Spring Orecchiette Pasta with asparagus, mushrooms, peas and fresh herbs in a light carbonara sauce with dollops of creamy Burrata cheese.
This simple vegetarian Spring Orecchiette Pasta with mushrooms, asparagus, peas and dollops of creamy Burrata cheese is surprisingly light. 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 a half 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.
Spring Orecchiette with Fresh Peas, Asparagus and Burrata
Spring Orecchiette Pasta with asparagus, fresh peas, mushrooms and herbs in a very light carbonara sauce, topped with pillowy burrata cheese.
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: 20
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 6-8
- Category: Vegetarian Main
- Method: Stove Top
- Cuisine: Italian
4 Quarts water
2 cups fresh English peas ( Trader Joes often carries shucked peas)
2 cups snow peas or sugar peas
1 cup asparagus tips (optional)
1 onion- diced
8 oz mushrooms sliced or quartered -cremini, shittaki, buttons or morrels
2 cups wilting greens- dandilion, arugula, chard, spinach – chopped
generous pinch salt
½ cup parmesan or pecorino
1 ball burrata cheese- optional
lemon zest from one small lemon
2-3 tablespoons fresh chopped herbs- mint, dill, or Italian Parsley
Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. When water comes to a boil, add pasta and cook to al dente, about 7 minutes ( 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 cup hot pasta water). Do not rinse. Return to the pot, turn heat off.While the water is heating, cook the mushrooms and whisk the eggs.
Once the pasta is drained and back in the pot, gradually stir 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). Stir well.
Pour egg/water mixture over the pasta and with a big wood spoon, gently stir to coat the pasta. Stir in ⅓ cup fresh grated parmesan, cracked pepper and more pasta water as need to loosen the pasta and make it “saucy”. Taste and adjust salt. Place on a platter or bowl and sprinkle with fresh herbs, lemon zest and remaining parmesan. Dot with dollops of burrrata.