What is orecchiette?
Orecchiette is a hand-shaped semolina pasta, originating from Puglia in the south of Italy. The name translates to ‘ear’, describing the small, curved shape of the pasta.
How to make orecchiette
If you want to try making orecchiette by hand, make your semolina pasta dough (for 4 people, mix 400g fine semolina flour with 200ml water in a bowl, kneading for 10 minutes until smooth), then follow the instructions below:
- Sprinkle your work surface with semolina flour and roll the pasta dough into a long sausage shape. Cut into 1cm pieces.
- Place your thumb in the centre of the dough to flatten it slightly, but still leave the edges a little higher.
- To create the ear, pick up the pasta disc and place it over your thumb.
- Use the fingers on your opposite hand to gently pull the sides down over your thumb.
- Rotate hands, placing the pasta disc on the opposite thumb and pull down the opposite sides so you have a neat ear shape.
Orecchiette is ideal if you want your sauce to cling to the pasta (the orecchiette act like little wells for the sauce to sit in).
What is orecchiette cime di rapa?
This classic Puglian dish (also known as orecchiette con cime di rapa) celebrates cime di rapa – broccoli rabe or broccoli friarielli. We’ve used stems that are preserved in oil with a little garlic and hot pepper for gentle heat.
Here, we make a simple glossy sauce with garlic, olive oil and cooking water, then stir through the cooked pasta and chopped broccoli. Adding Aleppo pepper gives a fruity, aromatic flavour, while a dusting of grated pecorino adds a sharp, salty kick.
This simple pasta dish is a wonderful way of making the most out of jarred vegetables.
Ingredients for orecchiette with friarielli broccoli, garlic and chilli Serves: 3
Ingredients to garnish
- Black pepper
- Aleppo pepper
- Grated pecorino
Method for orecchiette with friarielli broccoli, garlic and chilli
- Cook the pasta according to packet instructions, seasoning the water with 1tbsp kosher salt.
- Meanwhile, add the garlic and olive oil to a cold pan and cook over a medium heat until sizzling but not golden.
- One minute before the pasta cooking time is up, drain the pasta, reserving around 250ml of cooking water (or ladle 250ml water from the pan into a jug before draining). Tip the drained pasta and half of the cooking water, plus ½ tsp kosher salt into the pan with the garlic. Stir gently over a medium heat until the pasta is just cooked and coated in a glossy sauce - add additional cooking water as needed. Stir in the friarielli broccoli.
- Serve with plenty of black pepper, chilli and grated pecorino cheese.
After a stage as a chef at a London Michelin-starred restaurant Nicola became obsessed with seeking the best flavours from around the world. She started Sous Chef in 2012, and is always sharing her knowledge of ingredients and writing recipes to showcase those products. Learning from the products, Sous Chef's suppliers and her travels, Nicola has written the majority of the recipes on the Sous Chef website, all of which are big on flavour.