Tag: Pasta

Orecchiette, stràscenàte, cavatelli … The fresh pasta queen of Puglia – Italian Cuisine

Orecchiette, stràscenàte, cavatelli ... The fresh pasta queen of Puglia

Orecchiette are the symbol of fresh pasta in Puglia, but much more can be done with semolina and water. Among so many names and many "hands", the ladies of Bari Vecchia (and not only) still carry on a tradition with a unique charm. And one of them is about to land in New York …

Sitting at the table in Puglia means dealing with great gastronomic traditions and many, many linguistic and culinary differences. Let's take the orecchiette: for a single pasta format there are many names that change from kilometer to kilometer. And i cavatelli? He strascinati? Better to tidy up, especially if we want to get our hands in the dough and make them on our own, just like the ladies of Bari Vecchia, in this period at the center of a controversy.

The ingredients

"Puglia is made of durum wheat semolina," says Sandro Romano, gastronomist and journalist. So, in an elegant metaphor, in the fresh and dry pasta doughs we will find only water and durum wheat semolina, possibly not re-milled. "It is the one used by pasta makers," explains Antonio Amenduni, pasta trainer who holds master classes in Italy and abroad. «Because it ensures greater porosity of the pasta. On how much water to add to the semolina, the two experts do not express themselves. "The trick is to reduce the quantity to have a dough that produces more wrinkled orecchiette", recommends Amenduni. "But to achieve this effect, you need to have some experience and manual skills." Romano adds: "The dough must be rough, almost grainy. If you put more water, you work better, it's true. But when you go to shape the pasta, you can't. The paste must be smooth, but not wet ". In addition to semolina, barley flour is widely used in Salento, while burnt wheat flour is also widespread in the rest of the region. No salt is added except in the cooking water: "If put in the dough, it makes the glutin mesh harder", explains the pasta trainer. Unlike other areas of Italy, no eggs are placed in the dough.

The dough

Once the ingredients are grouped, we start by creating a semolina fountain on the pastry board. We add the water at room temperature and mix. We combine all the ingredients and with the fingertips we knead until a smooth and homogeneous mixture has been created. Let it rest for at least half an hour, wrapping the dough in a cotton cloth, so that the glutinic mesh is formed and the compound is elastic.

We work the pasta

Once the rest time has elapsed, we begin to shape the pasta with the help of the hands and a particular, historical tool. The Apulian gastronomic tradition reports it as the first tool for the processing of orecchiette. And the sfèrre, «A knife that our grandmothers used, made of iron. Now if you talk to Nunzia, in old Bari, she says it doesn't matter: when there is a hand, dragging does the rest ", explains Sandro Romano. Depending on the movements we are going to make with our hands or sfèrre (or underwire) we can make cavatelli (with hands), strascinati (with sfèrre) and even a mix of underwire macaroni and orecchiette, known as maritati . But the names of these formats are not the same everywhere. In addition, the processing techniques also change.


It is the zero grade of fresh pasta in Puglia. Take a piece of dough and work it with your hands until you get a snake of pasta. Then a piece is cut and the cavatello is made either with the help of a finger or with the tip of the knife. «It is called cavatello because it is" cavato ", the drag is minimal", explains Romano, who adds: "On Murgia cavatelli are made by dragging the dough with three fingers: with the middle finger you drag the pasta, while with the ring finger and index finger its shape is controlled .

Olive leaves

«These are longer cavatelli, made from a more flat and longer piece of pasta, explains Amenduni. "It's a more modern type of pasta," adds Romano. "An invention of recent years, it is not an ancient pasta. It's like a kind of capunto, but more open. "


