Homemade Orecchiette with Spinach Pecan Pesto & Gruyere



All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.


vromans front vromans back


This pasta is vegan but the sauce is not.  The sauce is, however, raw & very good for you!  The nice thing about orecchiette (little ears) is that it is a homemade pasta that doesn’t require any special tools.  It would, however, require a good 15-20 minutes of kneading the dough (which I used my bread machine for) but beyond that it is very easy.  I recently purchased a little wooden gadget to roll gnocchi on & I used it here to make these prettier but that was just goofiness.  It doesn’t effect flavor or the ability of the pasta to capture sauces.  This is a SUPER easy entry level pasta & an even easier sauce.  TRY IT!



Homemade Orecchiette with Spinach Pecan Pesto & Gruyere


2 cups flour

1 cup semolina flour

3/4 cup plus 4 TBS water

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup pecans – toasted til fragrant in a dry pan

1/2 cup olive oil

3 garlic cloves (or less – to taste)

2 packed cups spinach

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

1/2 cup gruyere cheese – grated – as garnish

parsley – chopped – as garnish

Additional fresh spinach – chopped – as garnish

S&P to taste

additional water for the pesto


Toast the pecans in a dry pan until they are fragrant (a few minutes) making sure they do not burn.  Put the toasted pecans, olive oil, garlic, spinach, Parmesan & about 1 tsp each of salt & pepper in a food processor & blend until smooth.  Add water if necessary to get a nice smooth consistency.  Set aside.


To make the pasta – either blend the flours & salt in a deep bowl, create a well, add the water & blend & knead until you have a soft & pliable dough that is no longer sticky.  Additional flour might be needed to lose all tackiness.

Alternately – put the ingredients in a bread machine & use the pasta dough setting & let the machine mix & knead the dough.  This is genius and a bread machine only costs about $100 – and I use mine ALL THE TIME for bread, pasta & pizza doughs.


Once you have your dough, break of hunks & roll them into long snakes about 1/4-1/2 inch thick.  Cut these into 1/2 inch pieces & then with your finger tip or other small round thing – create little ears with each of the small bits.


Initially, I used my finger tip


Until I spied this hanging from an old Orangecello bottle & used this for the rest


Allow these to dry on wax or parchment paper (or a floured surface) for 3-4 hours.


If you happen to have one of these


You can roll the backside of each piece over it for this look


To cook – boil water & add the orecchiette & cook until they all float to the surface – typically well under a minute.  Drain & mix with the pesto & top with chopped fresh spinach, parsley & grated Gruyere.  Take pictures & post all over Instragram & Facebook & Tweet immodestly of your culinary achievement!



4 thoughts on “Homemade Orecchiette with Spinach Pecan Pesto & Gruyere

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