This recipe does call for semolina flour. Megan was able to find some at her local grocery store. I couldn’t at mine, but online shopping is a wonderful thing, so I was still able to procure some. I imagine you could try it with regular flour (we made homemade noodles not too long ago with the regular flour in our pantry), but then it wouldn’t be authentic Italian pasta. This recipe came all the way from Rome, and so we want to follow instructions exactly.
The other unusual thing you’ll need is a special ridged paddle. You can go to Italy and take a cooking class to get one, you could make your own, or you could buy one. However, the instructions do say you can use a fork if you don’t have the paddle. I tried making a couple of pieces using a fork, and it did work. The ridges were just a bit thicker.
So, in case you can’t read the recipe, here it is. Take 100 grams of semolina flour* and make a little mountain on your counter. Using two fingers, stir the center to make a “volcano” opening. Slowly pour in 55 grams of water, along with a pinch of salt, and stir with your fingers (or a fork) to incorporate the two ingredients. Try not to let any water escape. After most of it is mixed, you can use a little scraper to “scrape, flip, and smoosh” until you have a nice round ball. (You can also continue to just use your hands.) Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes or so. Then divide each ball into thirds and roll out into a rope about 1/2″ thick. Then cut into pieces about 3/4″ in size. Place a piece on the paddle, cut edge facing the handle, press with the knuckle of your thumb, and roll down and flick it onto the counter. This makes the cavatelli shape. Dust with more flour to keep from sticking. Then cook in boiling, salted water until done, about 5 minutes, until they rise to the top of the water. Drain, toss with sauce and serve. Note that this is enough for one serving. Double as needed.
* I measured the flour and water after weighing it, so here are approximations for a double recipe. 200 grams flour is about 1 1/4 cups. 110 grams water is about 3/8 cup. While it’s best to weigh for accuracy, this will give you an idea of how much flour you need to have on hand.