How to Make Fresh Pasta: Cavatelli and Orecchiette

In the following article we are going to discover together one of the dishes that best represents Italian tradition: fresh pasta! More precisely, we are going to see how to make handmade cavatelli and orecchiette, two types of pasta that are very famous, especially in Puglia.

Facts and Preparation of the Cavatelli and the Orecchiette 

Before reading the procedure for the preparation, we bring you a little quiz about some facts regarding these types of fresh pasta. If you want to know the answers, watch the video related to this article.

1) The National Day dedicated to the cavatelli is on:

A) January 3rd

B) There’s not a National Day dedicated to the cavatelli

C) July 15th

2) Why are they called like that? 

A) Because, originally, they were eaten inside a cave/quarry

B) Because of their hollowed shape

C) Because, originally, they were prepared with cauliflower flour

3) What’s the typical and traditional food the orecchiette are cooked with, in the city of Bari? 

A) Chicory

B) Turnip tops

c) Broccoli

4) What’s the typical place, in the city of Bari, where you can buy the handmade orecchiette?

A) Off the streets

B) In the first supermarket born in the city of Bari

C) In a garage

Ok, now let’s get serious:


A recipe for 3 people requires:

– 300 g semolina

– 150 ml of water

– flour as needed

Preparation of the Cavatelli and/or Orecchiette

– Pour in the semolina on a cooking bench and dig a little well in the middle of it (give the shape of a fountain)

– Fill the well with some water (but not all the water at your disposal)

– Use a smoothed-edge knife to move the semolina in the well filled with water

– Knead with your hands and pour the rest of the water

– Keep kneading with the help of your fists

– Once you get a homogeneous mixture, knead with the palm of your hand

– Form the dough in the shape of a ball and place it on a floured surface

– Cut pieces of dough (4 or 5)

– Form long rolls (about 1cm thick) (make sure that the surface is floured all the time)

– Place the rolls you’ve got on the same level on your surface and sprinkle them with flour

– Start cutting the rolls in order to get some squares of dough (1×1 cm)

– Use your middle finger to give the square the right shape, making them slither on the plane

(In order to make the orecchiette, you need to follow the same procedure, but at the time of giving shape to the squares of dough, with the help of your knife you have to make them slither on your surface and curl your index around them, then you have to use your thumb to give them the typical “gobbetta” (hump))

– Let them dry out for a couple of hours

Now, you just have to to cook your cavatelli/orecchiette as you prefer, perhaps with some string beans, hard ricotta cheese, tomato sauce and basil, in order to “taste the colors of the Italian flag”. If then you want to test your talent in the kitchen, you can take a look at our video on how to prepare the “focaccia barese”! It is a real delight!

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