These little ears create perfect pockets for catching sauce
1 cup unbleached flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 to 5 ounces water
1. In a large bowl, mix together the flour and salt. Add in water until a fairly dry dough is formed. Turn out onto a floured board, and knead for 10 minutes, or until smooth and firm.
2. Cut dough in 2 pieces, and roll each piece into a long cylinder, about 1/2 inch in diameter. Cut the cylinders crosswise into small pieces, making a cut every 1/4 inch or so. With your fingers, round out each little piece of dough until it's a small circle, about 1/8 inch thick and 2/3 inch in diameter. Let stand on kitchen counter, in a single layer, for 15 minutes.
3. After 15 minutes, flip each piece of dough over. Now, working on the counter, press your thumb into the center of each one, creating a depression. When you've finished, let them rest on the counter for 1 hour.
4. After 1 hour, pick up 1 orecchiette, place it in your palm, and depress it again (in the same spot) with your thumb. You should now have a fairly deep depression. Return the orecchiette to the counter, depression side down, and continue with the rest until all of the orecchiette are done.
5. You can cook the orecchiette immediately, but we like the texture better if they dry for a few hours. Cook in a large pot of boiling water until just tender, about 7 to 8 minutes.
We've experimented with various flours in making these, and find plain old unbleached white flour to be the best. Because of the various stages of drying involved, you'll need to start making the orecchiette at least 3 hours before it's time to serve them. Serves 2