Sunday, July 1, 2012

Pasta Orecchiette with Kale and Pancetta

I have never cooked orecchiette pasts before and have been dying to try it. Because of it's cute shape and size, you can add virtually anything you want to it that matches the same size to make perfect bites every time. I stumbled upon a similar recipe to this on some app on my iPhone and figured it'd be a great mid-week meal when you don't want to fuss over anything extravagant but still wanted something tasty. Kale, pancetta, sundried tomatoes and chunks of shaved parmesan made for a deliciously light and fulfilling dish. And, for those of you who still haven't warmed up to the idea of kale, simply replace it with spinach! P.S., I made a vegan version for mother. That's what the silly looking bacon next to the pancetta is. Don't be afraid, it wasn't too bad!!!

What you'll need:

1 lb. orecchiette pasta
1 package chopped pancetta (from your supermarket)
3-4 cups uncooked kale, chopped
1 1/2- 2 cups chopped crimini mushrooms
5 cloves of garlic 
1 block fresh parmesan cheese
1 tbs. fresh lemon juice

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiled, toss is a good handful of kosher salt (this is your only chance to give the pasta itself any flavor) and drop your pasta. Top with some olive oil, so the pasta doesn't stick to itself, and give it a good stir.
2. While the pasta is cooking, cook your pancetta in a pan over medium heat, just until it browns on all sides. Use a slotted spoon to remove the pancetta, and let drain on a plate lined with a paper towel (save the drippings to cook your mushrooms!!!). 
3. In the drippings, cook your mushrooms over medium heat for about 5 minutes per side (DO NOT TOUCH other than when flipping them over!!! LET THEM COOK EVENLY!!!). Chop the sundried tomatoes and garlic and add them into the pan. Cook just until you can smell the garlic, as not to let it burn.
4. By now, your pasta should be almost finished. Add in your chopped kale to the pot WITH the pasta. Cook for another 2 minutes, until the pasta is al dente (has a little bite to it but not too much so that the pasta is still raw).
5. Use a slotted spoon and plate the pasta in a large serving bowl. Next add the mushrooms and tomatoes, and finally drizzle some fresh lemon juice just to give it a tiny tang. 
6. Use a vegetable peeler to shave some parmesan on top.

enjoy :)

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