They are made all over Puglia and are obtained starting from the cavatelli preparation technique. «The snakes of dough are cut, then cut into small pieces of about one and a half centimeters, which are dragged on the pastry board with the knife with a rounded tip or sfèrre. If the central part is used in Bari, only the tip of the instrument is used in the rest of Puglia. The shell thus obtained, very similar to a more open cavatello, can also be turned on the tip of a finger. So you get a little one ear with a rough external surface , explains Amenduni. According to the strip that is created, different size orecchiette can be created. "The thickness of the snake tells us what size the ear will have," warns the pasta coach. The orecchiette take a different name depending on the place where they are made and the size assumed. In Foggia and its province they are called rècchie de prèvete and are larger than the rècchie, recchietèdde and strascenàte of Bari. In Minervino Murge and on the Gargano coast the orecchietta is also called cuppetìedde, a small cup. It is in fact a cup-shaped pasta, therefore similar to the Apulian mainstream format. In Brindisi and its province they are called stacchiòddi. Chiancarèdda is the name that Luigi Sada gives to a format similar to the orecchietta, made in Taranto and Massafra, in his book Spaghetti & Companions. «Rather large and full-bodied homemade pasta, made of durum wheat, hollowed out, flat or round, similar to tiles. In Foggia they call it chianétta and it is square or round in shape, rather large , he writes in his book. In Lecce the orecchiette are called rècchie, rìcchie, ricchitèddhre.

Orecchiette from Bari

Bari's orecchiette deserve a separate discussion. «They are small, typical for Sunday ragù. The larger ones are used with cabbage and turnip greens. In Foggiano they become even bigger and for this reason they take the name of rècchie de prèvete , explains the Roman gastronomist. The Bari ear is made with a smooth blade knife and with the help of the two indexes. You use them to stretch the dough, while pulling it with the knife. In this way the dough will rise so as to naturally create a dome, without turning it on the finger. During the act, the fingers make a circular movement, "almost in the shape of a heart," adds Amenduni. With this method you can make orecchiette of all sizes. "The main difference between the Bari method and the one used in the rest of Puglia is the roughness of the cap", the pasta coach specifies.


The earlobe is a bigger ear. It is enlarged with the fingers to obtain a type of pasta that is stuffed and baked.


The strascinati, or rather the stràscenàte, follow the same method of pasta orecchiette pasta, but it does not come "They are like low orecchiette", explains Amenduni. The block is dragged on the pastry board with the rounded tip or the central part of a knife, but it is not turned to create the dome. This type of fresh pasta is usually eaten with vegetables. "In Bari orecchiette and strascinati coincide because you don't make low ones," adds the pasta trainer.


The texts of the Apulian gastronomic tradition also speak of zest or almond peel or nocella. It is a type of smooth paste under and in front of wrinkled. "It coincides with a low trailing in which I only go to press the center of the block," adds Amenduni.


The husbands are the union of underwire macaroni – a symbol of virility, similar to the male sexual organ, which in Salento are called minchiarèddhi – and the orecchiette – to contrast macaroni and symbol of femininity.

The War of the Orecchiette

The New York Times dedicated an article to the issue: Call it a crime of pasta (Call it a pasta crime.) In this long reportage signed by Jason Horowitz, all the icons of the Apulian pasta lover were interviewed, from the historical Nunzia Caputo to the 82-year-old Vittoria, on the case of the kidnapping of orecchiette in a restaurant in the city. They are the queens of the Arco Basso, a pilgrimage destination for all those tourists looking for real orecchiette. On the Travel Show channel the New York Times has also published a video in which Nunzia launched her invitation to visit Bari. Now Nunzia will fly to New York together with the mayor Antonio Decaro, the Pugliapromotion staff led by Luca Scandale, manager of the Plan Strategic of Tourism, and to Aldo Patruno, director of the Culture and Tourism Department. The mission will see Nunzia protagonist of a cooking show on the live processing of orecchiette in the Puglia stand at the Travel Show, from 24 to 26 January 2020. Also Lonely Planet has included this point in Bari among the ten best destinations in Europe only for the charm given off by the cupboards, the semolina and the quick hands that churn out orecchiette all day. The point is that selling small envelopes for personal use to some tourists is very different from selling them in restaurants. There is a need for a license and information on product traceability. There is talk of making a cooperative, wearing caps, making receipts and paying taxes. And of course how difficult it is to put all this into practice in the historic center of Bari. The important thing is that this tradition is not killed, but that it becomes even more central in the life of the city. Whatever it takes.

