Chef's Kitchen: Cristino's Orecchiette al Fresco recipe

By Melissa Eichman, Reporter
Last Updated: Wednesday, August 02, 2017, 10:35 AM EDT

Anna Cristino from Cristino’s Coal Oven Pizza in Clearwater joined us in the Chef’s Kitchen to share a summertime pasta recipe: Orecchiette al Fresco.

Cristino said the dish is perfect for the dinner table or the picnic table.

Orecchiette al Fresco


For sauce*:

  • 2-3 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 4 slices of fresh mozzarella, diced
  • 1 tbsp. capers, with a little of the juice
  • 1/4 — 1/3 cup black olives (or assorted olives)
  • 1/4 — 1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Pinch of: salt, pepper, Italian seasoning to taste (Note: Go light on salt — capers & olives have a lot of salt)

*Feel free to add additional fresh ingredients of your choice.

For pasta:

  • 1 lb. orecchiette pasta
  • 1 tbsp. salt


Sauce: Mix all sauce ingredients in large bowl, coat with olive oil


  1. Fill pot with water, add about 1 tbsp. of salt and boil
  2. Add orecchiette to boiling salted water
  3. Cook 9 to 12 minutes

Drain orecchiette and mix with sauce.

Serve hot (the heat from the pasta will melt the mozzarella) or at room temperature.

Drizzle with balsamic glaze (optional, will add sweetness).