Orecchiette, which means "little ears" in Italian, is a small, shell-shaped pasta that originated in Puglia, Italy. Orecchiette is a wheat pasta, commonly made with durum wheatand has a ridged exterior. It is often served with sauces and small pieces of vegetables.
As with many Southern Italian pasta dishes, orecchiette is often served with a tomato-based sauce with vegetables, such as broccoli and broccoli rabe. Orecchiette is very similar to a concave pasta called mao er duo in China, which translates to "Cat's ears."
In the United States, orecchiette pasta is available in a dried form that has to be boiled in salt water for a few minutes until itis al dente. It is usually then tossed in sauce in a skillet or bowl before serving.