How to Make Orecchiette Pasta

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By Team Studio Kitchen

Orecchiette, meaning "little ears" in Italian, is a traditional pasta shape hailing from the southern region of Puglia. This distinctively shaped pasta, resembling small, concave disks, has been a staple in Italian cuisine since the Middle Ages. Its origins can be traced back to the province of Bari, where it has been lovingly handmade for centuries.

The unique shape of orecchiette is not merely aesthetic; it is designed to hold sauces exceptionally well, making it perfect for hearty dishes. Traditionally, orecchiette is paired with robust sauces such as Beef, Pancetta & Tomato Ragu, broccoli rabe, anchovies, and garlic, or rich tomato-based sauces with sausage or pork. The pasta’s rustic texture is achieved through the manual process of rolling and pressing, which also ensures each piece is slightly different and captures the artisanal essence of Italian cooking.

Handcrafting orecchiette is more than just making pasta; it is a celebration of cultural heritage, passed down through generations. The process connects us to the rhythm of Italian life, where food is crafted with love and shared with family and friends. Making orecchiette by hand allows you to experience a piece of Puglia's culinary tradition, bringing the flavours and history of this beautiful region into your own kitchen.

Time

1

hour

0

minutes

Degree of Difficulty

Easy

Save

0

Portions

4
servings

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Ingredients

Servings

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400g durum wheat semolina flour
200g warm water
 pinch salt
1

Prepare the dough... by heaping the semolina flour on a board or in a large bowl, then add the salt.

 

2

Create a well... in the middle and pour in the warm water.

 

 

3

Using your hands... combine and bring the dough together.

 

4

Knead the dough... for about 5 minutes until it becomes silky to the touch.

 

5

Wrap the dough... in a tea towel and leave until you a ready to shape the dough. It doesn't need to rest it can be used immediately.

 

6

To shape the dough... cut off about a fifth of the dough and roll it into a long rope. Keep the remaining dough covered while you work.

 

7

Cut the dough... into small pieces, roughly the size of a hazelnut, about 0.8 to 1.25 cm wide.

 

8

Take a piece of dough... and place it on a clean surface or a wooden board. Using a knife, press down on the piece of dough and drag it towards you. This action should create a curled shape.

 

 

9

Once the dough curls... turn it inside out over your thumb to create the characteristic ear shape. The rough surface on the outside helps the pasta hold onto sauces better.

 

10

Practice makes perfect. It might take a few tries to get the hang of shaping the orecchiette, but it’s a rewarding process.

If the dough is too sticky, dust it with a little more semolina flour.

Keep the dough you're not working with covered to prevent it from drying out.

 

 

 

11

To cook... bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the fresh orecchiette and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until they float to the surface and are al dente. Drain the pasta and serve with your favourite sauce.

 

1
0 hours 0 minutes

Prepare the dough... by heaping the semolina flour on a board or in a large bowl, then add the salt.

2
0 hours 0 minutes

Create a well... in the middle and pour in the warm water.

 

3
0 hours 0 minutes

Using your hands... combine and bring the dough together.

4
0 hours 0 minutes

Knead the dough... for about 5 minutes until it becomes silky to the touch.

5
0 hours 0 minutes

Wrap the dough... in a tea towel and leave until you a ready to shape the dough. It doesn't need to rest it can be used immediately.

6
0 hours 0 minutes

To shape the dough... cut off about a fifth of the dough and roll it into a long rope. Keep the remaining dough covered while you work.

7
0 hours 0 minutes

Cut the dough... into small pieces, roughly the size of a hazelnut, about 0.8 to 1.25 cm wide.

8
0 hours 0 minutes

Take a piece of dough... and place it on a clean surface or a wooden board. Using a knife, press down on the piece of dough and drag it towards you. This action should create a curled shape.

 

9
0 hours 0 minutes

Once the dough curls... turn it inside out over your thumb to create the characteristic ear shape. The rough surface on the outside helps the pasta hold onto sauces better.

10
0 hours 0 minutes

Practice makes perfect. It might take a few tries to get the hang of shaping the orecchiette, but it’s a rewarding process.

If the dough is too sticky, dust it with a little more semolina flour.

Keep the dough you're not working with covered to prevent it from drying out.

 

 

11
0 hours 0 minutes

To cook... bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the fresh orecchiette and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until they float to the surface and are al dente. Drain the pasta and serve with your favourite sauce.

Recipe Tags basics, classics, semolina