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2 hours plus resting
Small and cup-shaped, orecchiette, meaning “little ears,” come from southern Italy. The pasta traditionally is made using only semolina: a strong flour milled from durum wheat with a high gluten content. Our version calls for equal parts semolina and all-purpose flour: the latter keeps the dough soft for easy workability while the former provides the structure and elasticity required for shaping it, as well as nutty-sweet flavor. Using the instructions below, the same dough can be formed into cavatelli, a small shell pasta that resembles a tiny hot dog bun, and pici, a rustic hand-rolled spaghetti. When cooking fresh orecchiette, keep in mind it will take only about five minutes to reach al dente, which is considerably less time than store-bought dried orecchiette. The pasta is best cooked within a few hours of shaping.
cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
cups semolina flour, plus more as needed and for dusting