Homemade Orecchiette Pasta
Mario Batali's Orecchiette with Romano Beans
- For the Orecchiette:
- 2 cups Semolina Flour
- 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1-1 1/4 cups tepid Water
For the Sauce:
- 4 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 pound Romano Beans (topped and cut into 1/2-inch pieces)
- 1/2 stalk Celery (thinly sliced)
- 2 Serrano Chilies (thinly sliced)
- 1 Onion (cut into 1/2-inch dice)
- 1 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Caciocavallo Cheese (plus more to garnish)
For the Shaved Fennel Salad:
- 1 Gennel bulb (thinly sliced)
- 1 Lemon (zest and juice)
- 1/8 cup fresh Mint leaves (torn)
- Olive Oil
- For the Orecchiette: Mound the flour in the center of a large wooden cutting board. Make a well in the center of the flour and add water a little at a time, stirring with your hands until a dough is formed. As you incorporate the water, keep pushing the flour up to retain the well shape (do not worry if it looks messy). The dough will come together in a shaggy mass when about half of the flour is incorporated. You may need more or less water, depending on the humidity in your kitchen.
- Start kneading the dough with both hands, primarily using the palms of your hands. Once the dough is a cohesive mass, remove the dough from the board and scrape up any left over dry bits. Lightly flour the board and continue kneading for 3 more minutes. The dough should be elastic and a little sticky. Continue to knead for another 3 minutes, remembering to dust your board with flour when necessary. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and set aside for 10 minutes at room temperature. Roll and form as desired.
- Roll dough into long dowels about 3 to 4 inches thick. Cut into flat disks about 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch thick. Press center of each disk with thumb to form saucer-shaped pasta and set aside until ready to cook.
- Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and season very generously with salt until it tastes like the sea. Cook the fresh orechiette for 2 to 3 minutes or until al dente. Drain.
- For the Sauce: In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat, add the beans, celery and peppers to the pan and do not disturb. Cook for 30 seconds then lay the onions on top and do not disturb the pan. After 2 minutes toss the ingredients in the pan and season with salt and red pepper flakes. Saute for 2 to 3 more minutes before loosening with a ladle or two or pasta water. Then add the pasta, loosening with a bit of the pasta cooking water if necessary. Add fresh caciocavallo cheese and serve.
- For the Shaved Fennel Salad: Toss together the fennel, lemon juice and zest, mint and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt.
- Helpful Tips:
- 1. This pasta is vegan -- it calls for semolina flour, all-purpose flour, and water.
2. Don’t move the Romano beans around in the pan. This way the beans char on one side and become ten times more flavorful. If you cannot find Romano beans, you can substitute either green beans or wax beans.
3. If you are worried about the spice level of this dish, you can take the seeds out of the Serrano peppers.
4. Use some of the pasta water as a base for the sauce because it is already starchy and salty.
5. If you can’t find Caciocavallo cheese, you can use Pecorino Romano instead.