Orecchiette: The Art of Pasta

The scene couldn’t be more Italian: a Vespa, laundry on line, and women making pasta in the street. To find out which part of Italy it is, however, just look at the shape they are making – that is, if you can see it. Nunzia Caputo’s hands move so fast that we slow down the video to see her formed orecchiette, which means “small ears”.

This is Paglia Pasta, an area known for its olive groves, special houses for trolleys and orchids, which Caputo says she has been making since she was six years old. Fortunately, she sees it as more art than work.

“Because you’re seeing this massive change,” he told reporter Seth Dowane. “It’s magic in your hands.”

Nunzia Caputo makes orecchiette pasta on the streets of Bari.

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This pasta shines like a treasure on the streets where many women make orecchiette. Caputo is the fourth generation in his family to do so. Too bad he won’t have a fifth – he has sons. “The men here drink beer; they don’t make orecchiette,” he lamented.

“What a pity!” Said Doane.

Elizabeth Manchli has written books on food and drink in Italy, and she and her daughter, Sophie, offer guests a “Saturday in Italy” dinner tour. In the region’s capital, Bari, they stop where Caputo has set up shop (or, well, stage). His show offers mystery and head-scratching joy.

“It’s a woman, Nanzia, and we’re going there, you know, for the last 20 years, buying her orchestra from her and actually learning how to make it,” said Manchli. Said

“Can you make it?” Asked the medicine.

“Are we being recorded?” She laughed.


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“You used to see pasta cooked indoors in pesticides. Why on the street?”

“In fact, the pasta we call real pasta was dried on the street. They used sun and wind.”

Caputo said passersby once asked his mother if he could buy pasta, and a business was born.

In Ancora Pastificio, Michele Fiore showed Doane how, in turn, selling a one-size-fits-all orecchiette wouldn’t work: we counted seven, which would be better if he had his customers in stock. Wants to keep, which will tell Fiore, “If you don’t have this little one, fine. Don’t eat today.”

“Really? Will they leave if it’s not the right-sized orecchiette?”


In Ancora Pastificio, one size of orecchiette pasta does not fit everyone.

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When asked if anyone needed an orecchiette of all these different sizes, Manchli replied, “Yes! Absolutely, you do!” He explained that different sizes go with different sauces.

Doane asked, “How is a type of pasta so closely linked to any part of Italy?”

“Well, I think it belongs to every region, every town, it has its own traditions,” he said. “And they start it with a certain type of flour. They start it with certain economic conditions. And then they have the ingredients that go with this pasta. So, in the north, you have more cream and There’s more butter and more cheese. In the south, it’s a little poorer, so you have more vegetables. “

“Where do you rank orecchiette on the pasta list as a cook?”

“Oh, I’m not going, I won’t consider it!” Manchli laughed. “I like all pasta equally, from all areas!”

In a country where food means a lot, diplomacy can be an important component.

Bake some orecchiette.

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For more information:

Story by Sabina Castel Franco and Arya Schweilsen. Editor: Emmanuel Sec.

Check “Sunday Morning” 2021 Food Issue Recipe Index For more menu suggestions, check out all the chefs in our program, cookbook authors, flood writers and restaurants, as well as authors and editors. New York Times Coking.


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