For the Orecchiette:
- 4 cups semolina flour
- ¾ cup of warm water
For the tomato sauce:
- 4 ¼ cups of tomato sauce
- 5 tablespoons of olive oil
- Half an white or yellow onion, chopped
For the meat rolls:
- thinly sliced beef steak in roughly rectangular shape
- grated parmesan
For the Polpette di pane Fritte: (Fried Bread Balls) – optional
- 2 pounds of stale bread
- 3 cups of milk
- 6 eggs
- 5 or 6 tablespoons of grated parmesan
- Chopped parsley
- Olive oil
On a clean surface, pile the flour and dig a well in the middle. Add the water gradually, mixing it with the flour continuously until it forms a dough. Then knead for about 10 minutes, or until you have a firm and smooth dough. To make the pasta, dust the surface with flour, take a chunk of the dough and roll it into a long, thick sausage shape about 1cm in diameter. Cut them with a knife in 1cm thick slices. To shape it, take the slice of dough and roll it on the flat surface with a knife to curl the pasta. Then place it over your thumb and turn it inside out.
Once done, let the orecchiette rest to dry for about 1 hour. Once ready to cook it, boil the orecchiette in salt water for 5 minutes.
Next, prepare the meat rolls, lay the flattened steak on a plate, add salt and pepper, then sprinkle a good handful of grated parmesan, and finish with some parsley. Fold the meat on each side towards the center and roll the length, keep the shape with the help of 2 toothpicks. Set aside and get started on the tomato sauce.
Start by frying the onions in olive oil in a deep pan. Once softened and transparent, add the meat rolls and let them cook for a few minutes. Finally, add the tomato sauce, salt and pepper to taste and add the basil, and let simmer on low to medium heat for an hour and a half.
In the meantime, if feeling particularly festive you can also include the Polpette di pane Fritte (fried Bread balls) or have them as a side dish. Either way they are delicious.
For the bread balls, mix all the ingredients together until you obtain a soft dough. Then, by using your hands or 2 tablespoons, spoon a small quantity of dough and roll it into a ball. Fry the bread balls into boiling oil until they are golden, brown and crispy on the outside.
To serve, pour the tomato sauce and 1 or 2 meat rolls and polpettte di pane onto a deep plate of orecchiette.