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Orecchiette carbonara.jpg
Orecchiette showing their typical shape and central depression
Type Pasta
Region or state Apulia
Main ingredients wheat
Cookbook: Orecchiette  Media: Orecchiette


Orecchiette (Italian pronunciation: [orekˈkjɛtte]; singular orecchietta; from Italian orecchia, meaning 'ear', and -etta, meaning 'small') are a variety of pasta typical of Apulia, a region of southern Italy. Their name comes from their 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) or a sprinkling of ricotta forte, a seasoned sheep-milk variety of ricotta cheese.

Their size is about 3/4 of a thumb, and look as a small white dome, with the center thinner than the edge and with a rough surface. There is also a version made without the typical round and concave shape, better known as "strascinati." In all variants, orecchiette are made with re-milled durum wheat semolina, water and salt.

In Cisternino orecchiette are made with slightly refined wheat flour, they are larger and take on a different shape, with deep internal ribs, very similar to an ear, they are defined “ 'recch'd'privt' "- that is "ears of the priest". The classic peasant recipe of festive days includes the condiment with rabbit sauce.

The Italian cookbook Il cucchiaio d'argento[2] (with an English translation The Silver Spoon[3] ) 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").

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Zanini De Vita
  2. ^ D’Onofrio, Clelia (2005). Il Cucchiaio D’Argento. Cucchiaio d’argento Domus. 
  3. ^ The Silver Spoon. Phaidon Press. 2005. 


  • 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. 
  • “La cucina pugliese” Luigi Sada, publisher: Newton-Compton, 1994

External links[edit]