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Homemade Orecchiette

May 3, 2012
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Have you ever sat down at your computer to look up something wonderfully quick and mundane, like your parents’ new mailing address or the directions to your dentist…

And then you remember you wanted to check out the Anthropologie sale section…

And then you pin something and realize you haven’t checked Pinterest in at least an hour, so you should probably give it a glance…

And then suddenly three hours have passed, the sun has set, you haven’t had dinner, and you are five minutes into a twenty minute Youtube video of an older Italian woman making orecchiette


Well, that is a normal weeknight for me. I think I need to get out more.

Nonetheless, waking up from an internet-induced coma to the lovely Italian murmurings of a grandmother and the swift, delicate motions of pasta by hand was inspiring. Really.

So I decided to give it a try.

This pasta is so much better than any other homemade pasta I have tried.  Why?  Because I used semolina flour. I’m starting to realize the value of using quality ingredients. Semolina flour is what says to the world, “this pasta is serious business.” And it is.  You can find it at Whole Foods.  I found mine at Safeway.  It’s only a few bucks and can be used to make a lot of pasta.  So splurge.

There are THREE ingredients. (The secret fourth ingredient is time.)

You start by mixing your flours. See the semolina?  It’s the yellow-ish flour on top.

Then, in your mixing bowl, make a bowl of your flours and add the water.

When you turn on your mixer, it will naturally incorporate the water as it should, slowly adding flour to the water well. (Did I mention my roommate got a Kitchenaid? And that it’s the best ever?)

Once the dough has more or less come together in the mixer, pull it out. Then knead it for about ten minutes, until the flours are fully incorporated, and the dough is nice and smooth. See?

Then give it about ten minutes to chill out. Dough does NOT like to be rushed.

Next, you split up the dough into eight-or-so parts. This is intended to keep the dough from drying out while you prepare it, but it is also a great way to make this a recipe for just one or two.  I only used one of the dough balls and it made enough orecchiette for a meal for me. Then I used the rest of the dough for different pasta dished throughout the week.

Then you take one of the balls of dough, and you roll it out into a log or a worm or [insert your helpful mental image here].  This part is great; it’s like playing with play dough. Except more productive.

I wasn’t getting enough resistance to roll my dough well on my (plastic) countertop, so I rolled the dough on a towel covered with flour.  You will roll and pull and roll and pull. It takes a few minutes.  At the end you want the dough to be between a half and three-quarters of an inch in diameter.

Now, I will direct you back to the video. Cutting the orecchiette takes some practice, but one you get it, it’s simple.  The basic idea is this:

1. You slice about a quarter inch of dough.

2. You pull across the dough with your knife like you are flattening/pulling it out. (This is where you create the awesome texture you see in orecchiette.) The dough will curve around your knife as you do this.

3. You remove the dough from your knife and “pop” it so that the textured side is up.  (I thought of these a lot while I was doing this. The orecchiette do not behave in that manner.)

Then repeat.

Yes, this is time consuming. But I found it really relaxing. It was a great way to feel like the hour watching Real Housewives of Atlanta was not wasted. (Which is was. Except for the delicious dinner it resulted in.)

Then you boil them up just like normal pasta. It take about 7 minutes.

Add some veggies or sauce.  (You’ll see the veggies I added in a post later this week.)

And suddenly:

Amazing! Your Italian grandmother will be so proud.

The pasta recipe came from the Food Network; you can find it here.




One Comment leave one →
  1. EAK permalink
    May 3, 2012 2:48 pm

    Ok I’m coming over for dinner more often.

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