How to Make Orecchiette
How was everybody's Valentine's/Galentine's/Singletine's Day? Me and Danny had a marvelous dinner at Maison Premiere in Williamsburg. You might know it as one of the bars seen in Master of None. We had oysters, squid ink pasta, short ribs, salmon, and absinthe cocktails, hubba hubba. All the food made me feel full of love, I think? Certainly THE OYSTERS IF YA KNOW WHAT I MEAN.
Just kidding. Because actually the food was incredible, but I ended up puking at the end of the meal. Allow me to explain: Danny was sick for like two weeks, then Candice. We think it was bronchitis. Eventually the illness made its way to me in time for Valentine's Day. By the evening, my fever was gone, but coughing attacks continued to strike at annoying moments.
So, as we were finishing up our meal I started coughing uncontrollably, but I was trying not to disturb the starry-eyed lovers all over the tiny restaurant. Eventually, as we finished up dessert, it got so bad that I had to step outside. My gag reflex as flipping out from the coughing and I knew things would get ugly if I stayed in the restaurant any longer.
Let's just say things got ugly all over the sidewalk outside. I then waited for Danny to come save me (mind you, it was like -7 degrees this weekend). He never came, so after 10 minutes I went back in to find him finishing his cocktail, wondering where I'd gone. It sounds like I was mad at him--not at all; I laughed so hard and it was a great night despite the disgusting ending!
Anyway, regarding these photos... I made some orecchiette by hand a few weeks ago and now I want to throw them around like confetti at every celebration. It was a meditative all-day kind of affair, between the kneading and the rolling and the shaping. Podcasts kept me company and it was very zen. A far cry from the cheese-covered baked zitis of my youth, indeed, but equally life-affirming. See how I use the pasta, once it's made, over on Goodie Godmother's site! Below is a recipe for making the pasta from scratch.
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup semolina flour
- 1/2 cup warm water (plus additional, as needed)
- Clean off a countertop or table with water. When clean, combine flours on the table. Mix flours with your hands until well combines and than gather into a pile, using fingers to create a deep well in the center.
- Pour warm water into the well and begin mixing, with your hands. As you mix, pick up more and more flour until a dough forms. Continue to mix until flour no longer gathers easily into the dough. You will likely leave behind a good chunk of flour (perhaps almost half).
- Gather together the dough that you have formed and move aside. Dust new area of counter or table with flour mixture, as well as your hands. Begin kneading dough and continue until it's elastic and holds shape, while pulling back a little when pinched--it'll take about 8 minutes of kneading by hand.
- Once you have the dough formed and kneaded, cut into quarters with a sharp knife. Wrap all but one quarter up with a clean, damp kitchen towel and set aside. Roll remaining quarter of dough into a long, skinny log. Using a sharp knife, cut a section of the log into 2-inch pieces. Don't cut too much at work--the dough dries out quickly! Take each piece and place in your palm. Press with your thumb, sliding thumb down your palm until pasta piece curls just slightly. Place shaped pasta on a lined baking sheet. Dust with a bit of flour mixture.
- Continue rolling, cutting, and shaping pasta until all dough is used up. Repeat process with more warm water and the remaining flour mixture, if desired.
- Cook pasta immediately in a large portion of boiling water, or allow pasta to dry out four a few hours. Transfer to an airtight container and store in a cool, dry place until ready to cook!