Terra Madre's Orecchiette with Pistachio

I don’t travel much.  When I do, I try to get the most out of it.  A full blown food-escapade is a must.  This month is big for the Italians because it is the month of Ferragosto, the summer vacation in Mid-August.  Almost the entire Italy is off work and most people gather with their loved ones for a getaway.  Some prefer the mountains and some go to the beaches.  Marco and I headed down south to explore the great region of Puglia.  

Because it was a last-minute sorta thing, most trullo houses were already booked.  Luckily, we found a real cute B&B called Kama in Cisternino.  We met a lot of kind and genuine people during our stay.  Our host, Brigida, was super sweet.  We got along with her daughter, Alessia, and Alessia’s boyfriend, Giuseppe very well.  We had such awesome time hanging out together.  They showed us so many great places and restaurants to visit.  What a beautiful bunch.  Our stay at Kama was calm and peaceful, exactly what we needed.  We slept like babies every night.  It is definitely a place where we would want to return to.  

To me, traveling is not just about mere sightseeing.  It is the culmination of all the littlest things and interactions with the locals there.  These special encounters not only touched my heart but got me teary sometime.  Only because I wanted to hold onto those special moments so badly and knowing that I could just store them in that special place of my heart.  That is what my kind of traveling is like.   

My recipe here was inspired by this cute little restaurant called Terra Madre Antipasteria in Cisternino.  Terre Madre serves only a set menu of Puglia’s traditional antipasti so you don’t even need to think what to eat.  Just sit and enjoy the wonderful surprises that come to you.  

Puglia, good-bye until then. 

Orecchiette is a popular home-made pasta in Puglia.  The name itself means little ears in Italian and you could see why the pasta is shaped like ears.  

Terra Madre's Orecchiette with Pistachio

Servings: 1 person

Preparation Time: less than 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients: 

1 handful pistachio, finely chopped or blended with a blender

1/2 cup grated parmesan

100g buckwheat orecchiette

1 small cup green olives, deseeded and finely chopped 

1 small garlic clove, finely chopped

1-2 sun-dried tomato, finely chopped

1/4 cup breadcrumbs

1/2 tsp dried mixed herbs (optional)

extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions: 

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to boil.  Cook the pasta according its packaging label.  It usually takes around 12-15 minutes.  Drain pasta a minute before its cooking time.  Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
  2. Preheat a saucepan with olive oil on medium-low heat, cook garlic 1-2 minutes.  Add sun-dried tomato, green olives, and a little sprinkle of the dried mixed herbs.  Stir and cook for about 3-5 minutes until they turn golden.  Heat off.  
  3. Add cooked pasta and pasta water to the saucepan on medium heat.  Mix well.  
  4. Add breadcrumbs, pistachio, and parmesan.  Season.  Mix well.  Heat off.  Transfer the pasta to a plate and eat it right away (garnish with more chopped pistachio and dried herbs if desire)!

Terra Madre's Orecchiette with Pistachio

Nonne making children-sized orecchiette for their grandchildren.

Alberobello - not a bad place to grow old with friends

Ostuni - man pondering

Angels everywhere

Our usual route through Torre Canne to our favorite beach

L'oasi Del Riccio - the perfect paradise for sea urchin lovers.  Don't let the settings fool you.  Seafood here is Aaaaaa-mazing!  There must be a reason why all the locals go there. :) 

Matera - a city that is hard to forget.  

Kama - I loved everything that's there.  

Outside of our room

Not just an ordinary B&B, Kama also offers Ayurvedic massages for the tired souls.  

These are the little gems I got from my beautiful friend, Alessia.   PHYSIS - made from all natural ingredients.  No funky additives that I don't know or can't pronounce.  I especially loved the after-sun lotion; could really feel the difference in the next morning.  

Terra Madre Antipasteria's contact fyi.  Highly recommend.  Please say hi to Daniel the great singer if you are there.  Promise you would melt to his singing.  ;)