"This is a very simple Pugliese dish from northern Murgia Barese," says Antichi Sapori's chef Pietro Zito, from whom this dish was adapted. "It was part of a historic period of poverty, so along with the zucchini they also ate the small leaves and cute buds of the plant." Dried grano arso orecchiette (available online) is sauced with little more than extra-virgin olive oil and the juicy, succulent-like leaves of the zucchini plant to let the toasty flavors of the pasta come through. Blanching the leaves and stems softens any spiky fibers or lightly furry coatings.
- 3 cups tender, small leaves and tender shoots from a zucchini plant, large pieces halved
- 3⁄4 lb. grano arso orecchiette
- 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
- 4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced Freshly ground black pepper Ricotta salata, for garnish