Text by Stefania Leo
Photo by Antonio Amenduni

Buckwheat pasta – Italian Cuisine – Italian Cuisine

Buckwheat pasta - Italian Cuisine

Not just pizzoccheri: from fidelins to traditional formats, the flour of this "non-cereal" can be used for a large quantity of recipes. Alone, for gluten free recipes. Or in combination with that of wheat. The ideal travel companions? Porcini mushrooms and cheeses

Exists a grain that is not a cereal, which is part of our food and wine heritage and which is used to produce certain types of pasta. We are talking about the buckwheat, the main ingredient of typical dishes of the Valtellina but not only, starting with pizzoccheri, from polenta taragna and come on sciatt, without forgetting i chisciol. An ingredient, buckwheat, particularly coveted by celiac, considering that does not contain gluten. But how best to use it in the kitchen?

A simple herb

Buckwheat or black wheat (Polygonum fagopyrum), despite the name, is not a cereal but a herbaceous plant, belonging to the family of polygonaceae. The seeds are many different, triangular and more similar to those of the beech than of the wheat, but after their grinding a flour very similar to that of wheat is obtained. Although grown in mountain areas, buckwheat fear the cold, so its life cycle takes place entirely in the spring and summer months, with sowing in March-April and harvested in July-August, when the plant becomes dry and the seed black and dry.

A cure-all against cholesterol

From a nutritional point of view, 100 grams of buckwheat contain a 72% carbohydrates, 13% protein and 3.4% fat. The proteins contained in the buckwheat seed boast a good biological value. They are in fact composed both of essential amino acids, such as lysine, threonine and tryptophan, and of sulfur-containing amino acids. Instead gluten is absent: this means that it can be used in all gluten-free recipes, suitable for people with celiac disease. Studies conducted on Chinese Yi population (ethnicity living in the mountainous areas of Sichuan and Yunnan), whose diet is also based on buckwheat, demonstrate the influence of the latter on low levels of "bad" cholesterol. This especially for the high content of flavonoids, which also act as antioxidants and protect our body from disease. Buckwheat is also a good source of magnesium, useful for improving the circulation blood and reduce the pressure; helps to keep blood sugar levels under control, reducing the risk of diabetes. According to a study published in the Journal of gastroenterology, eating foods rich in insoluble fiber such as buckwheat helps prevent the onset of gallstones. The high energy value of buckwheat makes it a particularly suitable food for sports. Only flaw, buckwheat is a potential allergen, and therefore a possible source of food allergies.

The heart in Valtellina

Of oriental origin, buckwheat has arrived in Italy in the fifteenth century. The first document attesting to its presence was found precisely in Teglio, in Valtellina, the "capital"Of buckwheat in Italy: in an act relating to the properties of the Besta family the" formentone "is mentioned, a term with which it is still called buckwheat in Sondrio and surroundings. "Furmentun", augmentative of "furment", that is wheat, intends to underline the high productivity of this plant, unlike the much longer life cycle of wheat. Already in 1616 the Graubünden historian Guler Von Weineck stated that in Valtellina "heyden”, Ancient German name for buckwheat. A name, this, which also refers to the exotic origin of buckwheat: "Heide" in German means "heath", but also "they pay". A sign that buckwheat could have come to Europe and Italy from the East not through the usual Mediterranean route, but from the steppe, by today's nomadic populations Russia.

Four to one

In general, buckwheat is used to make pasta together with white flour. To prepare the Valtellina pizzoccheri, for example, the super-authoritative Pizzocchero Academy prescribes 400 grams of buckwheat flour and 100 grams of white flour. In many products on the market, however, the percentage of white flour rises dramatically. But, perhaps at home, it is possible to prepare 100% buckwheat pizzoccheri, dosing water and flour well in order to obtain the right consistency; or search for them among gluten free products. To underline, then, that the Valtellina pizzoccheri have nothing to do with those of the Valchiavenna, sort of gnocchi in which buckwheat doesn't even appear.

