s A simple spring-inspired Orecchiette Pasta with asparagus, mushrooms, peas and fresh herbs in a light carbonara sauce with dollops of creamy Burrata cheese.
I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.~Pablo Neruda
This simple vegetarian Orecchiette Pasta with mushrooms, asparagus, spring peas and dollops of creamy Burrata cheese is surprisingly light and sings of spring.
Fresh herbs and lemon zest give it brightness while the “sauce”, similar to carbonara, gives it richness without the addition of cream, butter or oil. It’s perfect for weeknight meals, coming together in an easy 30 minutes.
The secret to making flavorful pasta is very simple, but nearly always forgotten. You must generously salt the water. These days, I always measure the salt– to- water ratio. It ensures the dish will be flavorful.
For 16 oz of pasta– use 4 Quarts water with 2 Tablespoons salt. Yes it seems like a lot, but remember you won’t actually be consuming all of this. It just flavors the pasta.
In this recipe, once the pasta is just about done, I quickly throw in the peas and sugar peas into the pasta water, to blanch for about 1 minute. Drain.
Another tip to making flavorful pasta dishes, is investing in a good quality Parmesan or pecorino cheese. Pre-grated Parmesan that are in the packages are usually lacking in flavor.
Yes the good quality cheese will cost more, but you will end up using less of it, because of its pungent concentrated flavor.
For this recipe, I used only half of a cup.
Lemon zest gives a little brightness.
One the pasta is plattered, break up bite-sized pieces of the creamy burrata with a fork, and scatter over top along with the fresh herbs and lemon zest.
Orecchiette Pasta with asparagus, fresh peas, mushrooms and herbs in a very light carbonara sauce, topped with pillowy burrata cheese.
- 16 oz Orecchiette pasta
- 4 Quarts water ( 16 cups)
- 2 cups fresh English peas ( Trader Joes often carries shucked peas) or use frozen
- 2 cups snow peas or sugar peas
- 1 cup asparagus tips (optional)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion- diced
- 4 garlic cloves, rough chopped
- 8–12 oz mushrooms sliced or quartered -cremini, shiitake, buttons or morels
- 2 cups wilting greens- dandelion, arugula, chard, spinach – chopped
- generous pinch salt
- cracked pepper
- 2 Eggs, whisked
- ½ cup parmesan or pecorino
- 1 ball burrata cheese- optional
- lemon zest from one small lemon
- 1/4–1/2 cup fresh chopped herbs- mint, basil, dill, or Italian Parsley or a blend.
- Cook the Pasta: Bring a large pot with 4 quarts water and 2 tablespoons salt to a boil. When water comes to a boil, add pasta and cook to al dente, about 7 minutes ( or see directions on package). During the last minute of cooking the pasta, add the fresh peas, sugar peas and asparagus tips to the boiling pasta, turn the heat up to high and quickly blanch for one minute. Drain the pasta and veggies (reserving 1-2 cups hot pasta water). Do not rinse. Return to the pot, turn heat off.
- While the pasta is cooking, saute the mushrooms: In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Sauté the onion until tender and fragrant, 3-4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and garlic, and saute until golden and tender 7-8 minutes. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Add greens and sauté, stirring often until just wilted. Set pan aside.
- Whisk two eggs in a small bowl, set aside.
- Temper the Eggs. Once the pasta is drained and back in the pot, gradually whisk in 3 tablespoons of the reserved hot pasta water, one tablespoon at a time into the eggs, to temper the eggs (to warm them up gently- so they don’t curdle). Stir well.
- COMBINE: Pour tempered eggs over the pasta and with a big wood spoon, gently stir to coat the pasta. Stir in the mushrooms, half of the lemon zest and half of the fresh the herbs, cracked pepper and parmesan, adding more hot pasta water as needed to loosen the pasta, and make it a “saucy”. You don’t want this dry. I usually add a cup or more.
- Taste and adjust salt and pepper to your liking.
- Place on a platter or bowl and sprinkle with remaining herbs, lemon zest. Dot with dollops of burrata cheese.
- Serve immediately!
Keywords: Orecchiette recipe, Orecchiette pasta recipe, Orecchiette with Asparagus, Orecchiette with peas, Spring Orecchiette recipe