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Orecchiette carbonara.jpg
Orecchiette showing their typical shape and central depression
Type Pasta
Place of origin Italy
Region or state Apulia
Main ingredients Flour
Cookbook:Orecchiette  Orecchiette

Orecchiette (the plural form of orecchietta, from orecchio (ear) + etto (small) is a variety of home-made pasta typical of Apulia, a region of southern Italy. Its name comes from its shape, which resembles 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 Apulia is orecchiette alle cime di rapa,[1] 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 猫耳朵 (māo ěr duǒ, literally, cat's ears).

Pronunciation variations[edit]

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).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Zanini De Vita