If you have idle hands this lockdown, or want to create a meal the whole bubble can participate in, look no further than Pici’s Orecchiette with silverbeet, chilli, garlic and anchovies. The popular K’ Road Italian eatery — pronounced pea-chee — has shared its simply delicious seasonal recipe, which is made in two parts. The most important, the hand-made orecchiette, is a ‘piccolo’ pasta that’s name means ‘little ear’ in its native tongue. And, we can attest, it’s oddly satisfying rolling these tasty morsels into shape. Practice makes perfect, and there is a video on Pici’s Instagram highlight reels to show you the technique for the recipe below.
Orecchiette with Silverbeet, Chilli, Garlic & Anchovies Recipe
250ml hot water
130 ml extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp chilli flakes
7 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 large bunch of silverbeet, roughly chopped
Salt, to taste
Part one: Make the orecchiette
1. Pour semolina on a flat surface and make a well in the centre.
2. Slowly add water a little at a time while mixing together.
3. Once combined, knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it is smooth and firm.
4. Wrap in a reusable plastic bag and rest for 1 hour.
5. After the dough has rested, slice and roll into cylinders. Then cut the cylinders into even, small sections.
6. Now to make the pasta shape. Take one piece and hold the knife at a 45-degree angle to your workbench and press and roll to make the shape of a small ear.
7. It will take a few to get the hang of it and it might be ugly, but that’s okay! Keep practising.
8. Sprinkle your orecchiette with semolina and set aside.
Part two: Silverbeet, chilli, garlic sauce
1. In a cold pan add your extra virgin olive oil, chilli flakes and sliced garlic.
2. Cook on low-to-medium heat until garlic is golden. Keep stirring and do not burn.
3. Once garlic is golden add a splash of water and the anchovies. Cook and stir in until dissolved then set aside.
4. Bring a large pot of water to the boil.
5. Season with salt to taste. (Very important.)
6. Boil silverbeet for 4 minutes then place in the pan with the garlic mixure.
7. Add orecchiette to the pot of boiling water and stir. (Use the same water you cooked the silverbeet in.)
8. Wait for them to float and then cook for a further 2 minutes.
9. Scoop out the orecchiette and add into the silverbeet pan with half a cup of the pasta water.
10. Bring to the boil while stirring and reduce to your preferred sauce thickness.
11. Taste and season with lemon and salt.
12. Plate and enjoy!
Pici Tip: If you’ve never made orecchiette before, it might take 5, 10 or even 20 times to get the hang of it. Our advice is to take your time, enjoy the process and do what feels right to you.