Cavatelli with white ragout
fresh herbs and Grana Padano Riserva
For most of us, Sunday lunch is when our families gathered at grandparents' house to enjoy the smell of ragù from the large kitchen, homemade pasta and pastries. The main dish of this Sunday is cavatelli that can easily be made at home (also available fresh, even in supermarkets); they can be replaced with dried pasta, such as rigatoni or paccheri. For the sauce, not the classic ragù but something much faster and very tasty, flavored with excellent seasoned Grana Padano PDO Riserva, to enchant the decisive flavors.

For this Sunday table I opted for a sage green tablecloth to enhance the exquisitely Italian, blue and white handcrafted ceramic dishes. As table decoration, I chose decorative white pumpkins bought in September and stored at home for the entire autumn. A touch of color (in this case, dried orange scented hydrangeas, and a few flowers reminding the warm colors of the season) and the table will look completely different.
Serves
6-8 people
Francesca D'Orazio
Ingredients
  • 600 g cavatelli
  • 180 g fresh sausage, peeled
  • 250 g pork meat
  • 250 g veal meat
  • 1 medium sized shallot
  • 60 ml white wine
  • 4-5 tablespoons of chopped mint, sage, thyme
  • Hot chilli (optional)
  • 80 g Grana Padano PDO Riserva
  • 150 to 200 ml Vegetable broth or light meat broth
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
Preparation
Cut the sausage and the meat into 1 cm cubes.
In a small saucepan, cook the shallot over low heat with 3 tablespoons of olive oil until translucent and golden, about 10 minutes.
Transfer the cooked shallot into a pan large enough to later contain the pasta as well. Add your meat and sear it, stirring often.
Pour the white wine into the pan and let it evaporate (instructions below). Season to taste.
Add the broth and cook for another minute. Keep the ragù warm while cooking the pasta.

Meanwhile, cook the cavatelli al dente in boiling salted water.
Drain them, and transfer into the pan of ragù, adding freshly grated Grana Padano gradually. Complete the pasta by adding 3/4 of the chopped herbs, then transfer to a serving dish and garnish with the remaining herbs.
Why adding wine?
The wine gives aromatic notes to your dish, but if you don’t let the alcohol evaporate it will also add a bitter taste; overpowering the delicate flavors you want to maintain.

To make wine evaporate correctly:
1. The wine must be at room temperature, never cold from the refrigerator.
2. Turn your heat up before pouring the wine and leave to evaporate as quickly as possible.
3. You want the flavors from the wine to mix with the juice at the bottom of your pan. To do so, don’t pour over your ingredients (in this case, the meat). Move the ingredients towards the centre, making space around the edges to pour the wine into.
4. After pouring the wine, do not mix your ingredients, this would lower the temperature that you want to maintain very high.
Homemade cavatelli
Prepare the dough by mixing 500 g of durum flour, about 210 ml of water, and a pinch of salt.
Cover the dough with a cloth and let it rest for about 10 minutes.
Flour your working surface (preferably wooden) and divide the dough into several pieces. One at a time, roll each piece of dough into long 0,5 cm thick cylinders, then cut each cylinders into about 1 cm pieces. To obtain the cavatelli shape, press each small cylinder with your thumb, dragging it away from you on the wooden board, so that it curves on one side.
Tips for the table
It is very important to welcome our guests, friends or family, and make them feel at ease. For this reason, the best is to serve your recipes in a nice serving dish so that everyone will feel comfortable to help themselves and take their desired portion, as in the case for our cavatelli. I find the ritual of passing the serving dish around to be such a pleasant gesture. Alternatively, the mother or father plating each guest's dish is a beautiful and loving gesture as well.

"To invite people to dine with us is to make ourselves responsible for their well-being for as long as they are under our roofs."
Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, The Physiology of Taste: Or, Meditations on Transcendental Gastronomy
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