homemade orecchiette with spinach, cherry tomatoes, & roasted garlic

For the longest time I've wanted to make homemade pasta. In reality, I knew it wouldn't be that difficult to do, but I kept putting it off because the thought of making it entirely from scratch did seem a bit daunting. After attempting it for the first time, I can't believe I was afraid to ever do it! I found it to be really enjoyable, and almost a bit relaxing. There are countless shapes and doughs, but I was inspired to make orecchiette by Linda Pugliese, a food photographer in NYC. I really admire her work, and when I saw her stop motion film I knew I wanted to give this shape a go. I did a Google search on how to make & shape orecchiette, and came across a Martha Stewart recipe. It seemed very straight forward, so I decided to go with it. This recipe uses a mix of AP flour and semolina, however next time I think I'm going to try all semolina. Linda was kind enough to send me a few links to videos and give me some tips to improve my orecchiette next time. Thank you again Linda!

My shaping definitely needs a bit of work. Before I got into the routine of how to shape the pasta, the first handful came out a bit flat, or the edges a bit too thick. Rather than getting discouraged, I decided to describe them as "rustic" ;)

 I halved Martha Stewart's orecchiette recipe since it was my first time making it. I cooked all of it, but didn't end up using the entire amount in my recipe. I've always been terrible at guessing how much pasta cook. I never get it right; either too much or too little! If I had realized that cooking all of the pasta would have yielded too much for my recipe, I would have froze the amount I didn't need. Instead, I just refrigerated the left over cooked pasta and tossed it with a little butter & grated parmesan the next day for lunch :)

For my recipe, I probably used about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of cooked pasta, though I honestly didn't even think about measuring. I would say to go with your gut and add as much pasta as you think fits with the amount of the other ingredients. Afterwards, you should be left with about 2 servings of my recipe. Although, two servings for some may just be one big one to others. If you're like me or my family, when we eat pasta, we really eat pasta. 

Homemade Orecchiette with Spinach, Cherry tomatoes, & Roasted garlic
yield: ~2 servings

  • ~1 1/2 to 2 cups cooked orecchiette (al dente)
  • 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 cup halved cherry/grape tomatoes
  • 4 to 5 cloves roasted garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 cup fresh baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided (if you have fresh, use it)
  • pinch of salt & freshly ground black pepper

Roasted Garlic:
Making your own roasted garlic is so much easier than you may think! Simply slice off the top of the head of garlic so that most of the cloves are exposed. Drizzle with a bit of EVOO, wrap in foil, and place in a 400 degree F oven for 20-25 minutes. The cloves will be soft, and once cooled will pop out easily from the skin.

I'm still very much in the learning stage, so I recommend heading over to Martha Stewart's site for the recipe + directions. Just remember that I halved the recipe! To cook the orecchiette, boil a pot of water, add a generous pinch of salt, and cook for about 2 minutes or until just al dente. It is fresh pasta dough so keep in mind that it cooks much faster than store-bought dried pasta.

To complete the dish:
In a medium pan over low heat, add the EVOO. Once heated, add in cherry tomatoes, roasted garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook on medium-low heat for about 5 minutes until tomatoes are soft, then add in the spinach, chopped rosemary, 1 tablespoon of the parm, and the pasta. (I use a spider strainer and go straight from the pot of pasta right into the pan.) Toss together and cook for another 2 minutes so the flavors can meld and the spinach can wilt just a little bit. Once cooked, plate and garnish with other tablespoon of grated parmesan. Enjoy!