How to Make Orecchiette

How to make orecchiette pasta shape homemade, a southern Italian pasta which traditionally is made fresh from scratch.

Containing just water and flour makes it a simple homemade pasta. It's hand molded into shapes called "little ears" known as coming from Apulia, a region on the SE coast of Italy, on the Adriatic Sea.

In south Italy, eggless fresh pasta is usually made from a blend of semolina flour and all-purpose flour. Semolina flour is the same used to make dried pasta. Most eggless fresh pastas are made with this blend of semolina and all-purpose flours.

Orecchiette Recipe

Ingredients: serves 6

  • 35 ounces (kg 1) all-purpose flour
  • about 3/4 cup (ml 177) water lukewarm
  • 1 tablespoon salt

Recommended Sauce: Tomato Pasta Sauce.

Preparation: 40 minutes

  1. Start to Combine the flour and salt on a work surface, making a mound with a well in the center.
  2. Add slowly water lukewarm, few at a time.
  3. Work it into the flour until absorbed.
  4. To help yourself work a first piece of dough and keep it aside.
  5. Then you can work your second piece.
  6. Bring the two pieces of dough together, knead them on your lightly floured work space until it forms one big smooth and elastic ball.
  7. This is a bit long process...
  8. You probably need to knead it for about 15 minutes.
  9. You can check if the dough is ready by making a cut with a Knife. You must see some little air bubbles forming in the dough.
  10. Break off a piece keeping the remaining dough covered so it does not dry out.
  11. Roll the broken piece into about 1/2-inch (cm 1,25) thick rope.
  12. On your cutting board cut the dough rope into about ½-inch (cm 1,25) lengths.
  13. Shape each piece by pressing the dough across the work surface just enough to form a shallow concave disk.
  14. Then you can obtain the "Avellino style" shape turning the concave disk inside out. With both index fingers carefully pull to get the slightly lengthened shape.
  15. Transfer the orecchiette as you shape them to a large plate lightly floured. Do not let the pieces of pasta touch each other or they may stick. Allow to dry for awhile before cooking.

The pasta is best used within a few hours or frozen. Since the dough dose not contain eggs it can be fully dried.

For your work surface use an untreated wood cutting board. Finished wood will cause the pasta dough to stick when kneading

How to Make Orecchiette

How to Cook

Bring about 7 qt (1½ gal, lt 6.6) of water to a boil in a large pot. Add the salt and pasta to the boiling water. Cook until al dente, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain and toss the pasta with the desired sauce.

Which Pasta Sauce?

Homemade pasta without eggs are best with meat, beans or seafood sauces, in general they match best with chunky sauces. I decided to go for a fresh Tomato Pasta Sauce, even if the tradition calls for orecchiette with broccoli rabe.