Apulia, a land of strong flavors, known internationally, so much so that Indian princes, Hollywood stars, famous singers, spend short or long periods of the year in the most popular and non-popular locations, especially to taste typical dishes and local excellence.

The orecchiette are the most famous Apulian pasta, with its particular shape, always fresh and rigorously handmade, even if lately it is possible to find more or less quality industrial preparations. The name obviously derives from their shape, which is obtained by pressing small pieces of fresh pasta with a light but decisive touch, and therefore a line very similar to a small ear, orecchiette is obtained.

The name, however, in Apulia, changes according to the area, for a simple and colorful dialectal question, and therefore we can have chiancarelle, recchijeted, fiaffioli, recchietelle, pociacche, faciletti, strascinati (which are however slightly different in size and shape), cencioni (also slightly different, with an elliptical and flatter shape).

There are many recipes that involve the use of orecchiette, especially based on vegetables, rather than meat or fish, thanks to the fact that the orecchiette have a porous consistency capable of absorbing even the most substantial sauces.

The most famous recipe both in Italy and abroad, originally from the Bari area, whose origins are lost in the popular tradition is that of the 'Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe', which we now have a preview prepared by Chef Bonea, native of these lands which, in addition to teaching in the Italian public school, also boasts numerous international collaborations.

Fresh orecchiette with broccoli rabe

Category: pasta
Origin: Italy
Wine to Serve: white wine
Difficulty: high
Preparation: 1 hour

Ingredients for 2 servings

Fresh pasta

8 ounces of semolina flour
½ teaspoon of salt
1/3 cup of cold water

Broccoli rabe sauce

3 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 ounce of anchovies in oil
16 ounces of broccoli rabe

In a large bowl mix fresh pasta ingredients together. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed 4 minutes, scraping bowl frequently. Stir in enough until dough is soft and leaves side of bowl. Then prepare fresh orecchiette by fingers.

Cut off tough stem ends from broccoli rabe and discard. Cut remaining stems into small pieces. Cut leaves crosswise. Cut any florets into bite size pieces if necessary.

In a saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Cook garlic, anchovies in oil, for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add broccoli rabe, warm water, and salt. Simmer covered for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook and drain orecchiette.

Mix in a pan broccoli rabe with orecchiette, serve immediately.