How to Make Homemade Orecchiette Pasta

How to Make Homemade Orecchiette Pasta

While traveling on a printing vendible in Puglia, Italy, I was introduced to some wondrous local women who taught me their technique for making wondrous homemade Orecchiette Pasta. If you are looking to learn how to make pure orecchiette pasta, from local experts themselves, this guide is for you.

Orecchiette Pasta with tomato sauce and meatballs on a platter

It was once getting visionless by the time our group arrived at Masseria Il Frantoio for a cooking lesson and dinner. This 72-acre property was filled with century old olive trees, citrus groves, sublet land, and an agriturismo (working farm/restaurant/b&b). It’s there that met with some local women and dove into the simplicity and technique for homemade orecchiette pasta.


Recipe Highlights

  • To make the pasta all you need is three simple ingredients — flour, water, and olive oil.
  • We add a succulent marinara sauce and meatball to complement the flavors.
  • When rolling out the pasta, it just requires a little upper arm strength to knead the dough, form into a long string, and then make the pasta into the ear shapes.
Cooking lesson at Masseria Il Frantoio

What is Orecchiette Pasta?

Orecchiette Pasta hails from Southern Italy in the Puglia (Apulia) region of Italy (or the heel of the boot). The name, orecchiette, is inspired by the shape, which looks like a small ear. After rolling the dough, like gnocchi, you printing a small indentation in the pasta which gives it the unique shape.

How to pronounce Orecchiette: Oar-i-kye-tey

Orecchiette Ingredients

Simplicity of ingredients does not take yonder from the wondrous flavor. Using good quality ingredients is what makes the difference between good and unconfined pasta.

Bob's Red Mill semolina flour.
  • Flour – The most important ingredient is to use Semolina Durum Wheat Flour. The grind size and style of flour is what gives pure Orecchiette the elasticity and texture. You can find Bob’s Red Mill in the specialty walkway of your grocery store.
  • Water – It’s an important parto of making pasta.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Not only does a good olive oil add savor it helps when rolling pasta of any kind. Especially Orecchiette.

Equipment and Preparation

Scale for semolina flour for orecchiette pasta.
  • Digital Scale – If you love making home made pasta, you need a digital scale to weigh the flour for weightier results. We do injudicious the cups in the recipe card.
  • Spoon or Large Butter Knife – After rolling the dough, the spoon or butter pocketknife indulge you to hands make the indentation in the pasta.
  • Large Wearing Board – You need space and having a large good wearing workbench is important too.
Signora Filomena from Masseria Il Frantoio making homemade Orecchiette Pasta

Our group was worldly-wise to participate in a true masterclass of homemade pasta making. Our teacher was Signora Filomena. It came time to mixing the dough, rolling it into a fine string, and then making the very shape of the orecchiette. And that’s when she dropped the truth. Don’t use a mixer. Use your hands and make the pasta on your wearing board.

How to Make Orecchiette Pasta – The Technique

Learning how to make Homemade Orecchiette
  1. Making the Pasta: This step is unquestionably quite easy. Start with Semolina Durum Wheat flour on your wearing board, shaped like a volcano. Then add some warm water and a touch of uneaten virgin olive oil into the crater of the flour. The value is in the recipe card. The warm water makes the flour easier to work with. Using your hands, combine the ingredients until they come together to form a dough ball. Combine from the outside of the volcano in. Add spare water until the texture is where you want it.
  2. Wrap: Wrap the dough wittiness in plastic wrap for 15 minutes to let rest. Then remove the plastic wrap when kneading.
  3. Knead the Dough: Knead the dough wittiness until it is smooth (this will take a variegated value of time depending on your brute strength!). It’s moreover a unconfined hand and arm workout, so you can finger self-ruling to skip your regular upper soul strength workout the day you make this. Kneading is important to combine the gluten and proteins and get the right texture.
  4. How to Knead: To knead, place the dough wittiness on a floured wearing board. Using the lower portion of the palms of your hand, printing the dough into the wearing workbench yonder from you until it flattens out. Then return the dough to a wittiness structure. Flip the dough wittiness over, and repeat pressing it lanugo with the palm of your hands to flatten it. Repeat this process for well-nigh 15 seconds to integrate the flour.
  5. Shape the Orecchiette: After kneading, cut the dough wittiness into three sections. Using the palm of your hands start to gently roll the smaller sections into a long string well-nigh the width of a cigar.
  6. Form the Orecchiette: Now that you have your strings of orecchiette, cut off small pieces well-nigh the size of the end of your thumb, then roll them (with a spoon or knife) into the shape of a small ear.
  7. Cook: It’s then ready to waif into humid salted water.
making homemade orecchiette pasta

