Apulian Menù. The Orecchiette with brasciole

The Orecchiette con brasciole is a real classical menu in Puglia. It’s very common to smell this particular meat sauce on Sundays along the streets of our neighbor towns, prepared with the traditional hand-made orecchiette by our mothers’ and gradmothers’ hands.

Let’s start to prepare this typical Apulian menù.

Look here for vegetarian solutions>>>

What you need

A basic ingredient, the meat. In Puglia is usual to choose among three different kind of meat: veal, pork and horse. During our classes we use exclusively veal. Ask to the butcher for a compact piece of meat (the thigh) with a thickness of 2/3 mm.

  • Meat (1 piece for each person or more)
  • the 4 ingredients (see below) for stuffing
  • additional garlic or onion
  • toothpicks
  • pan with high edge
  • sauce (1 lt. for 4 persons) – I suggest to prefer “Mutti” sauce, a nice sweet sauce, here the link to website>>>
  • red or white wine (we prefer Primitivo, Negramaro, or a full-bodied and scented white wine)
  • salt

The four ingredients (stuffing)

  • garlic or onion
  • parcely or celery
  • pecorino cheese (minimun 6 months aged)
  • hot chili pepper (discard it if you din’t like chili)
  • Let be clear about the quantity of ingredients. Somewhere there’s a recipe with a clear indications of grams and liters but I’ve learned from my grand-mother the value of “un pò“, that’s to say “a little bit”, interpreted as a pinch or a palm or a full palm. So, I ever suggest to… follow your heart, your feelings and sometimes what you have into the fridge 😉

Procedure for meat stuffing

The cut of thigh can generate a large slice or a slender one. In this last case, extend the meat (it is elastic) with light pinches to the outside. Arrange it vertically lengthwise. In this way, it will be more comfortable rolling the slice.

Mince the four ingredients and put them in the middle of meat then overlap one side on the other. Roll it up, starting from the bottom. It should be tight so that the ingredients would not come out during cooking.

Close the meat with toothpicks crossing the slice.

The number of toothpicks can variate and we use them to distinguish the pieces of meat in case of different ingredients.

Cooking the meat

The Italian way of cooking is usually adding the ingredients one at a time. Into a pan with high edge put some olive oil and some pieces of garlic (or onion, it depends on your preference) and let brown for a while. It should only assume a golden color and don’t let it burn. Use all the time a low heat.

Add the “brasciole” to the oil with garlic for few minutes, turning them frequently making them brown on all sides and not to burn (burning will make the meat hard). Add some red/white wine, whose quantity depends on your… feelings.

Remember: in the South we never follow receipe but we are guided by our emotions…..

Increase the heat and cook for few minutes to let the alcohol evaporate and when it lp to caramelizes, add the sauce. Decrease the heat and let cook for almost 2 hours adding “some” salt and occasionally water if you see that the sauce has reduced lot. Halfway through cooking add some basil leaves.

A secret: for the last addition of water: mix into the sauce one ladles of the cooking pasta water. The starch wll help to thicken the sauce.

Use the sauce to season the Orecchiette for the first course and eat the brasciole as a second course. Don’t forget the “scarpetta” with a good pugliese bread…

Buon appettito!


Our sauce is made by using a specific tomato, the “San Marzano” variety, a long toamto with an intense flavorand a particularly firm and pulpy texture. It was tipical of the town of San Marzano near Taranto, Sava and Manduria, the same area in which the Primitivo wine is produces with its intense and strong taste.

Related articles:

>>The sauce (coming soon)

>> How to prepare “Orecchiette con cime di rapa” (coming soon)

>> How to prepare “Orecchiette with breadcrumb” (coming soon)


Basilica san nicola bari

#KingArthur #SaintNicolas #Bari #Otranto #Apulianlegends

King Arthur really came in Apulia?

basilica san nicola b ari

Some elements would suggest that the legendary son of King Uther Pendragon, passed through Puglia … In the archivolt, called the Lion’s Gate, of the 12th century Basilica of Saint Nicolas in Bari you can see the sovereign with his knights of the Round Table.

The scene represented in the entire archivolt tells the story of a siege of a castle that has nothing to do with religious worship.

Basilica san nicola bari

What is most disconcerting is that the first to spread the story of the Arthurian king was Chrétien de Troyes in the 12th century. But the legend arrived in Italy a century later while the Basilica was built in 1087 when some merchants brought the remains of the saint, 700 years earlier the Christian bishop of Myra.

How then is such an advance possible? There was already an oral tradition that Chretien limited himself to writing. But why in the archivolt of the basilica?

