This round, concave pasta is believed to have originated in Puglia, the heel of the great Italian boot. Its name, which means “little ears,” comes from its shape, which also makes it a great capturer of sauce and cheese.
A traditional recipe finishes orecchiette with broccoli raab, garlic, olive oil, anchovies and chile pepper, but this versatile little coin-shaped pasta is also suitable for use in soups or as a mac & cheese variant, among other applications.
A full quarter of the U.S. population knows it, according to marketing research firm Datassential, and 14% have tried orecchiette.
Click through the slideshow to learn more about this Flavor of the Week, including a menu idea.