How to Make Cavatini

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A variety of pasta types gives Cavatini a pleasing appearance.
A variety of pasta types gives Cavatini a pleasing appearance. (Image: pasta image by www.conlafotografia.com from Fotolia.com)

Cavatini is a traditional Italian dish that is made using three types of pasta, three types of cheese and three types of meat as well as a tomato-based pasta sauce. This dish is similar to lasagna and makes an excellent main course for any occasion. Cavatini can be made ahead and frozen for future dinners or events, or made fresh and enjoyed with garlic bread, salad or any other side dishes you enjoy. This dish is great for altering slightly as well, such as adding vegetables or changing the types of meat and pasta.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 12-oz box of elbow macaroni
  • 1 12-oz box of penne pasta
  • 1 12-oz box of rigatoni
  • 8- to 12-oz. container of mascarpone cheese (you may substitute ricotta)
  • 16-oz. package of mozzarella cheese
  • 1 small container of Parmesan cheese
  • 12-oz.roll Italian sausage
  • 1/8 pound Genoa salami
  • 12-oz. package of pepperoni
  • 16-oz. jar of spaghetti sauce
  • 13-by-9-by-4-inch baking pan
  • Large, shallow pan
  • Colander
  • Large spoon
  • Small spatula

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Cook a 12-oz.roll of Italian sausage over medium heat in a large shallow pan. Break the meat up into small bites and cook until golden brown throughout. Drain the sausage and put aside for later use.

Italian sausage adds some bite to this dish.
Italian sausage adds some bite to this dish. (Image: ground beef in a bowl isolated image by Sean MacLeay from Fotolia.com)

Boil a large pot of water over medium/high heat on the stove. Add a pinch of salt to the water. Pour in 1 12-oz box of elbow macaroni, 1 12-oz box of penne pasta and 1 12-oz box of rigatoni; boil until the noodles are soft but not soggy. Drain the pasta in a colander and set aside for later use.

Pour a 16-oz. jar of spaghetti sauce into the pan containing the Italian sausage. Mix well and spoon approximately one-third of the sauce onto the bottom of a 13-by-9-by-4-inch baking pan. Using the back of a large spoon, spread the sauce out evenly.

Pour one-third of the pasta on the marinara sauce and spread evenly. Using one piece at a time, place pepperoni over the pasta until the pasta is completely covered. Do the same with Genoa salami. Using a small spatula, spread Mascarpone cheese over the salami, then top with Parmesan and mozzarella cheese. Cover with half of the remaining sauce.

Genoa salami adds a distinctive flavor to Cavatini.
Genoa salami adds a distinctive flavor to Cavatini. (Image: salami image by JK from Fotolia.com)

Repeat the layering one more time. After you pour the remaining sauce on top of the last layer, cover with mozzarella cheese and sprinkle with Parmesan.

Place the Cavatini on the middle rack of your oven and bake at 325 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cheese on top is thoroughly melted and golden at the edges. Remove from oven and enjoy.

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