heat and let it boil for 5–10 minutes or until reduced and thickened. Remove the meat and break it up to remove any bones. Put the meat back in the sauce.

While the sauce is cooking, make the cavatelli lunghi. Put the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl, make a well in the centre and slowly pour in the water, mixing as you go to incorporate the flour. Don’t add all the water at once as you may not need it all, depending on the brand of flour you use; by the same token, you may need to add a little extra water if the dough is too stiff or dry. Using 100% durum wheat flour will probably require a little more liquid than plain flour or specialty pasta flour.

Tip the dough onto a floured surface, oil your hands and knead for 3–4 minutes or until it comes together in a smooth ball. Add a little extra flour if it feels a bit sticky. Wrap it in plastic film and let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. You can make the dough a day ahead, if it’s more convenient. If you do this, take it out of the fridge at least 1 hour before you intend to use it.

Take the dough out of the fridge, dust a large wooden board with flour and cut the dough into 6–8 pieces. Rub your hands in olive oil and roll each piece into a long log about 5 mm thick, then cut into 3 cm pieces.

Working with one piece of pasta at a time, use a floured butter knife to push it down then drag it towards you to roll your cavatelli and create a slit in the middle, essential for trapping the sauce.

Keep going until you have shaped all the cavatelli, then leave them to dry on a wooden board or a wire rack at room temperature.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil, drop in the cavatelli and cook for 5 minutes or until perfectly al dente. Drain, reserving a few tablespoons of the pasta cooking water. Toss the cavatelli in the sauce and warm over medium heat for 1 minute, adding a little pasta cooking water if it is too dry. Serve piping hot, crowned with pecorino


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