Recipe: Traditional Apulian 'Orecchiette'

Making handmade Orecchiette pasta

 ROME – A few months have passed since I moved back to Italy from Finland. It has been a rough time. Moving from one country to another is not for the faint-hearted. I must say that I am still getting used to a few things I forgot about this country.

 While I was watching the news on TV, I heard about an idea that Italian people are introducing here nowadays, something that I had seen many times already in Finland, where it was invented: The Restaurant Day. Once a year everyone can set up a restaurant at their own house. I instantly thought that this idea could be fantastic using some traditional regional Italian recipes.

 Many of you probably remember those times cooking with your grandma, having fun, getting messy and angry at times because she was too good… I wanted to try on my own to do what I learnt from my Italian grandma Genny when I was a kid. She is not doing too well lately and I have been too far from her these last years, I wish she could read this. So this is for you grandma!

 Handmade Orecchiette pasta with broccoli from Apulia (where I half come from…)


 400 gr re-milled durum wheat semolina (or normal Durum)


Salt to taste

400 gr Broccoli

1 garlic clove

Fresh chili

olive oil


  On a wooden surface or a pastry board (I used my dining table), form a kind of volcano made of wheat and pour some water and a little salt on the middle.

 Start to knead until you got a smooth and soft dough. Let it rest for 15 minutes.

 Make circular thin snakes of 1 cm diameter. Cut them into small pieces of 1 cm each.

 With a round knife tip drag the pieces on the table until you get a shell-like shape, and with the tip of your thumb reverse it upside down to get the typical shape of orecchiette.

 Cover them with a cloth for an hour at least.

 Boil the water and salt it. Add the broccoli, previously washed and cut.

 After approx. 15 minutes, when the broccoli will be ready, throw them into a frying pan with a garlic clove and some fresh chili.

 Let the orecchiette cook in the same water you previously used for the broccoli for five minutes (if you let them rest previously for an hour, the more you rest the orecchiette, the more you will need to cook them).

 Toss the orecchiette together with broccoli in the frying pan for a minute and voilà, Buon Appetito!