The pasta that is a symbol of Apulian, as well as Lucanian, gastronomy, is prepared with a very simple dough made from durum wheat flour (semolina), tepid water and salt, and derives its name precisely from the shape that resembles small ears.
The size of the pasta, which is strictly handmade, is as large as 3/4 of an inch, although there are different sizes depending on the seasoning chosen.
Usually, the slightly larger ones are cooked with vegetables, while the slightly smaller ones with tomato sauce or meat sauce.
Orecchiette spread in Apulia between the 12th and 13th centuries, especially in Bari where they are still called in dialect the “strasc’nat,” literally “strascinati,” from the custom of “strascinare” the pasta with one’s finger on a table to obtain a classic round and concave shape, although the origin still remains shrouded in mystery due to conflicting sources and accounts about their invention and arrival in Italy.
The most famous, are Bari‘s orecchiette alle cime di rapa (orecchiette pasta with turnip tops), since in the well-known city, it is common to see in the alleys of the historic center housewives intent on preparing the pasta not only for their family but also for tourists.
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