Cavatelli with Mini Meatballs and Broccoli

Cavatelli with Mini Meatballs and Broccoli

Tender mini meatballs add a savory richness to vibrant broccoli and hints of lemon in this recipe. The Cavatelli pasta, with its unique shell-like shape, cradles the ingredients, ensuring that every forkful is a delicious one.



For the meatballs

  • 1 small yellow onion, grated with juice reserved

  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 pound mild Italian sausage meat
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, finely minced

For the sauce

  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 small crown of broccoli, cut into mini florets
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups white wine
  • 1-pound Sfoglini Cavatelli
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano, plus more to serve
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, finely minced, to serve


      Preheat the oven to 375° F. 

      Combine all ingredients for the meatballs in a bowl and mix well. Since the meatballs will be very small, make sure the ingredients are blended together well. Form into teaspoon sized meatballs, and place on a plate. 

      Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a very large skillet or saute pan over medium high heat. Add in all the meatballs and lightly brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the oven for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven. Stir in the broccoli, making sure it’s all coated in oil, and place back in the oven for another 5 minutes.

      Take the pan out of the oven and transfer the meatballs and broccoli to a bowl. Place the pan over medium heat and add in the remaining olive oil and butter. Turn the heat on to medium, and let the butter get foamy, then add in the garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes until soft and fragrant. 

      Pour in the wine and bring to a simmer. Deglaze the pan by scraping all the browned bits from the meatballs with a hard spatula or wooden spoon. Simmer the wine until slightly reduced and no longer smelling of alcohol, about 7-10 minutes.

      Bring a pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta to al dente according to the package directions. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water before straining. 

      Once the wine has reduced, add in the lemon juice and cook for another minute, then stir in the meatballs and broccoli and cook another 2 minutes to make sure they are warmed through. 

      Add in the pasta water and the pasta, and cook for another minute or so until the sauce is coating the pasta. Sprinkle in the Parmigiano Reggiano and stir into the sauce, then remove from the heat. 

      Finish with parsley and add more Parmigiano Reggiano to serve.

      We love seeing your pasta creations! Share your pasta pics with us on social by tagging @sfoglini and using #sfoglini

      Chef's Note: For an alcohol-free version, this dish can be made without the white wine. Simply omit it and use broth instead. For a spicier bite, use hot Italian sausage instead of mild.

      Pasta Swaps: This recipe would also work well with Zucca, Einkorn Macaroni, or Radiators.

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