When the weekend rolls around, there is nothing more I enjoy than sitting at my kitchen bench and rolling a little bit of pasta. Cavatelli has to be one of my absolute favourite shapes to make, as it requires no special equipment and is an incredibly satisfying process. While I’ve used a gnocchi board here to create ridged cavatelli, you can absolutely roll and flick the little pieces of dough directly onto your board to create smooth cavatelli. If you’re not up for making your own pasta, simply substitute it with a dried pasta of your choice.
The sauce I’ve paired it with today is so full of flavour and has a really good kick to it. That’s thanks to the ‘nduja (en-DOO-ya), a spicy spreadable pork sausage from Calabria in southern Italy. It’s fiery but also really smoky and just gives this sauce so much depth. It also happens to go really well with seafood like squid, prawns and clams, as I’ve used here. It’s available from most Italian delis but if you can’t find any, simply add some dried chilli flakes along with the garlic at the beginning of the cooking. It won’t be the same by any means, but will at least provide a little heat.
Ask your fishmonger if the clams are already sand-free. If not, you will have to purge them at home. About 30 minutes before I am ready to cook with them, I sit the clams in a bowl and cover them with cold water and a good three-fingered pinch of salt. The clams should open a little and release their sand to the bottom of the bowl. After 30 minutes, drain and the clams are now ready to cook with.
The crunchy breadcrumbs are salty and delicious and are in lieu of parmesan cheese – so keep this in mind when seasoning the sauce too. Once you have all of your ingredients, it really is a very enjoyable and lovely recipe to make, perfect for Sunday lunch or when you have some time to slow down in the kitchen.