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Orecchiette showing their typical shape and central depression
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Orecchiette (singular, orecchietta), from orecchio (ear) + etto (small)) is a kind of home-made pasta typical of Puglia or Apulia, a region of southern Italy. Its name comes from its shape, which reminds one of a small ear. In the vernacular of Taranto it is called recchietedd, or chiancaredd. A slightly flatter version is called cencioni, while in the vernacular of Bari, strascinate are more similar to cavatelli.
The traditional dish from Puglia is orecchiette alle cime di rapa, although broccoli is also widely used as an alternative to rapini. Particularly around Capitanata and Salento, orecchiette are traditionally also dressed with a tomato-based sauce (al sugo), with or without miniature meatballs (al ragù) and/or a sprinkling of ricotta forte, a seasoned sheep-milk variety of ricotta cheese.
The Italian cookbook Il cucchiaio d'argento (with an English translation The Silver Spoon, 2005, Phaidon) suggests that orecchiette are ideal for vegetable sauces.
In China a similar type of pasta is called maoerdo (cat's ears).
In most areas, it is pronounced in the traditional Italian manner (aw-rehk-KYET-tay). Some regional variations may treat the -chi- as soft as in Spanish, drop the second syllable, or pronounce the ending vowel as -i as with other types of pasta (or-CHET-tee).
- Zanini De Vita
- Zanini De Vita, Oretta (2009). "Orecchiette". Encyclopedia of Pasta. University of California Press. pp. 188–190. ISBN 978-0-520-94471-8. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
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