Orecchiette is definitely one of my favorite pasta shapes. The origin of this pasta is in Puglia, in southeastern Italy (The heel of the boot). The word 'orecchiette' means 'little ears' in Italian and, obviously, the name derives from their shape. This pasta doesn't require a pasta machine in order to open it up - only your hands and a cheap kitchen knife. The rough texture of the pasta holds the sauce fantastically and you can pair Orecchiette with any type of sauce. The traditional sauce for this pasta shape is based on broccoli rabe (Cime di Rapa in Italian), which might be bitter for some people. In order to remove the bitterness, you cook the broccoli rabe in the pasta water. I added some lemon juice and zest to the sauce, which also brings a beautiful balance to the dish. Make this pasta for your lovers. They will love it!
For the Orecchiette-
400 gr semolina flour
190 ml water
For the sauce-
A bunch of Cime di Rapa (Broccoli rabe)
2 garlic cloves
Juice from half a lemon
Zest from half a lemon
Yogurt stone / mild cheese
- Pour the flour on the working surface. Make a pit in the middle and add the water.
- Start mixing, each time collecting more flour from the sides of the pile.
- Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic.
- Cut a piece of the dough and roll it into a long "snake".
- Cut pieces from the "snake", a little bit smaller than what you would cut for gnocchi.
- Take one piece and a cheap kitchen knife. Hold the knife at a 45-degree angle to your work surface, then press and roll the piece of dough toward you. Unfurl the dough over your thumb in the opposite direction to form a concave shape.
- Separate the Broccoli rabe flowers and leaves from the stems. Chop the stems and the flowers and leaves cut roughly.
- Slice the garlic cloves.
- Boil water with salt.
- Add all the broccoli rabe (flowers, leaves, and stems) to the boiling water and cook them for 4 min.
- In a pan- fry garlic, chili, and anchovies in olive oil. Add some oil from the anchovies can if you want more fishy flavors (it's YUMMM).
- Add the Orecchiette to the boiling water. Once they start to float to the surface, cook them for an additional minute.
- Transfer the pasta and the broccoli rabe to the pan. Add the lemon juice.
- Cook it in the pan with the sauce for another min.
- Serve in a bowl, grate some lemon zest, and yogurt stone on top.