Coffee Cavatelli with Lamb, Ricotta, Peas, and Pea Greens | CUESA

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Coffee Cavatelli with Lamb, Ricotta, Peas, and Pea Greens


Nicolai Lipscomb, Fifth Floor

This recipe was demonstrated for CUESA’s Market to Table program on April 7, 2012.

Serves 8 to 10


1 lamb shoulder
1½ cups coffee, ground and sifted
½ cup garam masala
2 quarts chicken stock (enough to cover the lamb)
4 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons coffee liqueur

2 cups 00 (Italian superfine) flour (250 grams)
1½ cups semolina flour (250 grams)
2 cups warm espresso (250 grams)
Pinch of salt

1 teaspoon minced rosemary
2 sticks butter
1 pint English peas, blanched and shocked
1 pint pea greens
1 pint sheep’s milk ricotta
Basil for garnish
1 ounce baking chocolate (sugar free)


1.    The lamb must marinate overnight, so begin a day ahead. Rub the lamb in sifted coffee and garam masala. Cook in a pan on medium to low heat. It should be hot enough to color the meat but not to burn the spices. Brown on all sides. Place in an oven dish.

2.    Add the stocks, soy sauce, and coffee liquor. Let marinate overnight.

3.    The next day, preheat the oven to 300˚F. Cook the lamb until tender; it should fall apart with just a little help.  Let cool in liquid, uncovered.

4.    Strain off the liquid into a pot, then heat the liquid to reduce it to about one-sixth of the original volume.

5.    To make the cavatelli, pour both flours and the salt into a mixing bowl fitted with the paddle attachment. Turn on the mixer to speed 1. Slowly pour the espresso in, being careful not to let the dough clump on the paddle. Once ¾ of the liquid has been added and the consistency is like gravel, slowly pour the rest of the espresso in. Let mix until the dough is one lump.

6.    Flour your hands and a board and form the dough into a ball. Flour the outside, getting rid of any excess flour. Wrap in plastic and let sit for 30 to 60 minutes at room temperature.

7.    After dough has rested, on a wood surface, roll out a length of dough the size of a straw and cut off a 1-inch portion.

8.    With two fingers, push toward the board and then toward yourself to shape the cavatelli. Practice makes perfect.

9.    Place the cavatelli on a sheet tray and dust with a 1:1 ratio of 00 flour and semolina. Let sit for 1 hour. Freeze if making a day or week ahead.

10.    To cook the pasta, boil a pot of salted water and add the pasta. When done, place a large strainer in the sink or over a smaller bowl, and pour the pasta into the strainer to drain

11.    In a pot, bring the sauce from lamb to a boil with the rosemary. Add the butter, whisking until all is melted. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and stir until the pasta is coated. At the last minute, add the peas and pea leaves, and a touch of water if necessary.

12.    To serve, top with ricotta and a sprig of basil, and use a microplane to finish with grated chocolate.


CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) is dedicated to growing thriving communities through the power and joy of local food. Learn More »