Originating from Apulia, a region of Southern Italy, Orecchiette’s is a small dome-shaped pasta named after it’s “small ear” appearance. Like many other kinds of pasta, orecchiette are made with just semolina flour and water. Eggs are rarely used for this shape. In traditional Southern Italian kitchens, the dough is rolled, then cut into cubes. Each cube is then pressed with a knife, dragging it on the board to making it curl. Finally, the shape is inverted over the thumb to form it’s a signature dome shape. Its concave side is perfect for holding tomato sauce with miniature meatballs!
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
- 1 cup semolina flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ⅓ – ½ cup boiling water
- Pour the semolina four onto a clean work surface. Using your hand make a well in the center of the flour. Sprinkle on the salt followed by the olive oil into the center. Pour in ⅓ cup of the boiling hot water then use a fork to bring in flour from the inside of the well and incorporate with the water. Once it starts to come together, knead with your hands until it comes together into a ball of dough. If it is too dry, add some more water until it is malleable and slightly soft, but not sticky to the touch.
- Cut the dough into 4 chunks and roll each into a long log, about ½ inch in diameter. Cut each long into 1/2 inch chunks. On a wooden cutting board roll the dough using a knife at a 45-degree angle across the board, gently, towards you.
- Unroll each piece of dough over your thumb in the opposite direction to form a concave shape. Transfer to a baking sheet lightly sprinkled with semolina flour.
- If cooking your pasta shortly after making, store on a floured baking sheet. If saving pasta for later use, place on a floured baking sheet and flip periodically to ensure even drying. After a few hours, if it is completely dry, store in an airtight container for up to a month.