Burnt wheat orecchiette is the variant with a strong and slightly smoky taste of the pasta format belonging to the Apulian peasant tradition. At the base of their dough, in addition to the inevitable durum wheat semolina, there is a good percentage of burnt wheat flour, that is a flour obtained from the roasting and grinding of wheat. It is a typical product, characterized by an intense aroma, with which not only fresh pasta is made, but also tortellini, focaccia, leavened products and other local preparations.
In ancient times it was obtained by burning the vegetation that covered the ears of durum wheat fallen to the ground, which otherwise would have been lost: in this way the grains were indirectly toasted. Find out how to make this special orecchiette by following our recipe step by step.
Ready in: 30 minutes
FOR 4 PEOPLE
DURUM WHEAT SEMOLINA 350 gram
WATER 270 ml
BURNT WHEAT FLOUR (TOASTED) 150 gram
SALT 1 pinch
Amount per serving
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0.7g 1%, Saturated Fat 0.1g 1%, Cholesterol 0mg 0%, Sodium 4mg 0%, Total Carbohydrate 99.7g 36%, Dietary Fiber 7.5g 27%, Total Sugars 0.2g, Protein 13.8g, Vitamin D 0mcg 0%, Calcium 15mg 1%, Iron 4mg 20%, Potassium 153mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.
How to prepare burnt wheat orecchiette
Collect the flours in a bowl (1), add the salt and mix well.
Gradually pour the water and knead with your hands until the mixture is homogeneous and compact (2).
Shape it into a ball, cover it with an inverted bowl (3) and let it rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
Take a portion of dough at a time, roll it out on a floured pastry board and form a long cord (4).
Cut each cord into chunks, flour them and with a smooth blade knife drag each cube on the surface, as if to form a curl or a cavatello (small shell shape) (5).
Turn each curl on the tip of the thumb, as if to make a hat: you will have formed an orecchietta (6).
Gradually arrange the orecchiette on a well-floured cutting board and let them dry for at least 30 minutes (7). After this time, boil them (Burnt wheat orecchiette) in boiling salted water and season them according to your tastes.
The amount of water required for the dough may vary depending on the quality and absorption level of the specific flour used. The advice is to add the quantity present in the recipe and if necessary gradually add no more than a teaspoon of water at a time: if the dough is too soft, the seal of the orecchiette would be compromised.
For an optimal result, add the burnt wheat flour to the doughs, even leavened ones, never exceeding 30% of the total; you can also go down to 20 percent, if you wish, the final flavour will still be intense and characteristic.
To enhance the taste of burnt wheat orecchiette, you can season them with a fresh tomato sauce and then sprinkle them with plenty of cacioricotta; also excellent with turnip greens, as required by the Apulian tradition, with a pesto of dried tomatoes and burrata strips, or with enveloping cheese cream. You are spoiled for choice.
If you love the intense and slightly smoky taste of this flour, don’t miss the burnt wheat focaccia, a reinterpretation of the classic Apulian focaccia.
Burnt wheat orecchiette can be stored at room temperature, covered on the surface with a clean kitchen cloth, for a few hours; you can also freeze them for 1-2 months, dipping them in boiling water while still frozen.