Chef’s Tip for easier dough – You can mix the flour, water, and olive oil in a stand mixer. It will work just fine, but is not typically the traditional way of making the orecchiette pasta.

Orecchiette Sauce

Inspired by the meals we had at the sublet and prepared by Signora Filomena’s wondrous hands, we moreover widow a simple sauce and tender and soft meatball to mirror the dish from the farm.

The Sauce: Making the sauce is just as easy. I kept it simple with just some chopped onion, a large can of San Marzano tomatoes, some EVOO and salt and pepper, and let it melt lanugo for well-nigh 30 minutes. That’s it. No frills or fancy. Just good quality tomatoes, and other ingredients.

A trencher of orecchiette pasta topped with meatballs

How to Melt Orecchiette

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. The water should taste like the ocean surpassing boiling. Melt until the Orecchiette rise to the top (this happens quickly, just a few minutes, so don’t walk away). Remove with a slotted spoon or colander and set aside.

Plate the orecchiette and toss with the tomato sauce and then top with the meatballs, fresh basil, and a sliver of Parmesan cheese.

Wine Pairing for Orecchiette and Meatballs

Homemade Orecchiette Pasta with meatballs and tomato sauce on a platter

This is a traditional Puglian meal, so for the full wits go with wine from the region. We enjoyed this dish with the red wines from Tenute Rubino made from Negroamaro and Susumaniello grapes.

But if you can’t find these wines in your zone squint for red wines from Puglia made from the same grapes. They are rich and smoky with visionless semen fruit flavors and good venom that pair fantastically with the local cuisine, like this orecchiette and red sauce recipe.

Alternatively a nice Italian Sangiovese or Barbera red wine would be unconfined if you don’t have as many options. If you can’t find the Italian varietals squint to their equivalent from Washington State or Southern Oregon.

You can moreover explore some wine options from the Vindulge Wine Market as well.

Other Recipe Inspirations

If you want an pure titbit try our Puglia Tuna Toasts. Such a tasty and fresh dish to kick off a meal. You can moreover try with our Smoked Marinara Sauce.

Visiting Masseria Il Frantoio

Masseria Il Frantoio Agriturismo is located in Ostuni, just north of the town of Brindisi. If you’re visiting Puglia, you simply cannot miss this destination! From lodging, dining, several homemade products they make in house (including jams, olive oils, and 35 homemade liqueurs), they have everything. Worth visiting.

Mary Cressler is the founder of Vindulge and co-author of the critically well-known cookbook Fire Wine. She can be found traveling the globe in pursuit of unconfined supplies and unconfined wine experiences. She continues to share those inspirations here at Vindulge.

Tried this recipe? Give us a star rating and we would love to see! Mention @vindulge or use the hashtag #vindulge on all the social media handles. And consider subscribing to our newsletter where we waif all our favorite ideas and inspirations every week.

