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Tuesday
Oct072014

Orecchiette Pasta with Mushrooms and Pancetta 

My favorite short pasta shape is orecchiette, which means "little ears".  They are like little pasta cups that are perfect for holding the sauce - in this case, little bits of crispy pancetta along with cheese and mushrooms. What a perfect combination and great comfort food for the chilly months ahead. 

 

Pancetta is simply Italian bacon that is not smoked. It is cured with various aromatics and sometimes peppercorns and has a wonderful taste.  It is sold either in solid chunks, sliced paper thin or in little cubes.  My favorite way to buy it is in little cubes, so I don't have to dice it all up.  

 


ceramic plate from Fifty One and a Half


 

 

 

Orecchiette Pasta with Mushrooms and Pancetta

for a printable recipe, click here

serves 4-6

Ingredients: 

  • 5 ounces pancetta, diced (you can sub bacon if you need to)
  • 8 ounces Orecchiette pasta
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup medium red onion, diced (about ½ medium onion)
  • pinch of red hot chili pepper (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
  • sea salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced 

 

Instructions:

Put a large pot of water to boil on the stove for the pasta (I do not salt the water in this instance since the pancetta adds saltiness to the dish). Heat a large saute skillet over medium low heat. Spray with a little cooking spray and add the pancetta.  Fry pancetta until crisp, about 8 minutes.  Remove with a slotted spoon onto paper towels to drain. Pour off any oil but do not wipe out pan. 

Add pasta to boiling water and stir.  Time the pasta to cook for about 12 minutes (different brands will cook for different times).

While pasta is cooking, add one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to the skillet in which you fried the pancetta. Add the onions, mushrooms, chili pepper and black pepper.  Add about ¼ cup of water to the pan.  Toss everything together well. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Mushrooms should be golden and greatly reduced in volume and most of the liquid should be evaporated.   Lower heat. Add the thyme and cook over low heat for one more minute.  Return pancetta to pan, along with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Stir mixture. Test pasta to make sure it is done (it should be al dente - don't overcook it) and remove from pot with a strainer and add to the sauce, letting a little pasta water transfer over with the pasta. Turn off heat and add cheese.  Mix well. If the pasta is too dry, just add a little more hot pasta water.

Taste pasta and if it needs a little salt, add it at this point.  Add the fresh parsley and mix well.  Add more grated cheese, if you like. 

 

 

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Reader Comments (15)

I simply love all of your recipes. Just when I am struggling to think of something delicious to make for dinner you pop up in my email and I'm all set to go. I even have the right type of pasta for this one on hand. Thanks for all the great ideas and recipes. Don't know what I would do without you. :)

October 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGale

Oh this looks delish!!! Can't wait to give it a try...I've never seen this type of noodle, will I find them @ a specialty store or can I get them @ the regular grocer? I love the service ware you used...is that spoon from Fifty One and a Half as well...looks like olive wood?? Thanks!!

October 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSharita

Thank you for the great recipes! I love to experiment with them all. Do you have a recipe for making the Orecchiette pasta as well?

October 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDiane

made this for dinner tonight, and it was delicious!!!
Highly recommend

October 8, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercarolyn

I love the service ware you used...is that spoon from Fifty One and a Half as well...looks like olive wood??

from The Italian Dish:

fotograf: No, the spoon is not from Fifty One and a Half - I just got it in some kitchen shop in my travels. Can't remember where!

October 9, 2014 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

I am making this tonight for dinner but was trying to think of some veggie I could add to the mix. What do you think about sugar snap peas, blanched and chopped into 4 pieces each?

October 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGale

From The Italian Dish:

Gale: If you wanted to add a veggie, I would add chopped raw spinach when you add the thyme and let it cook for a couple of minutes and it will wilt. I think that would be better than snap pears for this.

October 9, 2014 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

This pasta looks amazing! I love mushrooms in pasta, I can't wait to try this!

October 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterStacey @ Bake.Eat.Repeat.

This looks delicious. I can't wait to try it!

Philly
http://togetherinitaly.com/about-our-family/

I'm a lover of the italian food and this one is my favorite dish. Thanks for sharing, I'm gonna try to do it by myself.

If you life in florida I have to recommend you to go to http://www.ninosrestaurants.com/, all the food they prepare is reaaaaally good. authentic Italian Food.

October 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

This looks nice, I like orecchiette, it has a nice texture that you can chew in mouth and looks so cute too. But I guess if I don't have orecchiette, macaroni also tastes good with this recipe. :)

October 21, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteryung@foodyoo.com

I made this last night and it was phenomenal. Thank you!

October 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMindy@FindingSilverLinings

This was tonight's feast, thank you, it was delicious.

May 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJane

Delicious and comforting. Thank you for sharing.

July 13, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie

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