Water, durum wheat flour and salt...
Knead, detach, drag a piece with a finger on the cutting board. Et voilà the orecchiette!
An excellent type of pasta - known almost worldwide - a perfect match for tomato sauce thanks to its concave shape ready to welcome the sauce inside.
The origin of the Orecchiette as a type of pasta from Apulia is undisputed and shared with Basilicata.
This seems to be confirmed in the text by Giambattista del Tufo dating back to the sixteenth century where he talks about “dragged and hollowed macaroni from Bari”. Even before him, the Latin poet Varrone (116 and 27 BC) described a very similar type of pasta, “lixulae” small, round and with a concave core.
However, there are a few interpretations that dispute the Italian origin.
According to some eno-gastronomy scholars, in fact, the recipe spread throughout the Mediterranean from Provence in the medieval age. Those exporting it in Italy were allegedly the Angevins, a possibility that, however, does not seem to convince the people of Apulia, masters of the Orecchiette alle cime di rapa (with turnip greens) recipe, a vegetable that is typical of southern Italy and cultivated also in Australia and the US!
Orecchiette in the Kitchen
In addition to the traditional recipe of Orecchiette with turnip greens, the Apulia cuisine boasts Orecchiette with beef stew or meatball sauce. Meanwhile in Salento we can find a fantastic and tasty combination: tomato sauce and extra sharp sheep ricotta flavored with mint leaves.
Would you like to know how they prepare them in Trapani?
The tomato sauce is enriched by Sicilian pesto, a mix of minced garlic, basil, almonds and pine tree nuts. Simply delicious!
For this time of the year we have a perfect video-recipe for you: Orecchiette with eggplant and shrimps, onion, tomato sauce and parsley! Seeing is believing (and then let us know!)
Orecchiette and the stork
An ancient Apulia tradition bestows magical powers upon the orecchiette. Pregnant women would boil the water in a pot on the stove and would place only one orecchietta in it along with a zito, another type of Apulia durum-wheat pasta with a tubular and elongated shape.
And then they would wait to see what the predicted gender of the baby would be. If the orecchietta emerged first from the boiling water then the baby would be a girl, while if the zito surfaced first it would mean that a baby boy was on the way.
We Love Orecchiette