Orecchietti literally translates to “little ears,” and shiitake translates to “listen.” Who would have thought that shiitake mushrooms, peas and little ears would be such a fantastic flavor combination? If you have never tried these flavor absorbing little ears, you are in for a treat. The pasta acts as a pod for the peas and naturally holds the sauce.
This pasta is quick and easy that has bright flavors of the peas, smokey flavor of the mushrooms and richness of the cream.
- 12 oz orecchiette pasta
- 3 cups shiitake mushrooms stemmed and sliced
- 1 small leek trimmed of dark green, quartered and sliced
- 2 cloves garlic chopped
- 10 oz english peas blanched (can be substituted with frozen peas)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- ½ cup parmesan cheese grated
- 1 bunch basil sliced for garnish
- salt + pepper
- Start a large pot of salted boiling water for your pasta. Once water is boiling, blanch fresh english peas for no more than 90 seconds, then add them to an ice bath.
- Cook the orecchiette per the instructions on the package. Reserve some pasta cooking water for the sauce. Orecchiette tends to stick together (like little suction cups), so be sure to use plenty of boiling water and stir often.
- Heat the olive oil in a 12” sauté pan. Add the mushrooms and sauté until they start to brown, season with salt and pepper.
- Add the leeks and garlic and sauté until they become translucent.
- Add the blanched peas and butter. Once the butter is melted, add the cream and lemon zest. Reduce until the sauce thickens slightly.
- Add orecchiette and stir well to warm through. If the sauce is too thick, add a little of the reserved pasta water.
- Remove pan from heat and add the parmesan cheese, reserving some for individual servings.
- Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
- Garnish with parmesan cheese and fresh basil.