How to make Orecchiette

by katerina on August 15, 2006

I have never actually had orecchiette but every picture I have ever seen of it made it look really appealing. Attempting to make a dish where the flavours and the textures are unknown to you is like trying to play a song from a musical genre you have never heard – it might be sound good , but what if it is supposed to be great?

So, I can’t tell you if this is authentic or if it will taste like that little trattoria in your neighborhood but it certainly is a fun adventure in cooking. It will take you an hour or two to make this full batch and is enough for 4 generous servings or 6 small servings. The original recipe comes from the usual Marcella Hazan bible that has recently become my comfort book, poor Pride and Prejudice is getting left behind. For a good sauce check out this recipe.

Work Surface: Untreated wood or marble is ideal. Finished wood will cause the dough to stick when kneading.
Knife: When cutting the disks off the end of the coil you will need a very sharp thin knife otherwise the disks will turn into squished ovals.


1 cup Semolina
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup water, luke warm (up to 1C)

1. Combine flours and salt on a work surface, making a mound with a well in the center. Add water, a few tablespoons at a time, working it into the flour until absorbed. Stop before it becomes to stiff and dry.
*At this point it should be softer then egg pasta*

2. Knead the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic – this is a long process you probably want to knead it for about 20 minutes so get comfortable.
3. Break off a piece about the size of a lemon and cover the rest of the dough. Back on your work surface roll the dough into a sausage shape which is about 3/4″ thick. Slice it into disks 1/16″ thick.

4. With each disk, place it in the center of your left palm, using the thumb of your right hand apply circular pressure in the middle of the disk. This should give you something that looks like an empty half sphere with a skin pattern on the bottom. The edges should be thicker then the middle.
5. Place finished orecchiette on a cookie sheet lightly floured with semolina. Allow to dry for awhile before cooking.

Drying: This pasta can be dried and stored for a long time as it does not contain egg. In order to store it will need to be completely air dried.

Cooking: Cook in *very* will salted water until tender ~4-6 minutes.[/print_this]

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