The other types

But, as well as in pizzoccheri, buckwheat is also used in other types of pasta, such as i traditional formats (penne, fusilli, tortiglioni and more) in version gluten free. Or i Fidelin, a sort of spaghetti made from buckwheat and durum wheat flour, perfect for a seasoning with porcini mushrooms. The white flour instead disappears in the formats of fresh pasta prepared with buckwheat.

Seasonings and pairings

Having said that, how to season buckwheat pasta? The inspiration can only come from Valtellina cuisine. The traditional seasoning of pizzoccheri is cabbage, potatoes, butter, grated parmesan and flaked casera, with the precious alternative of Bitto. The pizzoccheri with are also excellent pumpkins and hazelnuts. For the other types of pasta, if you don't want to get to such richness, you can use a cream cheese like Gorgonzola, perhaps enriching its flavor with speck. Generally, ingredients are preferred which, with their delicate but very present taste, can soften the strong taste of buckwheat: porcini mushrooms, for example, perhaps the best combination with this "fake cereal". For an even healthier dish you can use a white vegetable ragout, boiled or in a pan: peppers, courgettes, celery, carrots and onion. And, why not, with the addition of some chopped pesto or basil, as in the chef's recipe Angelo Scuderi. Another interesting condiment to combine with the full flavor of buckwheat, that of walnuts, perhaps with the addition, even here, of speck.

A week without pasta and without bread – Italian Cuisine

A week without pasta and without bread

A challenge for those who want to eliminate carbohydrates from these two foods, but also for those who want to experience something new. We promise that we can survive!

For an Italian a week without bread and pasta it's almost a sentence.
Yet in many countries pasta is not a food that is consumed daily, as is bread.
We want to offer you some ideas to change yours a bit diet… but only for a week.

Carbohydrates yes, but not pasta and bread

Attention, what we want to offer you is not a carbohydrate-free diet because what we are going to eliminate, and only for 7 days, are only pasta and bread.
They will stay other carbohydrates like cereals and vegetables that will become worthy substitutes.

If you really can't do without pasta

If you are already very discouraged because you cannot live without pasta, know that there is a solution.
There is one "Pasta" practically free of carbohydrates and with very few calories that is prepared with konjac root.
It's called Shirataki o Shirataki Noodles and it has a very particular aspect: it has the shape of quite thick spaghetti and an almost transparent light color.
It is generally sold in bio shops inside containers with water to keep it hydrated, or dry as noodles.
This pasta has a very low calorie intake (about 10-20 kcal per 100 grams), has very few carbohydrates and zero gluten.
Containing glucomanno it increases in volume in contact with liquids and gives a sense of satiety even for a long time.
It can be seasoned in many ways, even possibly with an Italian tomato sauce, but we suggest you prepare it in the Asian way with vegetables sautéed in the wok and soy sauce, or cooked in ramen.

If you really can't do without bread

If the shoe is a religion for you, then let's try making bread without flour.
Is called cloud bread bread that looks like bread, but it is not because it does not contain flour.
Cloud it means cloud in English and in fact this is the feeling that you have in tasting this completely protein substitute of the classic bread.https: //www.gordon-ramsay-recipe.com/news/salute-e-nutrizione/porridge-per-una -breakfast-detox /
The ingredients are 3 eggs, 3 tablespoons of cream cheese and 1/4 sachet of baking powder.
Before starting it preheats the oven at 300 ° and then the yolks and the egg whites are separated.
In a bowl the yolks are mixed with the cream cheese and in another is added the yeast to the egg whites.
The two compounds are slowly mixed without disassembling them and then they are arranged as if they were pizzas on a baking sheet and cooked for 20 minutes.
This bread can be flavored in many ways and with all the aromatic herbs you prefer.

Ideas for breakfast

But how do you start the day without bread, butter and jam?
For the Breakfast there are no problems because the alternatives are endless.
You can eat some bowl rich and colorful with yogurt, fresh fruit cereals and dried fruit.
You can do the Porridge with oat flakes, milk or water and flavor it in many ways.
You can prepare some Crepes or gods pancakes protein only with an egg and a banana mixed together.
Finally, you can use chia seeds to bring a super light pudding to the table and you can satiate the famous pudding chia pudding, Which can be enriched in many ways.
In short, at breakfast there is really nothing to worry about.

