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Plate of orecchiette with turnip tops on a set table

Orecchiette with turnip tops

Orecchiette, also known as "recchietelle" in the dialect of Bari, are the symbol of Apulia, a symbol that from the heel of Italy has become famous worldwide. More than just a dish, orecchiette are a true ritual, especially in Apulian households where their preparation and consumption represent the occasion to gather the whole family and bring together different generations side by side: in Bari and in many other Apulian towns, it is common to see grandmothers and grandchildren kneading and shaping these small culinary treasures together.

Orecchiette with turnip tops Recipe

Let's discover together the recipe to prepare this first course and enjoy a healthy, quick, and light lunch!

History of Orecchiette

What is the origin of the "little ears" (orecchiette)? A definite answer does not exist, but what is certain is that their roots sink deeply into the soil of tradition.

According to some, Orecchiette originate from Provence: here, during the Middle Ages, a type of durum wheat pasta with a central hollow called 'crosets' was common. From Provence, they would have been brought to Italy by the Angevins, who ruled over Apulia and Basilicata in the 13th century.

Preparation of orecchiette on the cutting board

According to others, this pasta was born in Sannicandro di Bari between the 12th and 13th centuries, using durum wheat grown in the Tavoliere delle Puglie. During that period, the area was under Norman-Swabian rule: the local cuisine would have merged with that of the resident Jewish community, giving rise to a pasta similar to the "Haman's ears" (small discs of fried shortcrust pastry) of Jewish tradition, which have a concave and rounded shape just like orecchiette. That shape, moreover, was not dictated by chance but had a precise practical function: the concave shape, favoring the drying process, helped to better preserve the pasta for use in times of famine.

According to other historical sources, the first record of this pasta shape can be found in a 1500 succession deed preserved in the archives of the Basilica of San Nicola in Bari. In that document, a baker bequeathed his business to his daughter, and the dowry also included the preparation of "recchjetedde".

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