Orecchiette is Puglia’s most typical pasta. This variety is made using a special flour of toasted wheat, and is dark with a smoky after-taste.
Ingredients (serves 4):
350 g toasted wheat orecchiette
1 kg turnip tops
1 clove garlic
extra virgin olive oil
Clean the turnip tops, removing the stalks and hard leaves, then wash in plenty of fresh water. Bring plenty of salted water to the boil in a large pan and add the turnip tops, followed by the orecchiette. Heat the extra virgin olive oil with a clove of garlic and a small piece of fresh chili pepper in a large frying pan. Add the anchovies and cook on a low heat for 3 minutes. In the meantime, stir the pasta and turnip tops with a wooden spoon as they cook. When ready, drain the orecchiette and greens, transfer to the frying pan and sauté with the other ingredients for a few minutes. Serve immediately.
Toasted wheat flour tells us about the history and traditions of the peasant farmers who were too poor to buy refined flour. They collected the wheat grains left on the ground after the post-harvest stubble had been burned and then ground them to produce an ash-grey flour. Nowadays this special flour is widely appreciated and used in a great number of recipes, but it is no longer produced in the same way: the typical “smoky flavour” is created by toasting the wheat before it is ground into flour.