Traces of King Arthur are also found in Otranto, a port of great importance in the Middle Ages from where the fleets strated to reach the Holy Land. The city is also sadly famous for the massacre carried out by the Turks in 1480 who killed the bishop, the clergy and the people and beheaded the 800 survivors who have gone down in history as the Martyrs of Otranto. The ossuaries of the victims are kept in the chapel of the martyrs in the cathedral, on the central floor of which the tree of life is depicted.

King Arthur is also present in the mosaic. Made by Brother Pantaleone between 1163 and 1165, it places the king among the Old Testament’s characters, with the scepter, the crown and pointed shoes. Why did Pantaleone insert the British king there? Perhaps because at that time the king even represented the search for the Grail. The myth of the Grail is frequent in Breton literature for it was considered one of the greatest ideals of chivalry, but why is it so present also in Apulia?

In the mosaic King Arthur fights with a cat. Following the legend to find the Grail you had to be pure and according to some authors of the Middle Ages, the king was not so he was attacked by the cat of Lausanne, one of the symbols of evil. But in the mosaic King Arthur is thrown and killed by the cat while above the king there is a naked character, symbol of pure man. It could be Gilead, son of Lancelot and Guinevere who according to tradition will conquer the Grail.

But there is another question: the date of construction of the mosaic ( between 1163 and 1165) makes it clear that the Breton history was already far-reaching at the end of the 12th century and reached remote lands from the places of origin. An incredibly short amount of time.

A question that we leave to historians.

The Apulian Omphalos, the Templars and the black Virgin

The Omphalos, in Greek means navel and indicates a sacred center, a place where the divine meets the ground. There are many omphalos in the world. In Italy, the tradition is linked to many symbols worked by man, like circular boulders.

Often they are represented by obelisks, menhirs, wells or by the strange symbol of the triple enclosure, which can be traced in many places considered sacred, which consists of 3 concentric squares and segments that join the median points of the sides.

These and other mysterious symbols are present in Sovereto, a small hamlet in the municipality of Terlizzi, in the province of Bari. Terlizzi, in the province of Bari, is one of the most fascinating and mysterious places in Puglia, along the ancient Appian Way a crossroads for pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land.

Since the protohistoric period, the site had to be considered an “Omphalos“, a projection on earth of a celestial center, the “place” where the gods dwell in a concept similar to that of the Homeric Ogigia, the place where human and divine can dialogue.

Moreover, in the neighboring countryside we find the signs of ancient rituals: four menhirs aligned, a small leys certainly much denser in the past .

Etymologically, for various scholars, the origin of the name of Sovereto would seem to come from “Suberitum” (lat.), that is from suber (lat.), cork while someone else derives the origin from “erected above”, but above what? What’s in the underground?

According to a legend, around the year 1000 a farmer found an icon of the Madonna and a lighted lamp in a cave. On the area was erected the church of Santa Maria di Sovereto. The effigy was a Black Madonna.

Towards the end of 1100 the site had become so important that two convent communities were built, that of the nuns of San Marco and the Knights Hospitallers of San Giovanni (the Knights Templars). Once the fame of this sanctuary became known, all those who went to Jerusalem passing through the Appian Way, very close to our sanctuary, did not fail to enter it.

Into the Church of Santa Maria di Sovereto there are many traces and clues, sometimes hidden that would make us think of a settlement of the Knights of the Temple: apart the many crosses outside and inside the church there are

also five tombstones of which three represent knights with insignia on the cloak of the Knights of the Temple. Also the arms placed in a crossed position, custom of the Knights of the Temple, which represents the “X” of Xristos (from X in Greek Chi) the name of the Messiah.

On another slab now used as a bench there is also the symbol of the triple enclosure which indicates the sacredness and centrality of the place. Symbol of conjunction, it reappears near the crypt with the “cosmic tree“, a cosmic element of conjunction between heaven and earth.

In the Bible it indicates the courtyard with the triple circle of walls of the Temple of Solomon, but also the Heavenly and the Terrestrer Jerusalem. On the right wall we find clear Templar symbols such as the ladder with the “double rung” and the chessboard is the symbol of positive and negative, of black and white, of good and evil, of war and prayer, of intellect and devotion.

the Templar ladder

It seems that the church stands on a geomantic node, also highlighted by the numerous menhirs that are still visible in the area. Also linked to the idea of omphalos is the concept of thaumaturgical water. In fact, an underground river flows below the church, accessible through a well outside the church. Many witnesses affirm the miraculousness of this water. Outside the church a lunette depicts the Black Madonna and a man climbing the steps of a staircase that rests on the water. It is clear that even the ancient builders of the church knew of the existence of underground water and its particular importance linked to the place of worship.

#ENG #omphalos #Crusades #Templars #thetriplebelt #blackvirgin #churchSaintMaryofSovereto #Terlizzi

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