Ricotta Cavatelli with smoked almond & cavolo nero pesto

Ricotta Cavatelli  with smoked almond & cavolo nero pesto

This is the Ricotta Cavatelli recipe our head chef Andy Appleton demonstrated at the Great Cornish Food Festival 2015.  It’s very easy to recreate at home – Buon Appetito!


Serves 4



Pasta dough:
250g ricotta
350g pasta flour ( plus extra for dusting )
1 medium whole free range egg

200g cavolo nero
80g smoked almonds
50g Parmesan
3 cloves of garlic
300ml good olive oil
Salt and pepper


To make the dough, add the ricotta and whole egg into a bowl and mix well. Start adding the flour, slowly incorporating it into the ricotta mix. Once combined start to knead together to a firm dough (if still sticky add a little more flour). Wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge until needed.

For the pesto, blanch the cavolo nero until soft, drain and leave to cool. Once cooled squeeze out any excess water and place the leaves into a blender with the almonds and garlic, adding some of the olive oil and blend until smooth. Then add the rest of the olive oil and Parmesan and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and leave to one side.

To make the Cavatelli, dust a board with flour, cut the dough in half and roll out into a rectangle about 1.5cm thick. Then cut lengthways into strips 3cm wide, and cut each strip crossways into 1.5cm pieces so you end up with 3 x 1.5cm pieces. Have a floured tray ready (semolina flour is ideal as it stops the pasta drying out, if not use normal plain flour). With the flat blade of a large blunt knife or with your fingers, press down each piece of dough and slide the knife or fingers towards you so the piece of dough curls. You could do this on a special board to add decorative imprints, which is what Andy has done done. These can be found online search for gnocchi and cavarola boards. Put the Cavatelli onto the floured tray until ready to use.

To cook, bring a pan of water to the boil, add salt and then the Cavatelli, the moment they float to the top they are ready. Whilst the Cavatelli are cooking heat the pesto in a pan. Drain the Cavatelli and add to the pesto, stir to coat. Plate and serve.

Chefs Top Tips:  

Cavolo nero is a loose-leafed cabbage, the leaves are a very dark green, almost black, hence its name, which translates as ‘black cabbage’.  If you have trouble sourcing it, use kale as an alternative.

You can store your pesto in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 months, just make sure you keep keep the olive oil topped up so it covers the pesto.  Jam jars make great airtight containers.




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