Cavatelli: Traditional recipes from Puglia

Puglia’s cuisine is deeply steeped in the region’s agricultural tradition and an instinct for self-sufficiency. As such many of the most representative dishes have their origins in “cucina povera”, making use of whatever is at hand or that can be picked from the garden or even the hedgerow!  A classic example of this is Puglia’s signature dish is: capunti (or cavatelli)
Simple in the extreme but absolutely delicious!

Ingredients: 750g durum wheat semola flour, 250g finely ground semolina flour, water as required.
Make a pyramid of the flours, add water into a well at the top.
Mix then knead the dough until it is smooth and soft. Cover and leave to rest for a few minutes.
Pull off a piece at a time and working on a floured pastry-board, roll out ropes of pasta.

Cut off pieces 2-3 cm long and using your first three fingers, dig into the pieces lengthways until the edges roll back together.

Pasta alla crudaiola

Ingredients: pasta, oil, capers, basil, oregano, a clove of garlic, salt, tomatoes thinly sliced.

Crudaiola pasta is a very fresh dish, ideal for summer period. 
I prefer to make it with “orecchiette”, that is a a kind of home-made pasta typical of Puglia or Apulia, a region of southern Italy.  Its name comes from its shape, which resembles a small ear.
I must admit that “orecchiette” are very expensive here in London, but sometimes I let myself by tempted by them.
You will find this receipt very easy, fresh and fast to be prepared. Ingredients’ quantity is approximate: you can choose, it depends on your tastes, if to increase or reduce the desired spices’ quantity.
So let’s start to place a pot covered with water on the burner until it starts boiling. Put the “orecchiette” in the pot (cooking time is usually written on the package). When pasta is cooked, drain it and let it chill a bit.
For the condiment you can use simple and easy to find ingredients: oil, capers, basil, oregano, a clove of garlic, salt, tomatoes thinly sliced. Combine all the ingredients together and let it marinate for half an hour.
Put pasta with the condiment and mix up all well together. You will obtain a very colorful and tasty dish! 

Veggie Gnocchi

Ingredients for 2 persons:

To make gnocchi: 

-500 gr of white pastry floury potatoes
-150 gr of white or whole wheat flour
(Change the dose of the flour if you use a different kind of potatoes). 

To make tomato sauce:
-500 gr of cherry tomatoes
-1/2 of onion
– Just enough extra virgin olive oil and salt 
– 2 or 3 basil leaves 
– Chilli pepper or pepper as required


Wash potatoes carefully and cook them in boiling water for around 30 minutes. 
Try to stick into them with a fork to verify if they are cooked. 
When they are cooked, peel them and use a potato masher. Let them cool down a 
bit, until they get to room-temperature. Then flavour them with a pinch of salt 
and add a part of flour. 
Knead them and, little by little, add the rest of the flour. Continue to knead 
potatoes until you will obtain a compact and slightly modelling block. Remember 
not to knead neither a too soft, nor a too solid block. 
Divide the block into small pieces. Try to produce from the block long thin 
stripes by rolling over the block on the table, where to arrange them. Help 
yourself with you hands. Do not forget to cover in flour both the table and 
your hands. 
Cube ½ of onion and sear it in a frying pan covered with a very little of 
olive oil; then add cherry tomatoes and 2-3 basil leaves. Add a  pinch of salt 
and flavour it with chilli pepper or pepper, as required. Cook it slowly for 
almost 20 minutes. As the sauce gets ready, put on the stove a pot filled with 
water, add some salt when water boils and put gnocchi in hot water. When they 
come above water, it means they are ready. Drain them with the help of a 
drilled fork, put them in dishes, add tomato sauce and…