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Homemade Orecchiette Recipe with Meatballs and Marinara Sauce

How to make Homemade Orecchiette with Meatballs. Traditional pasta from Puglia, Italy. Adapted from Masseria Il Frantoio.
5 from 1 vote
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Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 3 minutes
Sauce Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 1165kcal
Cost: $20



For the Orecchiette:

  • 1 ½ cups “Semolina” Durum Wheat, (250 grams)
  • ½ cup hot water (may need increasingly depending on consistency of dough)
  • 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

For the Tomato Sauce:

  • 1 medium onion, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 28 ounce can San Marzano Tomatoes (or other upper quality canned tomato)
  • 5 leaves fresh basil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the Meatballs:

  • ½ lb ground pork
  • ½ lb ground beef, 85/15
  • 2 cups grated Parmesan cheese, loosely packed
  • 1 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese, loosely packed
  • 2 cups fresh specie crumbs, loosely packed
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • ½ tablespoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper


For the Orecchiette:

  • Combine Flour: Place the dry flour on a large wearing workbench or wipe counter top and form a slum in the part-way (like a volcano). Add water a little at a time and start to knead, subtracting the oil and increasingly water a little at a time until the mixture is soft and very smooth, giving it a round shape. If it’s too sticky add increasingly flour. If it’s too dry, add a little increasingly water.
  • Wrap: Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and leave for 10-15 minutes, until the dough becomes rubberband unbearable to work with.
  • Form Into Snake Strings: Take a small piece of the dough at a time and form it into a snake like shape, or tube (though not too thin). See photos for examples.
  • Make Orecchiette: Divide the tube into chunks well-nigh 1 cm long, using the rounded part of the knife, dragging each piece of dough on a work surface so that the pasta is curved, thesping the shape of a shell. Then, using your thumbs, work the shape unshut to get the shape of an ear. Alternatively, you can use your finger, and point in the opposite direction of the shell shape and push from behind, then forming the piece into an ear-like shape.
  • Boil: When ready to cook. Bring a large pot to a boil. Add plenty of salt, and melt until the Orecchiette rise to the top (this happens quickly so don’t walk away).
  • Serve: Serve with some of the sauce, meatballs, and top with Parmesan or Pecorino, and a drizzle of fresh Uneaten Virgin Olive Oil.

For the Sauce:

  • Combine and Simmer: Place olive oil in a med-large pot over medium heat, then add the onions. Melt for approximately 6-8 minutes, until onions have softened. Add the tomatoes by hand, squeezing them to crush. Melt for 15-20 minutes. Using a hand immersion blender (or counter top blender) tousle until smooth (or your preferred consistency). Add the basil, salt, and pepper. Melt for 10 increasingly minutes. Taste and retread seasonings.

For the Meatballs: (makes 36 small golf wittiness shaped meatballs)

  • Combine: Mix all the ingredients in a large trencher and then roll into meatballs slightly smaller than the size of a golf ball.
  • Sauté: Heat oil in a large skillet and fry the balls for 4-6 minutes (depending on size), until internal temperature reaches 165. Then transfer to the sauce to combine.


Meatballs: If you want plane increasingly savor smoke the meatballs at 225 degrees F for 40 minutes or until the internal temperature is 160 – 165 degrees F.
Preparation: To weightier serve the supplies warm:
  1. Make and form meatballs.
  2. Make the sauce.
  3. As sauce simmers make the orecchiette.
  4. Once the orecchiette is worked and the sauce is washed-up make the meatballs in the pan and prep your humid water.
  5. Once you start on the last batch of meatballs waif the orecchiette into the humid water. Then when washed-up start plating with the warm sauce and meatballs.
If smoking the meatballs do that first so they can melt while you make everything else since it takes 40 minutes.
Find the perfect wine pairing at the Vindulge Wine Shop


Calories: 1165kcal | Carbohydrates: 103g | Protein: 63g | Fat: 55g | Saturated Fat: 23g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 20g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 273mg | Sodium: 2846mg | Potassium: 1133mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 1238IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 929mg | Iron: 10mg
Tried this recipe? We would love to see!Mention @vindulge or use the hashtag #vindulge

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