Cooking

Orecchiette with Asparagus, Pancetta and Lemon

Orecchiette with Asparagus, Prosciutto and Lemon      www.morewinelesswhines.com

Orecchiette with Asparagus, Prosciutto and Lemon

If you give an Italian American a bowl of pasta, he will want for nothing more.

Years ago my mother made a Cooking Light Recipe that involved pasta (bowties or spirals), asparagus, lemon & pancetta.  I added a few ingredients to the dish over the years, but, like many recipes, we just stopped making it after the change of seasons.  Then, my sister-in-law recently raved about a dish that sounded just like the one my mother used to make, this time by the Barefoot Contessa.  When my husband and I came home from an eight hour car ride and were deciding on “what to do” for dinner, we came to a simple conclusion:  try to recreate the pasta dish from years ago!

Orecchiette with Asparagus, Prosciutto and Lemon       www.morewinelesswhines.com

Orecchiette with Asparagus, Prosciutto and Lemon

Orecchiette with Asparagus, Pancetta  & Lemon

1 box orecchiette (or other small to medium shaped pasta)
1 bunch asparagus, rough ends removed, tender parts cut into 1.5″ pieces
4 oz pancetta, finely chopped
10 oz baby bella mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
2 lemons, juiced
Romano cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add orecchiette to boiling water. Set timer for 4 minutes less than the box instructs to cook the pasta ‘al dente.’ (For example, the De Cecco brand of Orecchiette says to cook the pasta for 11 minutes. I set my timer for 7 minutes.) When the timer goes off, add the asparagus and stir. Continue boiling, 3-4 minutes longer. Drain, reserving up to 1/2 c. of the starchy pasta water.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil. Once hot, add pancetta and sauce until sizzling and starting to crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Use a slotted spoon to remove pancetta to a large serving bowl for the pasta. Add a little more olive oil to the pancetta drippings in the pan if needed and return to medium heat. Add mushrooms to the pan with sea salt & pepper to taste. Sauté 5-6 minutes, or until mushrooms are tender.

Combine the orecchiette, asparagus spears, pancetta, mushrooms, garlic and juice of 2 lemons in a very large bowl. Stir in a drizzle of olive oil, as needed. Add reserved pasta water if pasta seems too dry. Stir in Romano cheese, beginning with 1/4 cup. Taste pasta and add freshly ground black pepper and sea salt to taste. (Be very careful that you do not add too much salt!)

Serve with freshly grated Romano cheese.

Enjoy!

Orecchiette with Asparagus, Prosciutto and Lemon        www.morewinelesswhines.com

Orecchiette with Asparagus, Prosciutto and Lemon

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