Have you ever heard of orecchiette pasta? It’s a new one for me, and I only know about it after finding a package a while back. The name literally translates as “little ear”, and the name is due to their ear-like shape. This shape is made by indenting the pasta over the thumb to make a small divot. That little dip in the pasta is supposed to be great for holding creamy sauce, and that’s exactly how I’m going to try it. I was surprised to find so many orecchiette recipes on Pinterest, but this Orecchiette with Mushroom Thyme Sauce recipe won out. It has bacon, so how could I turn that down? Let’s give it a try!
This Orecchiette with Mushroom Thyme Sauce features pasta coated with a creamy, flavorful sauce – and it’s easy enough to make for a weeknight meal!
The whole reason I’m making this Orecchiette with Mushroom Thyme Sauce is that I found a package of tri-color orecchiette at Home Goods a few months ago. They’re a great source for unusual pasta! Larger grocery stores might also have it (I haven’t looked), and you can always find orecchiete online. I also think small shells would work, but I haven’t tested the theory.
The rest of my pre-shopping check showed me I only had a few ingredients. They were basics like cornstarch, butter, kosher salt, and black pepper. My regular grocery store had the ingredients I needed, so no extra trips or special orders were needed for this recipe.
Things begin with boiling the orecchiette and frying up 6 slices of thick-cut bacon. As you can see, I got the bacon, shall we say, extra crispy. I wasn’t paying attention because I was prepping the other ingredients. One second it was fine, and the next it was on the burnt side.
The bacon still worked, believe it or not, so I forged ahead. I drained the grease into a heat-proof container like this bacon grease jar and started on the mushrooms. That meant adding a little bacon grease back to the pan, some butter, and then the mushrooms.
I bought sliced mushrooms to save time. They all fit into the pan, but there was no way to fry one side and flip them. Instead, there were a few layers deep, so I did the best I could. They shrank as they cooked, so there was a little more room in the pan than what you see in the photo.
The orecchiette finished while the mushrooms were cooking, and I drained it and set it aside. I continued with the sauce in the skillet, and it all went smoothly and according to the instructions. It wasn’t long before I had a lovely cream sauce simmering away on my stove.
Once the sauce finished, I added the orecchiette to the pan and stirred carefully. I used a 12-inch skillet, and it had just enough room for everything. A large saute pan might have worked better. The high, straight sides give it more room and help keep things in when stirred.
This recipe lists 5 minutes to prep, 25 minutes to cook, and 30 minutes total. I went over that at 40 minutes, but I wasn’t able to break that down. I began this recipe by cooking the bacon and pasta and I prepped while I cooked. It made separating the time impossible.
I’m not sure where the slow-down happened. It may have been overcooking the bacon, but that doesn’t explain the 10-minute difference. It may just be that I’m a slow cook because everything seemed to go smoothly, and I didn’t have any trouble following the instructions.