Orecchiette with Pancetta and Ricotta

Orecchiette with Pancetta and Ricotta

Channel you inner Italian nonna by rolling your own orecchiette! or buy them from your store and pair them with this delicious pea, pancetta & ricotta sauce.

Cooked with love by @silviacollocaofficial and made with the Essteele Per Salute 30cm Skillet.


For the orecchiette

    • 300 gr durum wheat flour, plain flour or specialty pasta flour, plus extra for dusting
    • 1 teaspoon salt flakes
    • 220-250 ml lukewarm water
    • olive oil, to grease your hands

    For the pasta

    • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 150 g smoked pancetta or speck, cut into 5 mm cubes
    • 1 teaspoon butter
    • 3 leeks, white part only, well washed and thinly sliced
    • 1 sprig thyme
    • 2 teaspoons salt flakes, or to taste
    • 21/2 tablespoons water
    • shavings of parmigiano and black pepper, to serve


    Make the orechiette

    1. Put the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl, make a well in the centre and slowly pour in the water, mixing as you go to incorporate the flour. Don’t add all the water at once as you may not need it all, depending on the brand of flour you use; by the same token, you may need to add a little extra water if the dough is too stiff or dry. Using 100 % durum wheat flour will probably require a little more liquid than plain flour or specialty pasta flour
    2. Tip the dough onto a floured surface, oil your hands and knead for 3–4 minutes or until it comes together in a smooth ball. Add a little extra flour if it feels a bit sticky. Wrap it in plastic film and let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. You can make the dough a day ahead, if it’s more convenient.
    3. If preferred, you can make his dough in the food processor instead. Just remember to add the water gradually and pulse the mix instead of processing it on full speed. Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead and rest as above.
    4. Take the dough out of the fridge, dust a large wooden board with flour and cut the dough into 4–5 pieces. Roll piece into a 2 cm thick log, then cut into 1–2 cm pieces and generously dust them with flour.
    5. Using a butter knife, press down a cube of dough and drag it towards you. Flip it inside out and, placing it over your thumb, give it the shape of a little ear. Repeat with the remaining dough, making sure you keep the board and the dough well dusted in flour.

    Pasta Sauce

    1. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large heavy-based frying pan, drop in the pancetta or speck cubes and fry over low heat for 5–6 minutes or until the fat has rendered out and the cubes are crispy. Remove the cubes with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Return the pan to medium heat, add the butter and remaining oil and heat until melted.
    2. Add the leek, thyme and salt and cook for 3–4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    3. Pour in the water, cover with a lid and reduce the heat to medium–low. Cook for 15–20 minutes or until the leek is beautifully soft. Taste for salt and adjust accordingly, keeping in mind that you will be adding the salty, crisp pancetta at the end.
    4. Shortly before the sauce is ready, bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil, drop in the orecchiette and cook for 5–6 minutes or until al dente.
    5. Using a slotted spoon, lift the orecchiette straight into the pan with the leek sauce, adding a little pasta cooking water to bind the sauce together. Toss in the pan along with the peas for 1–2 minutes or until the pasta is well coated in the sauce. Add the ricotta and mix through.
    6. Turn off the heat, sprinkle the pancetta over the top and dust with shavings of parmigiano and a good grinding of black pepper. Take it to the table and dig in.
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