REVIEW: Homemade orecchiette with SACLA sun-dried tomato pesto

After chatting to the nice peeps at @SaclaUK and discussing my lovely to trip Matera, they offered to send me some lovely products to review. Given that I’m a bit of an Italian Food Lover I decided that I wanted to have a go at making my own orecchiette, one of my favourite regional pastas that I tried in Matera.

Orecchiette is a ‘little ear’ shaped pasta, from the Puglia region originally I think. It’s an eggless pasta, so it’s really simple to make and you can freeze the dough before cooking if you like – or maybe dry it.

How I did it!
Stick some plain flour in the food processor. 
Add a pinch of salt and slowly dribble in warm water until a soft ball of dough comes together. 
I just used a mug to measure it out – it was about 2 mugs of flour to about 1/2 mug of water.
 Cut your dough into manageable chunks and roll each chunk into a sausage.
I found my orecchiette were a little big, so I’d recommend a 1.5cm diameter sausage!
Cut your sausage into little chunks.
 This is the fun bit. Use your thumb to press down each chunk.
It’s a sort of press, then drag motion.
Ta da! Little Ears!
I found the more I made the easier and quicker I got.
Practice makes perfect!
Meanwhile, we fried up some onions, garlic, bacon, courgette and sausage meat in a frying pan.
As orechiette are concave, they suit a nice chunky sauce and we wanted something tasty to bulk out our lovely Sacla Sun Dried Tomato Pesto.  The pesto was a lovely deep red and a tantalising smell arose when I opened the jar. I do love pesto!
I put the orecchiette into water at a rolling boil for about 10 minutes. 
When it was cooked it all rose to the top of the pan.
After draining the cooked pasta I added about half the jar of pesto and all my tasty fried bits.
Et voila! Random pasta complete! The orecchiette was really tasty. It had a satisfying amount of bit to it and picked the sauce up really well. The pesto had a really tasty flavour – not too strong a tomato flavour, but punchy enough to hold its own, even with a smidge of smoked bacon thrown in there.
The texture of the pesto was perfect for this recipe too. It really coated all the pasta with a decent layer, so every piece of pasta had flavour to it. And it wasn’t too salty which I was really pleased about. With the bacon and the pesto I didn’t add any salt elsewhere and the flavour was just right. Well, after a twist of black pepper of course!

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