Cavatelli con sugo di ventricina – cavatelli with Molisani salami sauce

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Cavatelli is a fantastic starting point if you're making your own pasta for the first time – the eggless pasta dough is easy to make, and the little hollows are easy to shape. Molisani love to eat cavatelli with a rich ragù of Ventricina Vastese salami and sausage meat.

First published in 2018
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Pasta dough

  • 200g of semolina flour, plus extra to dust
  • 100ml of warm water

Ventricina ragu

  • 100g of ventricina del Vastese salami, scraped from the skin
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 200g of sausage meat, (Italian herbed)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 celery stick, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 400g tin of chopped tomato
  • Parmesan, to serve
  • salt
  • pepper


To begin, make the pasta dough. Place the semolina flour in a bowl and slowly stir in the water. As it starts to come together, pour out onto a floured surface and knead with with your hands for 5–6 minutes or until you have a smooth elastic dough. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest for 1 hour
To make the ragù, add the fennel seeds and ventricina to a pan and cook out until the bright red oils start to be released. Add the sausage meat to the pan and cook until golden
Once browned, add the onion, celery and garlic and stir until softened
Add the tinned tomatoes to the pan and leave to simmer for 20–30 minutes, or until the ragù has thickened slightly
When the pasta dough has rested, start making the cavatelli. Cut off a slice of the dough and roll into a thin sausage, about 0.6cm in diameter. Then cut into 1cm long pieces
Using your thumb, press down and roll the pasta towards you, creating the curled shape. Repeat until you’ve used up all the dough, storing the finished cavatelli shapes on a tray of semolina flour to stop them sticking
Cook the cavatelli in heavily salted boiling water for 3–5 minutes then drain and stir through the ragù. Serve with Parmesan

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