Orecchiette pasta resemble little ears, which is where they get their name. This unique pasta shape can be found across Italy, but is traditionally a typical pasta of Puglia. Although there are many variations of ingredients used to make this pasta, traditionally it is made simply with a combination of fine semolina flour and water.
2 Parts Semolina ( I Used 1/2 Pound)
1 Part All-purpose Flour (I Used 1/4 Pound)
2 pinches of salt
Simply mix the two flours together and then begin to add warm water mixing until you obtain a stiff dough. Once you obtain a workable dough, knead on a lightly floured surface for 10 to 15 minutes until the dough is very smooth and stiff. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours or up to 8 hours. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and follow the steps below.
- Mix together two parts semolina flour with one part all-purpose flour and add just enough warm water to make a smooth dough. Knead for 10 to 15 minutes on a lightly floured surface until the dough is very smooth and stiff. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for a minimum of two hours.
- Take the dough from the refrigerator and break off a small plum sized ball. Using a well floured textured surface, roll the ball into a tube about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch thick.
- Use a sharp knife, cut the tube into 1/4 inch discs, keeping the dough well floured as you cut.
- Use your fingers to lightly push the discs back into a rounded shape if needed
- One method of shaping the orecchiette is to place the side of a knife at the top of one of the discs and to gently and quickly pull the knife across the disc of dough letting it wrap up over the knife creating an ear shape. Gently use your fingers to help open it up if needed. This works best if the dough is quite stiff, and both the knife and dough are well floured to prevent sticking.
- The method I prefer for shaping the “ears” is to place my floured thumb at the top of the disc and using a little pressure pull it across the disc creating the ear shape. This works best if you continually press your thumb into flour before you shape.
- Place the prepared orecchiette on a lightly floured tray until you are ready to cook them. To cook, simply drop them into a large pot of lightly salted water and cook until “al dente”. Cooking times will depend on how long you leave them to dry before cooking, but if you cook them within an hour or two of making them they will only take minutes to cook.