Thanks to a genius marketing campaign, Barilla has tricked us into thinking that Barilla is “Italian for pasta”. Actually, it is Italian for crap. REAL pasta is handmade from quality durum wheat mixed with water.
Matera is surrounded by plains that have been Italy’s breadbasket for 2000 years, once supplying the Roman Empire with large quantities of grain to feed its people and fuel its expansion. Still today, much of the wheat sold in Italy is harvested near Matera. Consequently, durum wheat pasta is ubiquitous and it is shaped into literally hundreds of forms. Perhaps the most famous are orecchiette (little ear-shaped pasta). But not to be overlooked are cavatelli (rolled up orecchitte), rascatielli (screw shaped pasta), or lagane (wide noodles). Each is served with a sauce that best complements the pasta’s shape and properties. Look for Orechhiette con peperoni cruschi (with olive oil, fried bread crumbs and deep fried sweet pepper flakes).
While in Matera, we had the opportunity to see LOTS of pasta be made. Here, a woman makes orecchioni (big ear shaped pasta), perfect for scooping up a meat ragu’.