This easy to make Southern Italian pasta comes from Molise and Puglia but is popular throughout Southern Italy. It's perfect with both meat based and vegetable based sauces.
Pour the flour into a bowl. Add the salt and mix. Make a well in the middle and pour the water in the well. Slowly start mixing the water with the surrounding flour. Gradually incorporate all the flour and water and then turn the dough out onto a surface for kneading.
Start kneading the dough. If it is too dry add more water, only a bit at a time. If it is too sticky add a little more flour. It should be similar to play dough consistency.
Continue kneading for 5-10 minutes until it is smooth and is not sticky at all. Let it rest covered or wrapped in plastic wrap for 10 minutes.
Sprinkle 2 rimmed baking sheets with semola flour. Divide dough into 8 pieces; keep covered with plastic wrap. Roll one piece at a time into a long rope, about 8mm (1/3 in) in diameter, then cut rope into 2 cms (3/4-in) long pieces.
Using the tips of your index and middle fingers, firmly press each piece and pull dough toward you so it lengthens slightly and forms a curl in the middle.
Transfer pieces to baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough. I used a gnocchi board so instead of forming the pieces on a flat surface I rolled them down the gnocchi board to create ridges at the same time.
Cavatelli can be refrigerated, covered, up to 4 hours. Or freeze the pasta pieces on a sheet or a tray. Once frozen, transfer to a resealable bag. The cavatelli keep for up to 3 months. There's no need to defrost before cooking.