They are a traditional dish of the Apulian cuisine, more precisely from the area around Bari, they are also the typical pasta format of Puglia.
If you have participated in one of the Opera in The Kitchen events you will surely have heard about it in Lucrezia’s childhood stories, which intertwine with the kitchen of her grandmother and mother.
NAME AND PREPARATION
Orecchiette, that is “small ears”, take their name from the shape of the ear. As Lucrezia tells us, who saw how they are prepared, the difficulty of this dish is in the form, it is necessary to have a lot of manual skills.
The ingredients are only 2: durum wheat flour and water and once mixed, the dough must be cut into pieces as big as beans. On a work surface, they are then dragged with the tip of a finger or a knife to form a small shell with a very thin edge, which is then turned upside down.
The roughness of the central cavity absorbs the sauce perfectly. The perfect combination is with turnip tops but also with cauliflower, broccoli and tomato sauce and cheese.
This is one of the oldest Italian pastas. Orecchiette could have been born in Provence. The existence of a similar type of pasta in the south of France has been documented since the Middle Ages.
Some historians believe that it was brought to Italy by the Angevins, a noble family of frank origins that governed Puglia and Basilicata in the 13th.
Other historians maintain that the orecchiette, which show a Middle Eastern influence, probably originated in the territory of Sannicandro di Bari, in Puglia, during the Norman-Swabian rule, between the XII and XIII centuries, and that derive from a Jewish recipe traditional, brought to the region by a thriving Jewish community.