Homemade Orecchiette Pasta

Wednesday, September 13, 2017
I had to ask myself this morning why did I wait so long to finally make this homemade pasta.

Orecchiette is a really ancient type of pasta from Puglia and Basilicata.

Of course, this pasta got its name from the shape of them.

So, glad I made these simple delicious pasta fun shape because the kids just loved them and they are great in soups or with Broccoli, Garlic and Oil too!

Orecchiette (pronounced [orekˈkjette]; singular orecchietta; from Italian orecchia, meaning 'ear', and -etta, meaning 'small') are a pasta that is popular in Southern Italy.

We assume that's where one of their names "Little Ears" got famous for orecchiette pasta.

Scroll down to the recipe card for our printable recipe.

how to make orecchiette pasta step by step in the photo is a plate with pasta and tomato sauce

Homemade Pasta is the Best!

Back in the 1960s, I would watch my Aunt make this pasta.

As a little girl of 5 or 6, I use to go to my Aunt Anna's house and watch her make these with her five daughters.

These were always special and made on either Easter, Birthdays, Anniversaries or another special occasion.

It took a while to get the feel to make the shape just right, but after a few times, it was really simple.

these are a hat shaped pasta with sauce on top called Orecchiette pasta and made from scratch

Ingredients You Will Need (exact measurements are in the recipe card below

  • semolina
  • water
  • salt
  • flour

these are a hat shaped pasta with sauce on top called Orecchiette pasta and made from scratch

this is a collage of how to make orecchiette pasta

Nicknames for Orecchiette

  1. little ears
  2. hats
  3. bowls
  4. small ears
  5. Note:(my Grandma used this dough to make small rings)

homemade "Little Ears" Italian pasta drying

Tips for making Orecchiette

  1. using semolina is denser than floured pasta and requires kneading the dough 
  2. keep  the excess dough covered while rolling and cutting the ropes into pieces
  3. roll long pieces of dough into a rope style then cut into 1 - inch pieces
  4. hold a butter knife at a 45-degree angle to your work surface, then press and roll the piece of dough toward you
  5. place the dough over a finger and turn it in the opposite direction inside out to make a hat looking shape

the ingredients to make orecchiette pasta

Other Recipes To Try

Grandma's Spaghetti and Meatballs

Pasta Fazool

Authentic Fettucine Alfredo not the American version

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pin for later on how to make orecchiette pasta

A Fun Pasta

This is a fun pasta to teach children how to make and a great family traditional memory.

It takes a few tries but once you get the hang of it, they are fun to make, delicious to eat, and a memory that lasts a lifetime in your kitchens.

This is one pasta loved through the years by all, hope you enjoy our family recipe.

Homemade Orecchiette Pasta

Homemade Orecchiette Pasta

Yield: 2 pounds
Author: Claudia Lamascolo
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 35 MinTotal time: 45 Min
This is Orecchiette pasta also know as little ears, hats, and several other nicknames. This Italian homemade pasta recipe is easy and delicious. Fresh is the best!


  • 1 cup semolina flour
  • Tip: (I keep my unused semolina in the freezer to keep it fresh)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm water, plus 3 to 4 tablespoon


  1. Mound both flours on a pastry board or work surface, make a well in the middle and add the salt.
  2. Pour in the water slowly adding the flour together. 
  3.  Turn it out onto a board and start kneading) Work the dough until no dry flour remains. 
  4. Knead until smooth and elastic. About  3 to 4 minutes. 
  5. Roll the dough into a ball and cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. 
  6. Let it rest for about 20 minutes. 
  7. When you are ready to make the orecchiette, cut off about 1/3-of the dough and roll it out into ropes.
  8. Cut the dough into 1-inch pieces. 
  9. Using a butter knife roll the piece at a 45-degree angle toward you.
  10. Turn that piece inside out using a finger in the opposite direction to form a little ear/hat shape.
  11. Place on a floured cookie sheet.
  12. Note: The pasta can be cooked right away,  stored overnight covered at room temperature or, frozen and added to freezer bags after solid.
  13. Cooking instructions:
  14. Let a 5-quart pan filled with water and a few teaspoons of salt come to a boil.
  15. Add the orecchiette and boil until they float to the top or test one for how you prefer your pasta cooked.
  16. Serve topped with Traditional  Sunday Italian Meat Sauce and sprinkle with red pepper flakes on top with grated Pecorino Romano cheese.

Nutrition Facts



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15 Favorite Easy Pasta Recipes

homemade orecchiette pasta recipe

Disclosure: This recipe was originally shared in 2010. It was edited and re-published in 2017.