Saffron Cavatelli, Braised Lamb, Garlic Breadcrumbs, and Chile Threads

Adapted by
April 2017
Yield: 10 servings
“You can form cavatelli with the side of your thumb, a butter knife, or preferably a cavatelli maker—my favorite for home use is from Fante’s out of Philadelphia.” – Cindhura Reddy on Cousin Elisa’s Cavatelli Maker |


Braised Lamb
¼ cup kosher salt
⅛ cup brown sugar
3 pounds bone-in lamb shoulder
Neutral oil
3 quarts chicken stock
1 red onion
½ cup garlic cloves
390 grams hot water
1 gram saffron
20 grams olive oil
640 grams semolina flour
380 grams all-purpose flour
5 grams kosher salt
Garlic Breadcrumbs
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
⅛ cup olive oil
½ cup breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped oregano
To Assemble and Serve
1 tablespoon butter
Chile flakes
Lemon juice
Chile threads


For the Braised Lamb

In a bowl, combine salt and sugar. Place lamb in a nonreactive container and liberally season with mixture. Transfer to refrigerator and cure overnight. Heat oven to 500℉. In a large roasting pan, heat oil on high flame. Sear lamb until golden brown on all sides. Cover lamb with stock, scraping up the fond, and bring to a simmer. Add onion and garlic to the pan. Cover with 2 layers of foil and cook 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 300℉ and cook 6 hours, until lamb is spoon tender. Remove from oven and cool lamb in braising liquid. When cool, remove lamb from liquid and shred into large pieces. Discard bones. Transfer braising liquid to a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer liquid to a large saucepot set over medium flame and reduce by half. Add shredded lamb.

For the Cavatelli

To a bowl, combine saffron and hot water and steep 15 minutes. Add oil. In a separate bowl, combine remaining ingredients and form a well in the center. Pour liquid ingredients into the dry mixture and mix until just combined. Knead 10 minutes or until dough is smooth. Divide dough and, on a lightly floured surface, form pasta into long ropes. Cut ropes into ½-inch pieces. Place a piece of dough on the ridged side of a cavatelli paddle. Press the dough with two fingers as you roll the dough downward. Repeat with remaining dough. 

For the Garlic Breadcrumbs

On medium flame, heat oil in a saucepan, and fry garlic until crispy. Remove garlic from pan. Add breadcrumbs to the same pan and toast. Transfer breadcrumbs to a bowl and cool. When cool, combine with garlic and herbs. Season with salt. 

To Assemble and Serve

In a sauté pan over medium heat, warm 4 ounces Braised Lamb. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add 5 ounces Cavatelli and cook until al dente. Drain pasta, add to pan with lamb and toss to coat. Season with chile flakes, lemon, and salt. Place pasta in a shallow bowl. Sprinkle Garlic Breadcrumbs in a halo on top and finish with chile threads.