It's pasta time again! Once again, a type of pasta from the south of Italy, in the Puglia (Apulia) region. The name "orecchiette" means literally "small ears", and it is an obvious reference to its shape.
The origins of this kind of pasta are uncertain. For someone, it might derive from the Medieval Provence, where a disk-shaped pasta was used to be dried and eaten during the long journeys in the open sea. With the invasion of the south of Italy of the Angevins, the Italians might have developed the modern orecchiette. Another thesis traces the origins of the orecchiette back to the town of Sannicandro di Bari during the Norman-Swabian domination. Here, there was a Jewish community exporting and mixing their cultural food with the local one. In fact, in the Jewish tradition there are Haman ears, sweets that may recall the current orecchiette.
What I like is the creeks that arise while shaping and stretching the though into the orecchietta. With their boundaries a bit thicker to have some consistency when eaten, and the creeks to hold more sauces. For me, and for a part of the Apulia region, there are not orecchiette without cima di rapa (Brassica rapa sylvestris for the curious ones - also called friarielli in the Campania region). Unfortunately, I tried twice to get them where I live, but both times the package arrived damaged :(. They are still good with broccoli 🤷♂️