Puglia is known for its agriculture and rural landscape; as such produce is in abundance in the heel of Italy. But their gastronomy is known for so much more too, including a pasta known as ‘orecchiette,’ which translates to “little ears.” Take a stroll through the vibrant city of Bari during our best-selling culinary vacation in Puglia, and chances are you’ll even see nonnas (grandmothers) making the ear-shaped pasta by hand.
As a pasta, orechiette can be made and served with so many other regional specialities and ingredients too (such as this asparagus recipe). But if it’s a hearty dish you’re looking for this Fall, then opt for an orechiette baresi, otherwise known as a orecchiette al ragù di braciole. Braciole are a traditional stuffed meat roll braised in sauce, which becomes a hearty condiment for pastas. While some parts of Italy will make this recipe with cavallo (horse meat), the braciole can also be made using beef.
This particular recipe comes from Chef Chiara of our Culinary Adventure in Puglia cooking vacation. Discover more about the fabulous gastronomy of the region with a culinary vacation to the heel of Italy.
Orecchiette al Ragù di Braciole
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 200 minutes
Cook method: Sauté, Simmer
- 4 Slices of beef, 10-50 g (about 1/3 oz to 1 3/4 oz) each
- Salt and pepper as needed
- 200 g (just under 1/2 lb) Pecorino Romano cheese
- 200 g Cured lard
- 10 slices of garlic
- Flat-leaf parsley as needed
- 50 g (1 3/4 oz) Parmesan cheese, grated
- 200 g (about 1) Onion, chopped
- Bay leaf as needed
- Extra virgin olive oil as needed
- 200 g (just under 7 fl oz) Red wine
- 2 kg (just under 4.5 lbs) tomato passata
- 500 g (just over 1 lb) small Baresi orecchiette
- 30 g (about 1 oz) Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
- 30 g Parmesan cheese, grated
1. Start by making the braciole by flattening the slices of meat and season with the salt and pepper.
2. On each slice of meat place a piece of pecorino cheese, a piece of lard, a slice of garlic, and some parsley.
3. Sprinkle each piece with the grated Parmesan cheese, then roll up the slices, and tie them with some white cotton or thread.
4. Next, fry the onions and bay leaf in extra virgin olive oil; add the meat rolls and brown.
5. To the pan, add the red wine. Cover the pan and let the wine reduce slowly.
6. When the wine has evaporated completely, add the tomato passata and cook very slowly for about 3 hours, or until the meat is cooked.
7. Cook the orecchiette in plenty of salted boiling water. Drain and toss in the sauce with the pecorino and Parmesan cheeses. Finish with a ladle of sauce. Serve with the meat rolls.
Sign up to receive our newsletter, which includes travel tips, recipes, promotions, and information on our best cooking vacations.