What's that, you say? We haven't posted since last July? It's true. We have lots of excuses and reasons - but the best and most exciting one is that we are expecting! And I'm due just about any day now.Back in the first trimester, I was nauseous all the time and had no desire to cook anything, let alone post about it. So we took a small hiatus from the blog. But we are BACK and have a great recipe to share.
Making your own pasta is super easy and tastes exponentially better than the dried stuff. Orecchiette (which means "little ears" in Italian!) are doubly great because the only equipment needed is your hands.
One of my all time favorite dishes ever is orecchiette with broccoli rabe and spicy sausage, so this is somewhat of a play on that combo - the brussels sprouts give crunch and body to the dish, while the pancetta adds a salty contrast. This recipe is heavy on the sprouts in order to keep it substantial without being too heavy on the carbs.
Homemade Orecchiette with Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta
Adapted from The New York Times
For the pasta dough:
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup semolina flour
3/4 cup hot water (+ more as needed)
Put the flours in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to blend. With the machine running, slowly add in just enough water so that the dough forms a ball. If you don't add enough, you'll get mostly clumps of dough without it forming into a ball. If you add too much, the dough will be overly sticky. Don't fret if you accidentally add too much water - you can always add in more flour to make it less sticky.
Remove the dough from the processor and knead it on a floured surface for about a minute, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. At this point, you can use dough right away, or wrap it in plastic wrap and stick in fridge to use it later.
To shape - pinch a 1/2 inch size piece of dough off of the ball. Wrap it around the tip of your pointer finger to form a little hat. Set aside on a floured surface or piece of parchment while you make the rest. They don't need to be perfect.
1 Tbsp olive oil
6 oz diced pancetta
2 tsp dried rosemary, or 1 fresh rosemary sprig
6 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 pound brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
1/4 cup water
Salt and pepper
Freshly grated parmesan, to serve
Heat a large saute pan over medium heat and add in olive oil. Once oil is hot, add in the pancetta and rosemary. Cook until the pancetta begins to brown and releases most of its fat into the pan. Add in the garlic and red pepper flakes, and continue to cook until garlic begins to brown and becomes fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Add in the brussels sprouts with the water and a pinch of salt. Stir to combine with other ingredients and saute until sprouts begin to soften, about 3-4 minutes. Then spread sprouts out in one layer in pan and dont touch for a couple minutes, allowing them to brown. Repeat this process a couple times to cook/brown evenly.
While the sprouts are sauteing, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Gently add in the orecchiette. Cook for 6-8 minutes, or until the pasta floats to the top and is tender. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.
Combine drained pasta with pancetta/sprouts mixture. Add in pasta water 1/4 cup at a time to moisten. Season to taste. Serve, topped with grated parmesan and freshly ground black pepper.