How to make orecchiette and cavatelli from Puglia

Orecchiette and cavatelli are two pasta shapes typical of my region, Puglia. Made by kneading only semolina and water, they adapt to any kind of sauce, with vegetables, fish and meat. For this recipe I used Senatore Cappelli semolina, a variety of durum wheat discovered in Foggia in 1915. But you can use and durum wheat flour available.
There are various ways to make orecchiette by hand, in this case I explain the easiest, that is, starting with cavatello.
Happy kneading!

Ingredients for 4 persons

400 g Senatore Cappelli semolina
200 g lukewarm water (approx.)

Time: 20 minutes + 30 minutes resting time

Let’s cook!

Mix the flour with water.
In general, the weight of the water is half that of the flour, but it all depends on a number of variables, including moisture and the flour’s ability to absorb it.
My advice is therefore to put the water in a little at a time: it can therefore be more or less than half.
The dough should be kneaded on a wooden board until it is firm, elastic and does not stick to the board.

Let the dough rest for 30 minutes on the pastry board, covered with a plastic or glass bowl.
Then, roll the mass first into sausages and then into thinner snakes, the width of an index finger. Spread the mass by helping with both your fingers and the back of your hand.

Take the dough snake and place it upright, tip facing you. Cut off the end with a smooth, non-serrated knife and drag the small piece of mass toward you, rolling it against the pastry board

Keep rolling until the end is done-you will have made your first cavatello!

Now that you have made cavatelli, some of them you can turn into orecchiette. How? By opening their side flaps.

Help yourself with both hands. Once you have opened the cavatello, turn it over against your thumb and pull the mass down: and here is your orecchiette!

Continue until you run out of dough. Cook in plenty of salted water and serve with your favorite sauce.

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