Orecchiette Pugliesi

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This is a typical dish of the Apulia region of southern Italy. They mean “little ears” for their irregularly shaped rounds. This particular shape helps to held better the sauce. Each kind of pasta suits better with some sauces than others. Orecchiette wants broccoli, fragrant garlic, chilli pepper and extra virgin olive oil.

Ingredients:

– 250 grams semolina flour (plus more for baking sheet)

-150 ml tepid water

– a pinch of salt

Directions:

1. Place the dry flour on a clean counter top and form a hole in the centre (like a volcano). Add water a little at a time and start to knead, adding more water a little at a time until the mixture is soft and very smooth, giving it a round shape. If it’s too sticky add more flour. If it’s too dry, add a little more water.

2. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and leave for 10-15 minutes, until the dough becomes elastic enough to work with.

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3. Take a small piece of the dough at a time and form it into a snake like shape, or tube (though not too thin).

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4. Divide the tube into chunks about 1 cm long, using the rounded part of the knife, dragging each piece of dough on a work surface so that the pasta is curved, assuming the shape of a shell. Then, using your thumbs, work the shape open to get the shape of an ear.

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5.  Dust the finished orecchiette with some flour to keep the disks from sticking together.

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6. When ready to cook, bring a large pot to a boil. Add plenty of salt, and cook until the Orecchiette rise to the top (it’s very quick).

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Greta Scacchi

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