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Fresh Cavatelli with Pea Shoot Pesto

One of spring's sweet favorites, blended into a bright pesto
40 Ratings
100% would make again
Cavatelli with Pea Shoot Pesto
Photo: Dave Katz/Tasting Table

Since tomatoes aren't in season yet for red sauce, we were inspired by the bounty of herbage that's currently available to make a pea shoot pesto. And the next logical step was to make fresh pasta to soak up the vibrant sauce, as in tender cavatelli.

You won't regret investing in a cavatelli roller, seeing as you'll be able to hand-crank all the pasta for this recipe in a matter of minutes (watch the video). Just make sure you flour everything: the roller, the board and the cavatelli themselves so they don't stick.

Check out our favorite pasta recipes.

Fresh Cavatelli with Pea Shoot Pesto

Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes, plus resting time

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes, plus resting time


For the Pasta Dough:

1 cup semolina flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

1½ teaspoons salt, plus more to taste

2 eggs, plus 2 yolks

For the Pea Shoot Pesto:

3 cups pea shoots, plus more for garnish

¼ cup grated Pecorino Romano, plus more for garnish

¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted

2 tablespoons roughly chopped preserved lemon

1 tablespoon lemon juice

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

¼ cup olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For Assembly:

2 tablespoons butter

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1. Make the pasta: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, combine all the ingredients. Mix on medium speed until a dough begins to form. Empty out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and continue kneading by hand until a smooth ball is formed, 3 to 4 minutes. Form the ball into a disk, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, make the pesto: In the bowl of a food processor, combine the pea shoots, Pecorino Romano, almonds, preserved lemon, lemon juice and red pepper flakes. Pulse until incorporated, then, with the motor running, slowly pour in the olive oil until the mixture is fully emulsified. Season with salt and pepper, then set aside.

3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then season with salt. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 12-by-8-inch rectangle, ¼ inch thick. Cut the dough lengthwise into 1-inch-wide strips. Run the strips through a cavatelli pasta maker and store on a lightly floured, parchment-lined baking sheet.

4. Cook the pasta in the pot of boiling water until al dente, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain, reserving ¼ cup of the pasta water.

5. Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the drained cavatelli, reserved pasta water and pesto. Stir until the sauce is incorporated and heated through, 2 minutes, then season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a platter and garnish with more pea shoots and cheese, then serve.

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