Something from Nothing: Orecchiette w/ Pancetta & Peas
When I have absolutely nothing in the house and no ideas for dinner, I can always turn to pasta, peas and bacon.
It's a comfort thing and you can make this dish so many different ways.
Orecchiette (little ears) is the traditional pasta shape I use for this dish, and for our Italian lesson of the day it is pronounced "AURA-KEE-YETTEH" (say it fast). But it's ok if you say AURA-SHETTI, because we don't live in Italy, but it does hurt my little ears.
I recently saw Rachael Ray make this dish with lemon and thyme. That was certainly a new twist on an old classic, but I was willing to try it.
*(If you don't have fresh thyme in the house or a lemon, then it's fine to skip them. I've made this dish for years without those 2 ingredients, but they did add something nice and fresh to the dish).
Orecchiette w/ Peas & Pancetta: (adapted from Rachael Ray).
8 oz. of orecchiette (1/2 box)
3 slice of pancetta or thick cut smoked bacon, diced
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 tbsp lemon zest
1/2 cup of reserved pasta water
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
fresh ricotta cheese for garnish
While your pasta is boiling, make the sauce.
In a wide skillet big enough to hold the pasta, saute the pancetta in olive oil for a few minutes, then add the onion and garlic. Saute on medium low heat for about 7 minutes.
Next add the stock and the peas and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the lemon zest and thyme and cook another 2 minutes or so.
Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the starchy water (a good trick is to put the measuring cup in the colander in the sink, so when you drain the pasta you don't forget to save some of the water!).
Toss the pasta in with the pancetta, peas and sauce and add the pasta water and the grated cheese. Mix together and spoon into bowls.
Put a dollop of fresh ricotta on top of each bowl and serve immediately.
This was really delicious.