Orecchiette, plural of orecchiette, means “little ears” in Italian. It is the pasta of the Puglia region of southern Italy (located in the “boot heel”) where it is made with only flour and water. Eggs have never been included in this pasta because they were once considered a luxury to those living in southern Italy.Orecchiette, plural of orecchiette, means “little ears” in Italian. It is the pasta of the Puglia region of southern Italy (located in the “boot heel”) where it is made with only flour and water. Eggs have never been included in this pasta because they were once considered a luxury to those living in southern Italy.
Look for an artisan brand of pasta, like Montebello which is available at Wheatsfield. Montebello’s artisans use Old World techniques combining organic semolina grown on small family farms with mountain spring water and then dry their pastas in traditional drying rooms. This handcrafting contributes to the round, nutty flavor of their products and creates a porous texture which holds sauces well. Like all pastas, orecchiette’s concave shells can be topped with your favorite red sauce, tossed with pesto or stirred with rich, creamy ricotta as in this recipe from Theresa Munkvold, RD. Orecchiette is a hearty pasta which cradles finely chopped veggies or bits of sausage; a little will go a long way.
This dish is a simple one. Feel free to substitute ripe garden tomatoes for cherry tomatoes and then enjoy a classic Italian meal on a long, hot summer day.
• 12 oz cherry tomatoes or one red pepper, diced in medium size pieces
• 1 garlic clove
• 2 oz Parmesan cheese
• 3 Tbsp basil leaves
• 1 Tbsp olive oil
• 1 c ricotta or plain chevre
• 11 oz orecchiette pasta
Halve the tomatoes and squeeze out the juice and seeds and put tomatoes in bowl. If using red peppers, seed and chop into bite sized pieces. Chop or mince the garlic. Combine the garlic, tomatoes and olive oil. Season with salt. Set aside for 15 minutes to marinate. Wash the basil, chop. Cook the orecchiette in boiling salt water, al dente (as per package directions), drain.
Gently heat the tomato mixture in a pan, adding the drained orecchiette and basil, stirring gently to combine. Stir in ricotta. Serve with Parmesan.
Recipe featured in Classes at the Co-op by Theresa Munkvold, RD, from Diet & Nutrition Counseling. Sign up for Co-op Cooking & Health Classes online at Wheatsfield.coop.