Last week, I posted my orechiette recipe that I learned while in Italy. Yum. So yum. We made it twice more while in Italy after our cooking class, and I’ve now made it twice again since I’ve been home. Let me repeat – in the middle of an obnoxiously hot summer in Chicago, I voluntarily boiled water in my home. This is the time when the stove and oven goes off in my house and we cook everything on the grill. That’s how good these are.
I was planning to make my orechiette last week with carbonara, as it was so yummy and easy – again, a five ingredient sauce, yay! – but someone in my house had used up all the eggs, so I was “forced” to make a tomato sauce for it instead. Thank you, Costco, I have since replenished my stock of eighteen cage free eggs and was able to make my carbonara. The amount of sauce I made was good for five to six servings of my orechiette recipe. Because of that, I’m adjusting measurements here a bit to make enough carbonara for a double recipe of orechiette, which is plenty to serve two people as an entree dish.
And yes, I’m calling it authentic since I learned it in a cooking class in Italy
1 T olive oil
1/2 small onion (no more than 1/2 cup or so)
2 oz pancetta, diced (in Italy it comes in great packages prediced, but I bought mine from the butcher, which required me doing the cutting – yet another reason to move to Italy)
1 c Pecorino Romano (if you use Parmesan, it won’t melt as well and will taste … different)
pepper to taste
some water from the boiled pasta – maybe 1/4-1/3 cup
After you’ve diced your pancetta, place it into a hot pan with the olive oil and saute it at medium heat until it’s softened and started to turn a little translucent. At this point, add the onion and cook until the onion is soft, about five minutes or so, stirring periodically.
Once the onion has softened, remove the pan from the heat. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs until fluffy. Add the pecorino and pepper and whisk again until well combined. It won’t look pretty, but trust me, you’re on the right track.
Take some of the water you boiled whatever pasta you’re making in (traditionally spaghetti, but the orechiette is awesome with it, too) and slowly add it to the eggs and cheese while you’re whisking to ensure it doesn’t scramble the eggs. Add this mixture to the pan with the pancetta and onion and stir well until the cheese has melted.
Stir in the pasta into the pan to coat and let the sauce thicken a bit more – you can cook it on low heat for a bit while stirring if need be. Serve immediately and wait for the applause. (And yes, do it the traditional Italian way: have your pasta bowl preheated by using more of the pasta water to heat it while you’re making the sauce, then dump the water just before you add your pasta.)
Notes: You need no salt because the cheese is already so salty. Also, if you want to make this creamier, add extra cheese. I always grate extra just in case and have it on hand. If I don’t use it for this recipe, I’ll use it for something else soon. I love my cheese! This is a very rich dish. It doesn’t take a ton to fill you up, so pair it with a salad or something lighter!
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