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Orecchiette is a type of Puglian pasta made from semolina, water, and salt. The shape, which resembles small ears, earned it this name while the rough surface holds sauces and allows it to be prepared in quite a variety of ways.

Over the years, Puglian women have been crafting orecchiette on broad wooden tables in the street while they sit side by side as if they are in a large open-air workshop. They were able to create dozens of pounds of orecchiette in a day due to their mastery and speed in cutting and spinning the pasta into the conventional shape.

Even, today, despite Orecchiete being available in supermarkets around the world, local women still make them for special occasions using their hands.

The most famous traditional dish mixes orecchiette with cime di rapa (broccoli leaves), a southern Italian vegetable with slender stems and small florets that is boiled before being sautéed with garlic, oil, anchovies, and chilli pepper.

A freshly made batch of Orecchiette can be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to 2-3 days. They can also be frozen and then added to a pot of boiling water while still frozen. You can store them for months once they have been dried.

For many people who are not familiar with making Orecchiette, it is quite easy to do. In making the puglian pasta, mix semolina flour and salt in a large bowl, make a well in the center. Pour water into the well a little at a time, mixing it with the flour. Add as much water as needed to make a sticky but compact dough.

Then, you knead dough with your hands by flattening the ball, stretching it, and folding the top towards the center. Turn 45 degrees and repeat until dough is elastic and smooth, but not too soft, about 10 minutes, shape dough into a ball. Place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes before using.

Ensure you work with one portion of dough at a time, keeping the remaining dough covered to keep it from drying out. Dust a work surface with semolina flour; roll out the dough to make a rope, about 1/3 inch thick and Cut off little 1/3-inch thick pieces. Pick up knife with a rounded tip.

You have to carefully hold one side of the dough with your index finger. Hold the knife in your other hand. Gently drag the small piece of dough towards you. Lift up the knife by the end in such a way that you get a thicker edge. You'll obtain a small disk of dough, thinner in the centre. Press the disk gently against your thumb and it will curve.

Then you follow the same strategy for the rest of the dough. Transfer the orecchiette onto a floured surface and sprinkle with more semolina flour. Do not overlap orecchiette or they will stick together. Let dry for about 30 minutes before cooking.