orecchiette pugliesi

Homemade Orecchiette Pugliesi

Discover the art of crafting Orecchiette Pugliesi, traditional Italian pasta shaped like “little ears.” Learn the process, tips, and enjoy a taste of Italy!

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Have you ever wondered about the artistry behind traditional Italian pasta-making? Let’s delve into the fascinating world of crafting Orecchiette Pugliesi, a beloved pasta from the Puglia region, steeped in history and bursting with flavor.

Orecchiette, literally meaning “little ears” in Italian, is a unique pasta shape that resembles small, concave discs. Traditionally, this pasta is handmade by expert artisans, who skillfully shape each piece with a thumb or a knife, creating a signature ear-like form.

how to make orecchiette pin

A recipe with mysterious origins

While its exact origins for Orecchiette Pugliesi are shrouded in mystery, there are several theories about how this unique pasta came to be.

The most remote theory traces the origins of orecchiette back to ancient Rome, where Varro spoke of “lixulae“, a type of round-shaped pasta with a concave center, made with flour, water and cheese.

Another theory suggests that the Counts of Anjou of Provence loved an original medieval French recipe, which consisted of a fresh pasta called crosets, prepared with durum wheat flour and water and with a similar shape of discs hollowed in the center but thicker, larger and less finished.

The most widely accepted theory is that Orecchiette originated in Puglia during the 12th and 13th centuries, when the region was under Norman-Swabian rule. During this period, the Jewish community in Bari is believed to have inspired the creation of orecchiette from traditional sweets called “Ears of Aman”, which were small pockets of fried shortcrust pastry shaped like ears.

According to local tradition, the shape of orecchiette may have been inspired by the roofs of the Trulli, traditional small cone-shaped huts that appeared in the 14th century in Alberobello, Puglia.

alberobello trulli orecchiette pugliesi

One thing’s for sure: Orecchiette has been a Pugliese staple for centuries, evolving into the beloved pasta we cherish today.

Ready to bring a taste of Puglia to your kitchen?

Here’s how to make Orecchiette Pugliesi

Craft authentic Orecchiette Pugliesi with just 3 simple ingredients: durum wheat semolina flour, water, and salt.

Once the dough is kneaded to the perfect consistency, comes the part of manual skills and a little patience.

In fact, the shaping technique for Orecchiette Pugliesi is all about gentle pressure and finesse. After rolling out the dough, you’ll cut small discs. Take one disc and use your thumb to press a dimple in the center. Meanwhile push the dough slightly upwards and outwards to form a little cup-like shape.

Alternatively, you can use a knife by dragging it diagonally across the dough disc towards you, creating a small ridge that forms the “ear” shape.

Practice makes perfect, so don’t be discouraged if your first few aren’t perfect!

Tips for Perfect Orecchiette

  • Ensure your dough is firm but pliable for easy shaping.
  • Use a wooden board or a gnocchi board for traditional texture.
  • For better texture, let the shaped pasta dry slightly before cooking.

Orecchiette Pugliesi

orecchiette pugliesi

Discover the art of crafting Orecchiette Pugliesi, traditional Italian pasta shaped like "little ears." Learn the process, tips, and enjoy a taste of Italy!

Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Additional Time 1 day
Total Time 1 day 38 minutes


  • 400 gr. of durum wheat semolina
  • 100 ml. of lukewarm water
  • 8 gr. salt


  1. Pour the semolina flour onto a clean pastry board or a clean surface. Add a pinch of salt.
  1. Gradually add lukewarm water to the flour mixture and knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic.
  2. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  3. Take a piece of the rested dough and knead it on a floured surface until it forms a cylinder about 1 centimeter thick.
  4. Cut the cylinder into pieces about 1 centimeter wide.
  5. Using the tip of a knife, work each piece of dough to create a shell-like shape.
  6. Turn the dough with your thumb, using the knife to help shape it.
  7. Place the shaped orecchiette on a cloth or a pastry board, making sure they don't touch each other.
  8. Let the orecchiette rest for a whole night before cooking.


  • Ensure the dough is well-kneaded for a smooth texture.
  • Use a floured surface to prevent sticking while shaping the orecchiette.
  • Be gentle when turning the dough with your thumb to maintain the shape.
  • Allow ample resting time for the dough before and after shaping for best results.

Cooking Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Add the orecchiette and cook until they float to the surface, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Drain the pasta and toss it with your desired sauce.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 479Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 779mgCarbohydrates: 98gFiber: 14gSugar: 0gProtein: 21g

Nutrition Data is automatically calculated and may be not accurate.

More than just a Pasta

Cook your Orecchiette to al dente perfection, toss it with an authentic Italian sauce, or sprinkle with original Caciocavallo Pugliese cheese.

Whatever your choice, you’ll savor the authentic flavors of Italy in every bite.

Unleash your inner Italian chef and pair your homemade Orecchiette Pugliesi with these delectable sauces

Broccoli Cream Sauce

Cime di Rapa e Bottarga

Ragù alla Bolognese

Basil Pesto alla Genovese

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