Rosa our English, French, German and Dutch speaking Italian friend offered to teach the house guests how to make their very own orecchiette in the morning so we could enjoy the fruits of their labour at lunchtime.
She manages a few trulli in the area now and with her husband they make a good team as he has numerous relatives, one is a plumber, one an electrician, one a carpenter, one a tile layer, one a wall builder the list goes on and on.
We have said to her that being a really good cook she should offer lessons to the people staying in the trulli she looks after as well as maybe doing some cooking of local dishes for them to enjoy at dinner. She remains unconvinced but then last week 2 guests were off to Lecce for a days cooking and paying a king’s ransom and so she thought she could use the house guests as guinea pigs to see what was involved.
Casareccio as an aside is also a very good local bread sold in all the bakeries ( panificio) around us. You just ask for casareccio and whether you want half a kilo ( one loaf) or more.
The lesson begin with lots of dough being kneaded but I have shown you all how to do that anyway so no point in dragging all that out again is there ? Suffice to say kneading is an amazingly satisfying pastime as all your frustrations can be transferred into bashing the dough for about 20 minutes. The house guests really seemed to enjoy that bit, I hope they weren’t thinking of me but the was a certain glint in the eye ….. maybe I should upgrade the cheap wine I buy !
Then you roll the dough into long snakes
Rosa showed the now one house guest the other having retired to study the label on a cold beer how to do it and then let her loose.
It was at this point that Rosa realised that this teaching game might be a little test of her patience as she tried to stand back and watch the house guest attack the snake with some vengeance but maybe without lots of purpose. The mind was willing but the knife wasn’t obeying. Quite soon intervention was needed again
Now we are trying to make shapes that look like small ears but the house guest like me started to produce almost every shape other than a little ear.
Inspiration was need if this task was ever going to be finished and despite what the medical boys saying about never looking for inspiration in a bottle we needed lunch so I went to the fridge for a drop of mother’s little helper.
With the peach juice added the bellini was made. Two sips and the house guest was churning out little ears like a Ford assembly line.
Okay I admit maybe Rosa stepped in as well but I’m sure it might have been a draw as they came over the finishing line.
The water boiled and in all those little ears went. Lunch of orecchiette with sugo followed by Puglian lamb cooked with wine and herbs, chicken in wine and rosemary with potatoes, followed by fruit and cheeses. Coffee and of course a grappino or two!