Orecchiette pasta, an ancient Italian dish
Orecchiette with turnip tops are a symbol of Apulian cuisine. You can taste if you decide to visit Puglia, the region that represents “the heel” of Italy. Infact, looking at the shape of the Italian state you can see that it is made like an old boot and Puglia is the southern region facing Greece and Albania. This region, called by the Romans Apulia, is a land of great and full flavors, with a rural tradition and still today is a great producer of oil, vegetables and cheese. Of course Apulia’s culinary heritage is completed by the fishing tradition that gives the best Mediterranean ingredients.
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What about the tradition?
The dish that we present today comes from the local tradition and is made of genuine ingredients: flour and water for orecchiette pasta, vegetables for the sauce. Like many ancient pasta dishes it was born from the typical ingredients of the area, with the aim of feeding people. We propose this simple recipe with a modern touch which, however, orecchietee pasta retains the character of the dish. Cooked in many variations, such as orecchiette with broccoli, they are an authentic pasta and are suitable to be cooked with many different recipes, even if what changes is the sauce, or the seasoning.
A look into the past.
Orecchiette are the most important kind of pasta from Apulia, they have been made at home for centuries and there are traces of them in Renaissance documents, the era in which Michelangelo Buonarroti and Bernini worked in Rome to build and paint some of the most beautiful Italian monuments. At that time many churches, cathedrals and convents were built in Apulia, this southern land, businesses flourished (favored by maritime activity) and began an intense period of growth of art that lasted until the eighteenth century. So probably also the artists that brought baroque art in this land tasted orecchiette. Usually they are seasoned with turnip tops, but also with the tomatoes, breadcrumbs, anchovies, in many combinations based on poor ingredients, creating an authentic mosaic of flavors and are combined in different recipes.
Directions to cook orecchiette with turnip tops
How to prepare Orecchiette pasta
The first step is to make pasta at home the pasta as you should do in Puglia: you have to knead flour of durum wheat semolina and soft wheat flour with a little water and salt, mix the two flours. On the worktable, mix the semolina flower with buckwheat. Add the water, a pinch of salt and some spoons of extra virgin olive oil. Knead it thoroughly until you have a smooth and soft mixture.
Now your pasta needs time … Let it rest for about 1 hour. Take some dough and form some rolls 1 cm thick, then cut them into pieces (2 cm each). With the tip of a knife crush them on table, then push and turn the centre of every single piece with your thumb (working with the thumb up), giving it the shape of a small concave ear. As you can understand the name orecchiette recalls the shape of a little ear. Then is time your orecchiette rest again, because this is not an industrial process. And they need to dry overnigh.
Prepare your turnip tops condiment
Wash the turnip and then boil them in hot water for 10 minutes, then pour orecchiette into the pot and cook them for about 8 minutes.
In the meanwhile, you have to heat some extra virgin olive oil in a saucepan. Add to your condiment anchovies, garlic and chilli pepper. Then cut some thin bread slices and toast them.
Drain the pasta with turnip tops and pour it into the saucepan stirring well for one or two minutes to combine pasta and condiment. Serve hot and decorated whit toasted bread slices.
Ingredients for this pasta recipe
For the dough:
- 350 g. Semolina flour
- 150 g. Buckwheat
- 250 ml lukewarm water
- 20 g. fine salt
- ½ glass of extra virgin olive oil
For the condiment:
- 1 Kg turnip tops
- 1 garlic clove
- 3 anchovy fillets
- 1 tsp chilli pepper
- extra virgin olive oil up to your taste
- 5/6 slices bread
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This dish was prepared in the Formont training center “La Mandria” by the students of the second year of the “Cooking Techniques” course, in Venaria Reale, Italy. They are supervised by chef Claudio Carmosino. Good habits & Quality foods thanks Formont and the chef for their kind cooperation.
Zutaten für dieses Pasta-Rezept – Orecchiette mit Rübenoberseiten
Für den Teig:
- 350 g. Grießmehl
- 150 g. Buchweizen
- 250 ml lauwarmes Wasser
- 20 g. feines Salz
- 1/2 glas Olivenöl extra vergine
Für das Würzen:
- 1 kg Rübenoberteile
- 1 Knoblauchzehe
- 3 Sardellenfilets
- 1 TL Paprikapfeffer
- Olivenöl extra vergine abschmecken
- 5/6 Scheiben Brot
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