We love having Orecchiette for dinner in our house, and we especially love it when it's homemade Orecchiette.
What can I say? Homemade Orecchiette really rocks! It's such a beautiful pasta and another one that's super easy to make using only semolina flour and water. Why eat store bought pasta when you can have homemade Orecchiette with a little bit of effort.
Looking for a great Orecchiette recipe? Try my Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage...so good!
What is Orecchiette pasta?
Orecchiette, or "little ears" as it's known in Italian are little concave pasta made from semolina flour and water. They originated in Puglia, a southern region in Italy, and because of their "dipped" shape on one side and their rigged texture on the other, they're typically served with chunkier sauces or vegetables, like broccoli rabe.
As you'll soon learn, it's made by scraping the dough with a serrated knife and then "popping" your thumb up through to make an indentation. If you've ever made Cavatelli before, it's very similar to make.
Check out my Homemade Cavatelli recipe here and you'll see the similarities between making the two pastas.
I love making Orecchiette partly because of how easy it is to make the dough. Unlike other pastas, where you would traditionally make the dough with eggs, Orecchiette is made with just semolina flour and water. What's not to love about a recipe that only calls for two ingredients?
My Semolina Pasta Dough Recipe post will teach you how to make the dough for homemade Orecchiette. The semolina flour can be tough to track down, so if you need some you can grab it for a good price here through Amazon.
How do you make homemade Orecchiette from scratch?
So, how do you make homemade Orecchiette? I love the simplicity and the beauty that goes into making this fresh pasta.
Once you make the dough, cut off a small piece.
Now, using your hands, roll the dough out until it forms a long, thin rope. You don't want your Orecchiette too big, so you want the rope to be pretty thin...about as thick as your finger.
Then, with a knife or a dough chopper, cut the rope into small pieces about ½ inch wide "pillows".
How to shape the homemade Orecchiette
Once we have the pillows cut, it's time to start making the pasta. You'll need a serrated knife for this as you want the knife to drag across the dough and make a rough texture on one side.
First, take a "pillow" and apply some pressure with the knife. Now, start to roll it, keeping the pressure on the dough.
This is where Orecchiette becomes Orecchiette and not a form of Cavatelli. Whereas with Cavatelli we would continue rolling the dough until the pasta rolls over, with Orecchiette we want to stop just before it does and try and keep it on your knife.
Then, with your hands, remove the dough from the knife.
Finally, flip the Orecchiette over. Then, push one of your thumbs up and into the middle of the non-serrated part of the dough forming a small indentation. The serrated portion should be popping up.
So there it is...homemade Orecchiette that's fun for the whole family. Simplicity at its finest!
Interested in making an egg pasta dough recipe? Try my Homemade Farfalle (Homemade Bow Tie Pasta) recipe.
Tools I used in this recipe:
- Molino Grassi Organic Semolina Flour
- OXO Stainless Steel Chopper/Scrapper
- Cooling/Drying Rack
- Pyrex Measuring Cups
Homemade Orecchiette with Semolina
- Serrated knife
- Cut off a small piece of dough (about ⅕ of the whole dough) and roll it out until it forms a long, thin rope (about as thick as your finger).
- Cut the rope into small pieces, about ½ inch wide.
- Take your serrated knife and apply some pressure one of the small pieces of dough. Now, start to roll it, keeping the pressure on the dough.
- Continue rolling the dough, but stop just before the dough rolls over and try and keep it on your knife.
- Remove the dough from the knife using your hands.
- Finally, flip the Orecchiette over. Then, push one of your thumbs up and into the middle of the non-serrated part of the dough forming a small indentation. The serrated portion should be popping up.