Cooking time? 10-15 minutes, depending upon the brand. Or less, if you make them yourself from soft wheat flour.
Possible substitutions: Conchiglie (shells -- small ones), farfalle, cavatelli.
Orecchiette are especially renowned as being an accompaniment for broccoli rabe, but do nicely with other things too, for example black olives. To serve 4 you'll need:
- 1 pound (400 g) orecchiette
- 6 ounces (150 g) pitted sweet black olives, chopped
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- A small bunch parsley, leaves stripped from the stems and minced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste diluted in 2 tablespoons water, or 4 tablespoons tomato sauce
In the meantime, sauté the garlic in the olive oil, add the olives, and continue to simmer. When they have cooked somewhat, stir in the tomato and continue to simmer. Drain the pasta, heat it through with the sauce, dust it with the minced parsley, and serve.
More about Orecchiette and other recipes for them.
More About Pasta Shapes