How special are our orecchiette farina arsa?By Ilyse Rathet
February 19, 2019
In their most recent issued, La Cucina Italiana magazine has recognized RITROVO® as the bold importer (only one in the U.S.) of one of Italy’s most unusual pastas: toasted wheat orecchiette or orecchiette farina arsa.
This pasta is even little known inside Italy. Even Elizabeth Minichilli – an Italy food expert and renowned author – who has lived in central Italy for years writes in her fabulous blog of them: “And all of a sudden it’s everywhere. I’ve been going down to Puglia for the last two decades, and it’s never popped up on my radar until this year”.
When we first tasted them in Puglia in 2007, served with a light sauce of zucchini flowers, fresh ricotta, and extra virgin olive oil, we fell in love with the way their rich, smoky flavor balanced well with the freshness of vegetables. Their dark color was also a welcome contrast to the omnipresent white orecchiette. And over the several years that we have imported orecchiette farina arsa, we have enjoyed many seasonally-inspired recipes. Guests to our RITROVO® table are always surprised to discover this “new” yet centuries’ old pasta cut. Most of the time these toasted “ears” of pasta are served with simple vegetarian condiments, but we found an event sponsored in the Alta Murgia region, just north of Matera in the interior hills outside Bari, where toasted wheat orecchiette were served —
With a concentrate of lamposcioni (oniony hyacinth bulbs), crispy toasted walnuts and walnut foam, topped with white truffle. Paired with Gaja Chardonnay Rossy Bass
Now that is a combination that brings this peasant-inspired pasta to a totally new culinary level. Then from our friends at Gradisca Restaurant in New York City who are featuring the pasta in this dish —
Orecchiette di Grano Arso, Fave, Salsiccia e Parmigiano Nero toasted wheat flour orecchiette pasta, fava beans, homemade pork sausage, grated black parmigiano
And from here at RITROVO®’s table a simple, seasonal recipe with our current favorite pasta.
RITROVO® Orecchiette Farina Arsa Pasta
with Peas, Maida Chicory, and Controne Hot Pepper
½ lb. bag Il Pastaio Toasted Wheat Orecchiette Pasta
3 Tbsp. Trampetti Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 cup fresh shelled peas or frozen peas
1 jar Maida Chicory in Extra Virgin Olive Oil, chopped
1 tsp. Piran Sea Salt
½ tsp. Controne Hot Pepper Flake
Pecorino Cheese to taste
Blanch peas and cool. Set aside.
Add pasta to boiling water and cook until al dente, about 18-20 minutes. Drain slightly, leaving some cooking liquid.
Place the olive oil in a sauté pan and heat to medium. Add vegetables and pasta, sauté together. Add salt and controne pepper. Allow all ingredients to blend, taste for pepper and salt. Serve hot, topped with pecorino, if desired.
Another simple way to serve this pasta is to cook al dente and toss in a pan that has simmering a mixture of Maida Golden Tomato, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, and controne hot pepper. Or, for a Pacific Northwest inspired meal, try them with poached Northwest salmon, shaved fennel, and RITROVO SELECTIONS™ Casina Rossa Fennel & Salt.