Delicious handmade Cavatelli or Gnocchetti Sardi pasta made with spelt flour and served with a dreamy creamy cheesy Broccoli sauce. You can also use ready-made pasta and whip up this incredible dish in just 20 minutes!
I love using spelt flour to make the pasta dough. I think half of the times I make pasta I use spelt flour. The flavor is more nutty and intense and the texture is chewy with a nice bite.
It goes very well with many sauces, especially vegetable ones and one of my favorite sauce ever is this creamy cheesy broccoli sauce.
Don’t get demotivated about making handmade pasta. If you don’t have spelt flour, you can use Semolina or All-Purpose flour. If you don’t have time, just use regular store-bought pasta and enjoy a quicker but still delicious pasta dish.
What’s the difference between Cavatelli and Gnocchetti Sardi?
While I was writing this post, I wasn’t sure if I should call this pasta Cavatelli or Gnocchetti Sardi. They’re 2 pasta shapes with different origins but they look very similar.
Cavatelli are originally from the Molise region but they’re also very common in Apulia and other Southern regions such as Campania and Sicily. The origins of the name come from the word “cavati” which means hollow, due to their shape. Cavatelli can either have stripes, like Gnocchetti Sardi, or be smooth. Depending on if you use a striped board or not while shaping.
Gnocchetti Sardi, also known as Malloreddus in Sardinian language, are originally from Sardinia. They’re called Gnocchetti because their shape reminds of small Gnocchi, but they’re not made with potatoes. The striped pattern is made by dragging the pasta dough onto a striped basket called Ciuliri. In the traditional recipe sometimes also Saffron is added to the dough.
So, the shape on these 2 pastas is practically the same but the origins are quite distant and different.
Check out also this extensive guide with step-by-step videos on how to make 10 different shapes of fresh pasta without a pasta machine.
If you like this recipe, you should also try these ones with spelt:
Spelt Pasta with Broccoli Sauce
For the Pasta
- 1 1/4 cup Spelt Flour
- 1/3 cup Water
- A pinch Salt
- 1 tsp Olive Oil
For the Broccoli Sauce
- 1/2 large Broccoli
- 1 clove Garlic, minced
- 2/3 cup Cream
- Parmigiano cheese, grated
- Black Pepper
- Chili Pepper flakes
- Olive Oil
Make the Pasta
- In a large bowl, mix the flour with the pinch of salt and oil, then slowly add the water while mixing with a fork.
- When it starts to become a dough, start mixing with your hands and add more water or more flour until you get a uniform non-sticky ball of dough.
- Knead the dough for a few minutes to incorporate air, then wrap it in plastic wrap and set aside to rest 10 minutes in the fridge.
- When the dough is rested, divide it into 3 or 4 parts and roll each into a long snake about 2 cm (3/4 inch) thick.
- With a knife, chop pieces of 1,5 cm (1/2 inch), then with your fingers roll each piece on a gnocchi board or a fork or a cutting board to make them hollow. See picture above in the post for reference.
- Set them aside on a clean cloth to rest.
Make the Sauce
- Chop the broccoli into small pieces and add them in a large pan with a drizzle of olive oil and the minced garlic. Sautè for 2-3 minutes at medium heat.
- When it starts to brown, add the cream and a little bit of water. Turn down the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Season with salt, black pepper and chili pepper flakes. At this point you can choose to blend the sauce to make it even creamier. Otherwise leave it chunkier.
- Toss the pasta in a pot with salted boiling water and drain when cooked. Fresh pasta will cook in 2-3 minutes while for store-bought pasta follow the directions on the package.
- Add the pasta to the sauce, sprinkle a generous amount of Parmigiano cheese and serve.
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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