Ideas for complete dishes without bread and pasta

We also want to offer you complete dishes that are very interesting from a nutritional point of view and very tasty that will make you forget the lack of bread and pasta for a week. Let it bet?
The secret is to always have a enveloping dressing that gives the idea of ​​something very rich and full already only at first glance or of well-matched and combined ingredients that together create a combination of mouth watering flavors and aromas.
In short, the eye wants its part in the kitchen!

Chickpea and coconut curry

This recipe is delicious and has a creamy, spicy and flavorful dressing that will captivate you.
To prepare it, start with a pan of onion, celery and carrot. Then add some cooked and drained chickpeas (also in a jar) and cook for a couple of minutes. Blend everything with del coconut milk thick (not the one found in the vegetable milk department to be clear!) and then add the curry e a pinch of salt.
Accompany everything with del white rice, or basmati, simply boiled.
The cream that will be obtained from coconut milk with curry together with rice are a winning combination!

Cantonese rice

A recipe that adults and children like, with an ethnic, colorful and complete taste.
Cook the basmati rice and apart from prepared some scrambled eggs.
Saute a minced onion and some in a pan peas and then add gods cooked ham cubes.
Mix the rice with the other ingredients and add soy sauce and chives. Saute everything in a pan or in a wok to mix the flavors well. To be eaten strictly with chopsticks!

Savoy cabbage lasagna

Don't you want to give up a nice portion of baked pasta? We make lasagna, but without lasagna.
Instead of egg pasta we will use the savoy cabbage leaves simply blanched in boiling water.
Between one layer and another, then you can add what you prefer, such as del white meat ragout cooked with vegetables and seasoned with ricotta or bechamel, or del smoked salmon or a cream cheese.
You will get a sort of vegetable pie with the appearance of a lasagna. You won't notice the difference!

Zucchini ravioli

This is also a very nice idea to bring to the table a dish that looks like pasta, but it is not.
To prepare these fake ravioli you have to cut the courgettes with a mandolin getting long slices.
Then arrange 2 slices forming a cross and in the center put a ricotta filling, salt, pepper, parsley and parmesan.
Simply close the package by covering the filling and bake at 200 ° for 25 minutes with plain tomato sauce on top, a drizzle of oil and grated Parmesan.

Leek cannelloni

Another clever, delicious and very light recipe that seems, but it is not.
THE cannelloni can also be prepared with i leeks which actually have a tubular shape.
Have you ever thought about it?
Cut them into cylinders and then simply fill them with whatever you prefer before informal with bechamel or ricotta like real cannelloni.
A first course that can also be an excellent second course and that everyone always likes because leeks have a delicious taste.
Instead of leeks, you can also use green leaves, such as cabbage, or courgettes dug inside and blanched in boiling water.

Rice and cauliflower pizza

We have talked about it many times and if you have not tried these two recipes yet you must immediately remedy them.
The cauliflower rice nothing else is chopped cauliflower, well drained and then passed in a pan with a dressing to taste. It has the appearance of a risotto, but there is not even a shadow of rice grains even if you seem to eat a first course.
The pizza of cauliflower it is instead a basic dough to prepare a super healthy pizza.
The consistency will obviously be different, less crunchy and soft and the flavor more intense, but we invite you to try it because it is truly an original dish.

Stuffed eggplant

A very rich first course and without pasta is the stuffed eggplant which can be prepared with any type of cereal inside as well as with simple meat or lentil ragout.
Cut the eggplants in half and remove the pulp. Cook it or fry it in seed oil or simply pass it in a pan with oil, garlic and cherry tomatoes. Then season with spelled, barley or quinoa with this sauce and fill the aubergines previously emptied and cooked in the oven for about 30 minutes at 200 °.
Cook everything in the oven at 200 ° adding a drizzle of oil and grated Parmesan or diced cheese on the aubergines.

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