Orecchiette showing their typical shape and central depression.

Orecchiette (singular: orecchietta) is a kind of home-made pasta typical of Puglia or Apulia, a region of Southern Italy. Its name comes from its shape, which reminds one of a small ear. In Italian orecchio means ear, and the suffix 'etto' means 'small'. In the vernacular of Taranto it is called recchietedd, or chiancaredd. A slightly flatter version is called 'cencioni', while in the vernacular of Bari, strascinate are more similar to cavatelli. In China a similar type of pasta is called maoerdo (cat's ears).

An 'orecchietta' is a disc of about 2 cm (¾ inch) and looks like a small dome with its center thinner than its edge and with a rough surface. Like other kinds of home-made pasta, orecchiette are made with durum wheat, water and salt, but unlike pasta all'uovo, eggs are rarely used in the preparation of orecchiette.

The typical regional recipe combines orecchiette with vegetables, usually cime di rapa (rapini, broccoli raab). An Italian cookbook Il cucchiaio d'argento available in an English translation (The Silver Spoon, 2005, Phaidon) suggests that orecchiette are ideal for vegetable sauces.

In Southern Italy, women sit outdoors in the spring and make the dough into small cylinders, which they cut into little cubes. Then they press down each cube with their right thumb, dragging it on the board, thus making it curl slightly [at this stage you have a 'strascinata']. Then they insert their thumb on the reverse side, making it pop out with a little convex bulge.


Orecchiette probably come from the Provence region in France where a similar type of pasta has been made since Medieval times. This kind of pasta is disc-shaped with a hollowed center, usually obtained by pressing the thumb on the disc of dough; this particular shape facilitates the drying process so that the pasta could be saved for a famine. Boats leaving for long trips used to carry large quantities of this pasta. It is then claimed that the Anjous, the French dynasty that dominated Apulia in 1200, brought orecchiette into Italy with its current name.[citation needed]

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Orecchiette — mit Tomatensoße Orecchiette (italienisch: Öhrchen) sind eine Pasta Art, die aus Apulien in Italien stammt. Man nennt sie daher auch Orecchiette pugliesi. Sie sind das Symbol der Stadt Bari, werden jedoch in allen Teilen Apuliens verzehrt und sind …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Orecchiette — avant cuisson. Après cuisson …   Wikipédia en Français

  • orecchiette — /o rə kyet i/ noun Pasta in the form of small concave discs ORIGIN: Ital, little ears …   Useful english dictionary

  • Orecchiette — Plato de Orecchiette donde se puede apreciar su forma típica, con el centro adelgazado. Las orecchiette (en italiano ‘orejitas’) son un tipo de pasta originarias de Apulia cuya forma recuerda a la de una oreja. En la región de Taranto siguen… …   Wikipedia Español

  • orecchiette — noun Etymology: Italian, plural of orecchietta, diminutive of orecchia ear, from Latin auricula more at auricle Date: 1973 small oval pasta …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • orecchiette — noun a type of pasta, made with the thumb from a small disk, typically from Puglia …   Wiktionary

  • orecchiette — n. pasta in the shape of ears …   English contemporary dictionary

  • orecchiette — [ˌɒrəkɪ ɛtɪ] plural noun small pieces of ear shaped pasta. Origin Ital., lit. little ears …   English new terms dictionary

  • orecchiette — /ɒrəkiˈɛtə/ (say oruhkee etuh) noun a type of pasta shaped like small ears. {Italian, plural of orecchietta auricle, little ear} …   Australian English dictionary

  • rjcchtèdd — orecchiette (pasta fatta a mano) …   Dizionario Materano

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.