- Difficulty: Average
- Prep time: 60 min
- Serving: 6 people
- Cost: Very low
- Note + 15 minutes to let them rest
Orecchiette are the pride and joy of Italian cuisine, a fresh pasta shape made using remilled durum wheat flour, renowned and appreciated the world over as the gastronomic symbol of Puglia.
Rigorously handmade, orecchiette are characterized by a typical round and concave shape, an unmistakable rough surface, with a thin middle and thicker edge. They are perfect served according to tradition, with turnip tops or in a simple tomato sauce, or with broccoli and sausage. In Puglia this particular type of fresh pasta goes by many names: 'recchie or recchietelle, because of their ear-like shape, 'chianchiarelle if small in size and 'pociacche if bigger. There is also a flat version of orecchiette, called strascinate, which are also stretched out on a pastry board using a knife, without being flipped over. What version has Chef Fabio Abbattista chosen for us?
How to prepare Orecchiette
To prepare orecchiette, start by placing the remilled durum wheat semolina on a pastry board 1; form a well 2 and add a pinch of salt to the flour 3.
Start pouring the water, which needs to be at room temperature, into the flour well 4; gradually stir the flour 5 so that it absorbs the water as you continue to add it 6.
Knead by hand 7 to obtain a homogeneous and elastic consistency. This will take around ten minutes. Roll the dough into a ball 8, cover with a cloth 9 and leave to rest at room temperature for around 15 minutes.
Once the resting time is over, cut a piece of dough using a pastry wheel; leave the remaining pieces covered by the cloth. Shape the piece into a strip that is around 0.4 inches thick (10-11). Cut the strip into pieces that are around 0.4 inches in size 12.
Use a smooth bladed knife to form shell shapes, by placing each piece under the knife one by one and dragging towards you on a pastry board lightly sprinkled with flour 13. Flip the shell over 14 to form your orecchiette. Repeat until all the dough is used up: you have made your orecchiette pugliesi 15!
You can dry orecchiette by covering (but not sealing) with a dry cloth; once dried, they can be stored for around a month.
Alternatively, we recommend placing them far apart on a tray and freezing; once hardened in the freezer, place them in freezer bags, which are handier for storage.
Cook orecchiette in boiling water salted to taste, for around 5 minutes. Serve according to Puglia tradition, with turnip tops; they are also delicious in a simple tomato sauce!