Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Playing around with pasta and peas

 I spotted some orecchiette at the grocery store the other day and realized I’d never cooked it. I’ve seen different recipes in the past that combine this disc-shaped pasta with bacon, peas, both … so this is what I decided to do with my bag of orecchiette.

We have a humongous sauté pan that I like to use for dishes such as this. It helps to have a big ol’ pan so you’ve got plenty of surface area to mix all the ingredients without going elbow-deep in a huge stock pot.

A side note: This meal went great with a bottle of La Crema 2008 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir we picked up on my birthday trip to Healdsburg this past fall.

Orecchiette with Peas and Crispy Shallots
2 shallots, sliced thin
½ cup olive oil
4 strips turkey bacon, cut into small pieces
1 pound orecchiette pasta
2 cups frozen peas, thawed
1 cup Parmesan
1 cup cooking liquid reserved and divided
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a small saucepan, heat oil over medium flame. Fry shallots until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Remove shallots with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain excess oil.
Cook pasta in boiling water until al dente. Remove from heat and drain, reserving one cup cooking liquid.
While pasta is boiling, cook turkey bacon over medium heat in a large frying pan until crisp. Remove from pan with slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain. Add peas to pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through.Add pasta to pan with peas. Stir in Parmesan and half of the cooking liquid. Keep adding more cooking liquid until it has formed a nice creamy, but not runny, sauce that coats the pasta. Stir in turkey bacon pieces. Season with salt and pepper.
To serve, place pasta in bowls or on plates and top with shallots.

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