CLASSIC pasta orecchiette with veal, capers and white wine








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Orecchiette (little ears) are the basic pasta dish of the Puglia region. And orchiette with some form of broccoli is, rightfully, their most famous dish. See orchiette with broccoli.

Here is an alternative -- with veal. The success of this pasta dish is the way the ingredients, especially the veal, hang on to and coat the litle ears. The other delight is to have a tender, mild ragu for this very useful pasta shape.

You can buy or make your own orecchiette. For home-made: see how to make your own egg pasta. Rather than all all-purpose flour, use half white flour and half wheat flour or semolina. When you have come to the step of having a ball of well-kneaded dough, divide the dough into four pieces. Roll each of the pieces into a sausage shape, about a half-inch in diameter. Just slice this sausage into one-quarter to one-half inch slices. You now have a lot of little round buttons, or coins. Press your thumb gently into the center of each of these little coins. Wiggle your thumb a little to get a really good impression into the coin.

>>for a similar pasta combination, see orchiette con rapa.

for the sauce:

  • two garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • three tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • one medium onion, finely diced
  • one pound ground veal
  • one-half cup white wine
  • one and one-half cups chicken stock
  • salt and pepper
  • one teaspoon chopped thyme
  • one teaspoon chopped rosemary
  • two tablespoons capers (rinsed)
  • one-half cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • one-quarter cup  parsley
  • two tablespoons butter

for the pasta:

  • one pound Italian-made orecchiette, preferably made with semolina

In a pan over medium heat, add the garlic and thirty seconds later add the onion. Cook about four minutes, until soft. Add the veal, and a teaspoon of salt and some freshly ground pepper, and saute until the veal is no longer pink. While doing this, continually work the veal with a wooden spoon to break it up.

Add the wine to the pan, over high heat, for about two minutes, until the alcohol is evaporated. Add the stock, the herbs and capers, and simmer for ten minutes. The sauce should be reduced at this time so it is no longer very liquid -- moist with some liquid but not much.

Get five quarts of water to a raging boil.. Add two tablespoons of salt. Add the orecchiette. Cook until al dente. Then drain well.

Add the pasta to the sauce. Stir. Add the parmesan, the parsley and the butter. Mix well. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper.

Cover the pan, turn the heat up to high, and steam for one minute. Your pasta will be "steaming hot"! Serve with more Parmesan.Serve.



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