Orecchiette is a variety of home-made pasta typical of Apulia, a region of southern Italy. Its name comes from its shape, which resembles a small ear. In the vernacular of Taranto it is called recchietedd, or chiancaredd. A slightly flatter version is called cencioni, while in the vernacular of Bari strascinate are more similar to cavatelli.
The traditional dish from Apulia is orecchiette alle cime di rapa, although broccoli
is also widely used as an alternative to rapini
. Particularly around Capitanata and Salento, orecchiette are traditionally also dressed with a tomato-based sauce, with or without miniature meatballs and/or a sprinkling of ricotta forte, a seasoned sheep-milk variety of ricotta