A fresh harvest of carrots from the garden inspired me to dust off the pasta machine and work on some fresh cavatelli. When done right, cavatelli is a thick-shell shaped pasta that is simultaneously dense and lite, somewhere between a gnocchi and rustic rolled pasta. The ingredients can be as simple as flour and water, and the trick is to create a dough that does not get stuck in the rolling machine, but is also not too dry. Once you have achieved the right ratio, making cavatelli is quick, easy and delicious.
Here's a quick video clip showing how the pasta is made.
I wanted the pasta to be dark orange, just like the freshly harvested carrots. To do this I juiced the carrots and brought the juice to a gentle simmer, removing the orange froth as it formed on the top of the pot. We drained this orange froth through a coffee filter and used the resulting paste to flavor and color the dough. The carrot liquid that was left behind smelled and tasted like carrot juice, but was completely clear like consommé. With the addition of a little balsamic, lemon verbena leaves and sea salt, this makes a perfect broth for the finished dish.
Once the cavatelli are rolled, we store them in a single layer so they don’t stick to each other. After three minutes in simmering, salted water we transfer the pasta to a pan full of sautéed morels, fresh garden peas and ramps. The pasta is then transferred to a presentation bowl and the broth is warmed in a small cast iron tea pot and steeped with fresh lemon verbena leaves. At the table the dish is finished with the herb infused broth and fresh parmesan.