Orecchiette (often called "little ears") is one of those pasta shapes that most people have never seen or used. This recipe, inspired by a dish by one of our favorite Food Network chefs, Giada De Laurentis,is great served on these cooler autumn nights. Susan started by making the recipe shown here as indicated, something she had done numerous times in the past. When using panko bread crumbs like we do, be sure to add some Italian seasoning to the bread crumbs. We like the brand from Pampered Chef. Rolly of course decided he could improve on it and make it even better (hard to believe, since the recipe is really really good as is). He thought about the typical things you'd find on an antipasto platter and selected and prepared the additional ingredients
- cherry tomatoes, halved
- green onions, sliced on the diagonal
- salami, cut into matchstick sized pieces
- kalamta olives (pitted) and slightly smashed with the side of a French knife
- artichoke hearts, halved
- mozzarella cheese, cubed
Customize this recipe as desired, using the ingredients you like. Just use your imagination. Use a variety of olives (just be sure they're pitted). Sliced raw mushrooms or marinated mushrooms (halved) would be nice in this, as well as roasted red pepper strips. Instead of just using salami, try a variety of Italian meats like mortadella, soppressata, or cappicolla. Pepperoni would be good, too. Like pepperoncino peppers? Add them! Just think about color, size and shape when choosing your ingredients. Remember, as another of our favorite Food Network chefs Guy Fieri says, you eat first with your eyes. And this dish is truly a visual feast!