Cavatelli Pasta from Scratch

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Cavatelli pasta is perfectly shaped to get the most sauce in every bite. Make these melt-in-your-mouth shells for your favorite Italian dishes!

Homemade Italian dishes are always so divine, and they are usually an easy go-to option any night of the week! Fresh pasta beats dried, hands down, and your family will love you for taking the time to make it.

cavatelli pasta in white serving dish

Cavatelli Pasta

This cavatelli recipe is perfect for a night in! Creating your own chewy, authentic handmade pasta will be so much fun, no matter who you make it with.

Use your freshly made shells in a variety of recipes – just swap it in wherever there’s penne or rotini. It would be divine with vodka sauce or in this sun-dried tomato chicken dish.

semolina flour in bowl next to olive oil, water and salt

Recipe Notes and Tips for Success

  • Use the right flour for homemade pasta: Several types of flour will work for this, but each will yield different results. 00 flour will give you a silkier texture, while semolina creates a chewier bite. You can also use regular all-purpose flour!
  • Dust your work surface. Along with flouring the dough, add some to your countertop to help prevent anything from sticking.
  • No machine? No problem! It’s so easy to shape cavatelli pasta by hand. Start with a thinner dough rope before cutting it into segments. After practicing with a few pieces, you can adjust the thickness of the rope and the size of the pieces.
  • Less is more. This recipe does not call for eggs – just water and flour. Add a few pinches of salt for seasoning, plus a touch of olive oil to help bind the dough!

Serving Suggestions

Cavatelli tastes incredible with just butter and fresh herbs, but you can serve it with your favorite sauce, and feel free to add meat if you’d like!

For a fully home cooked meal, I have easy to follow directions for making marinara, alfredo, and roasted tomato sauces. Any one of these would pair wonderfully with this authentic handmade pasta!

kneading authentic handmade pasta

Kitchen Tools You Will Need

  • A cutting board or baking sheet for your flour and water mixture.
  • Bench scraper – Makes cutting dough quick and easy. Plus, it won’t tear the dough!
  • Pasta machine with cavatelli attachment
  • Large pot and strainer for when you’re ready to cook it

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rolling dough for cavatelli recipe

Cavatelli Pasta FAQ

What is cavatelli?

It is a short, eggless noodle that you make with only semolina flour and water.

The name actually translates to “little hollows” since each piece has a divot that is optimal for capturing sauce and butter.

making homemade Italian pasta dough

Can I make this cavatelli recipe ahead of time?

You sure can! When frozen, this authentic handmade pasta will last for up to 3 months. Simply freeze the pieces on a tray until firm, then transfer them to a ziploc bag for storage.

When you’re ready to boil, you can drop in the noodles straight from the freezer! They will just take a bit longer to cook from frozen.

cavatelli prepared on floured surface

If uncooked, store covered in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. If cooked, cool and transfer to an airtight container before refrigerating for up to 3 days.

Reheat in the microwave until warmed through, and add a drizzle of oil to keep it from drying out!


With love from our simple kitchen to yours. 

handmade italian pasta, close up

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Other Homemade Pasta Recipes

homemade shell pasta on spoon

Cavatelli Pasta from Scratch

Donna Elick
Cavatelli pasta is perfectly shaped to get the most sauce in every bite. Use our recipe for melt-in-your-mouth shell pasta, from scratch!
5 stars from 1 review
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine Italian
Method Mixed
Servings 4


  • 2 cups semolina flour
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • Semolina and/or rice flour for dusting


  • Mound semolina flour and salt on a marble countertop or a cutting board/baking sheet. Form a well in the center of the mound.
  • Pour a tablespoon of olive oil into the water and swirl together briefly.
  • While working the mixture with one hand, gradually drizzle the water mixture into the center of the flour. Continue drizzling and mixing the flour into the water until it is all combined.
  • Press the mixture (it will be crumbly) into a ball and knead with the palms of your hands for 6-8 minutes until a smooth elastic dough has formed.
  • Wrap the dough in plastic wrap or place in a plastic baggy and let set for 30 minutes.
  • Divide the dough into 4-8 pieces and roll each section into a long rope, about 1/2” in diameter. Keep remaining dough covered while you are working with each section.
  • Feed the rope of dough through a pasta machine fitted with a cavatelli attachment (shown here). To form the cavatelli by hand, cut the rope into small sections. Press your finger down into the piece of dough and drag your finger forward – the dough will stretch and the edges will curl over to make a cupped cavatelli shape.
  • Leave cavatelli to dry and store in an airtight container.
  • Alternately, cook freshly formed cavatelli in a large pot of salted water. Toss with your favorite sauce or butter and freshly chopped herbs.

Donna’s Notes

There are lots of different types of flour that can be used for pasta dough. All-purpose flour works perfectly well. 00 flour is great if available for a more silky pasta. Semolina flour, as used here, makes a chewier pasta with a bit more body.
If forming the cavatelli by hand, you will need to roll the dough rope thinner. After practicing with a few pieces of dough, you can adjust the thickness of the rope and the size of the pieces.
Dust your work surface and the formed pasta with semolina flour to prevent sticking.
This pasta does not use eggs; it’s formed simply from flour and water – add salt for some seasoning. We added just a touch of olive oil to help bind the dough.
Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 333cal | Carbohydrates: 61g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 584mg | Fiber: 3g | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 4mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
titled collage for cavatelli recipe

Originally published  January 2022.

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One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    I love making homemade pasta, but have stuck to fehttuchini, and linguini because I’m afraid of trying new shapes. These were surprisingly easy!

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