/Pasta in Matera

Pasta in Matera

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’.

2016-01-07T14:39:13+00:00 April 21st, 2008|Categories: Basilicata, Carbs, Food & Wine, Gastronomic Traditions|6 Comments


  1. cinzia rascazzo April 25, 2009 at 4:10 pm - Reply

    Hello Katie!
    I love your blog!
    I am from Puglia so very closed to Matera. In Puglia we also make different kinds of orecchiette: the size of the orecchiette pasta can be smaller or larger changing from town to town…even from family to family….. I have never seen such big orecchiette before. They must have been fantastic! I love all food from Matera!

    • Katie April 25, 2009 at 7:36 pm - Reply

      @Cinzia I love the variation of sizes and shapes (and even ingredients) of pasta from place to place! Have you ever had orecchiette al grano arso (made with burnt flour)? I have found it in Andria. They are amazing.

  2. cinzia rascazzo April 26, 2009 at 8:13 pm - Reply

    I live in Lecce and here our tradition is to make orecchiette with barley (orzo), which gives lots of flavor. Because of the barley they get much darker, almost brownish.

    Yes, I have had the orecchiette with grano arso. Fantastic!….and I know which restaurant you are talking about. Last time I went there, I had the orecchiette with the fava beans and the amazing extra virgin olive oil on top. I am an extra virgin olive oil taster…and when I go to Andria for my tastings…I am just in PARADISE! The cuisine, the cheese..the mozzarella..the bread..the wines..the olive oil!

  3. Katie April 27, 2009 at 1:39 am - Reply

    @cinzia i love the orecchiette leccesi. im heading down to puglia next week and will compare and contrast pasta fatta in casa in andria, bari and lecce and report back my findings!

  4. cinzia rascazzo April 29, 2009 at 2:40 pm - Reply

    hello Katie! it would be nice to meet you in Lecce in case you have some free time. send me an email, in case!

    • Katie April 29, 2009 at 9:16 pm - Reply

      @cinzia spero di scendere o domenica o lunedi’. ti faccio sapere e prendiamo un bel caffe ad Avio (dopo il gelato di Natale, naturalmente).

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