Orecchiette: Pronounced or-eck-ee-eh-tay; Pasta variety; Italian.
It is infinitely easier to remember what type of pasta this is when you know that it literally translates to “small ear.” It looks like a weirdo shaped ear or kind of like if you flattened and smoothed out shell pasta. See below photo from acme on Flickr.
It is not infinitely easy at all to figure out how to pronounce this food. Think of Oreck like those silly vacuum cleaners with that silly old man. o-RECKY-ETT-ay. It does have quite a gorgeous Italian rhythm to it though. Like here. Pretty fun. But people are always gonna argue about pronunciation no matter what.
Availability: Never gone lookin’, but I assume it’s fairly common. Keep in mind that if a recipe calls for orecchiette you can ALWAYS I mean always always just use shells or something similar. Nothing to stress about.
Recipe to try: Orecchiette with Shrimp, Arugula and Cherry Tomatoes from Cooking Light. Nice little recipe, maybe you can try it with orecchiette, maybe with something else!