The Caccavella of Gragnano is the biggest Pasta shape in the world: weighing 30g, 9cms in diameter and 6cms high. It looks like a small pot, which is why in Neapolitan dialect it’s called “caccavella”.
Thanks to its shape, caccavella can be filled with lots of different ingredients, like fish, meat sauce or ricotta cheese and is best cooked “al dente”. One of the most typical recipes of Campania is “Caccavella alla Sorrentina” with tomato sauce and mozzarella.
Recipe for Caccavella alla Sorrentina-Serves 4
250g Minced beef
1L Tomato passata
200g Mozzarella, 200g Ricotta, 40g Grated parmesan cheese
150mL White wine, preferably Falanghina, Coda Di Volpe, Greco Di Tufo or Fiano Di Avellino
1 Celery, 1 carot, 1/2 onion
Extra Virgin Olive oil
To prepare the caccavelle alla sorrentina, start preparing the minced meat ragout that will represent the main part of the caccavelle filling. With a mixer, prepare a mixture of celery, carrot and onion, which should act as a base for the sauce.
Heat a little olive oil and soften the chopped vegetables. Then add the minced meat and let it take colour, separating it and mixing it with a wooden spoon. When the meat has taken colour, add the white wine. Add the tomato sauce, salt and cook the meat sauce for about twenty minutes.
Now bring plenty of salted water to boil and cook the caccavelle (about 15 minutes, but check the packaging as cooking times vary), then drain gently with a skimmer.
Prepare 4 small terracotta pots and put a little ‘sauce on the base. Place a caccavella in each pot and fill it with the sauce for just under half of their capacity. Add the diced mozzarella and a little ricotta. Cover with more sauce, mozzarella and ricotta Finally sprinkle with grated Parmesan.
Bake the caccavelle in a preheated oven at 180 degrees centigrade for 30 minutes.
Your caccavelle alla sorrentina are ready to be served. Buon appetito!