Source: Food and Wine Quick from Scratch

Cavatelli with Sardinian Meat Sauce
This dish is delicious and tastes equally as well with rigatoni.
Serves: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes


3 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 pound hot Italian sausage, casings removed
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups canned crushed tomatoes in thick puree, (one 28 ounce can)
3 tablespoons fresh mint, (optional)
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup water
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 pinches powdered saffron, (optional)
1 pound frozen cavatelli
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
3 tablespoons Romano cheese, grated, or Pecorino-Romano, plus more for serving

In a large deep frying pan or Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over moderate heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up the meat with a fork, until it is no longer pink, about 5 minutes.

Reduce the heat to moderately low and add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the pan. Stir in the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, mint, parsley, water, salt, and 1 pinch of the saffron. Simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the cavatelli with the remaining pinch saffron until just done, 10 to 15 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Drain the cavatelli and toss with the meat sauce, the basil, the reserved pasta water, and the cheese. Serve with additional Pecorino Romano.

Wine Recommendation: Red wines from Sardinia are almost impossible to find in the U.S., but a sturdy Ciro, made across the water in Calabria from the gaglioppo grapes, will be a fine substitute.