Ways to customize this pasta dish:
Although this pasta is delicious as is, feel free to make changes to suit your family’s tastes and the ingredients you have on hand.
Ingredients for this cavatappi pasta recipe:
This pasta recipe, which only calls for 8 straightforward, accessible ingredients (plus salt and pepper), will make you fall in love with pasta. Here’s a quick rundown of what you’ll need:
What is Cavatappi:
Let’s talk about cavatappi pasta. Cavatappi pasta has a corkscrew shape and is a helical tube about an inch long with ridges on the sides. Its pronunciation is “cah-vah-TOP-pee.” The term “cavatappi” literally translates to “tap extractor” (yes, like a beer keg), and this cavatappi corkscrew’s large surface area makes it ideal for clinging to a sauce like it were the only thing that mattered. Large ladles of my rich, creamy tomato sauce are the ideal complement, taking you right to the patio of a charming trattoria in the heart of Tuscany.
There are many cavatappi pasta recipes available for you to choose from, including ones you may have already tried at some well-known restaurants because chefs and home cooks alike love this fun pasta.
There are the cavatappi dishes that Applebee’s serves with roasted chicken and three different types of cheese. The lobster cavatappi at Red Lobster has shrimp and lobster in a light, roasted garlic sauce. The dish is called cavatappi amatriciana and is made by Carrabba. It has a tomato base and tiny pieces of crispy pancetta, an unsmoked Italian bacon. More so than the other recipes, my cavatappi pasta with creamy tomato sauce resembles Carrabba’s, but I think you’ll find my sauce is heartier and richer, satisfying even that clingy pasta.
There are a few ingredients in the recipe, but the only real work is chopping the ingredients and being patient while the sauce simmers. Sautéed onions are the first layer of flavor, slowly browned to caramelize and release their sugar, along with red pepper flakes for a very subtle hint of heat, and some chopped prosciutto. Just pour yourself a glass of wine, and get ready for the amazing smells that will be coming out of your kitchen soon.
If this Italian ham is unfamiliar to you, it is dried rather than cooked, sliced paper thin, and typically served on a charcuterie plate or wrapped around a piece of fruit (although it also makes a great topping for pizza because the thin slices get really crispy when baked).
Prosciutto or pancetta are frequently used in traditional Italian tomato sauces to give them that savory, meaty flavor without having to use as much actual meat. I prefer to use prosciutto in this particular recipe because pancetta is simply a fattier alternative.
Of course there is fresh garlic, but there is only enough to add a subtle flavor and not to serve as a constant reminder of what you had for supper.
My Cavatappi with Creamy Tomato Sauce recipe uses three different types of tomatoes: crushed, which is light, bright, and acidic; sundried, which is bright but intense and sweet; and paste, which is rich and full-bodied.
You won’t fully appreciate the flavor layers that these three varieties of tomatoes create until you take a bite.
In place of the red you might anticipate in this cavattapi pasta dish, I use a crisp, light white. White wine emphasizes the fruitiness with just a touch of sweetness, while red wine, with its robust qualities, would undoubtedly add to the depth of flavor. I think it enhances rather than competes with the sauce.
I add some cream to my cavatappi with creamy tomato sauce to finish it off, along with fresh basil, which is a must-have ingredient for any authentic Italian dish (a little freshly grated Parmesan wouldn’t hurt either).
Don’t be intimidated by the ingredient list because I think it’s pretty amazing that such a magnificent meal can be prepared practically in the time it takes to boil water and cook pasta.
You’ll soon be enjoying a sumptuous meal while thinking that this wonderful bowl of pasta might just be enough to motivate you to go to the gym tomorrow.