For a hearty portion of semolina pasta, use 3.5 oz (99 g) semolina flour and ¼ tsp kosher salt per person.
Combine with half as much hot water, by weight. Semolina flour, also labeled as ‘semola rimacinata’, is slightly finer and more pale than semolina and is found near other Italian products. ‘Rimacinata’ translates to “re-milled”. If using semolina, hold back a bit of the water while mixing. Semolina dough is stickier and less sturdy than dough made with semolina flour. This homemade pasta is best made with company. Invite a few helping hands to shape the dough with you in a fraction of the time.
How to Make It
- 14 oz (397 g) semolina flour/semola rimacinata, about 2 ⅔ cup, plus more for dusting
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- Add semolina flour and salt to a large work surface. A large wooden board is preferable. Stir together with a fork to combine. Form a large well in center.
- Measure 7 oz (198 g) hot water. Add water to well. Gradually stir semola flour into water with a fork. Switch to a kneading motion to absorb all semolina flour into dough. Continue to knead until the dough is smooth and a fingerprint springs back when dough is poked, about 5 minutes more.
- Wrap tightly, then let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes or up to 12 hours.
- Generously sprinkle semolina over a baking sheet or tray. Set aside. Working with a quarter of dough at a time, roll into a ½-inch wide rope. Cover remaining dough. Cut rope into ½-inch pillows.
- With the cutting edge of a butter knife, press down firmly on one dough pillow, pulling towards you to create a scroll. Continue with remaining pillows. Unfurl each scroll over your thumb to create the ‘ear’ shape of orecchiette. Transfer orecchiette to baking sheet and toss to coat in semolina.
- Continue with remaining dough. Cook right away or let stand uncovered at room temperature, tossing occasionally in semolina, up to 1 day ahead.
If you have a gnocchi board, prepare this dough as cavatelli instead! Roll each pillow of dough over the gnocchi board with your thumb. Fresh cavatelli is slightly thicker and takes about 4 minutes to cook to al dente.
How to enjoy it
To cook, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add orecchiette then stir to prevent sticking. Cook until al dente, 2 to 3 minutes. Reserve 1 cup pasta water, then drain orecchiette.