Orecchiette with Pancetta, Peas, and Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto
Weathervane Winery’s Temperature Rising goes quite well with a smoky-pork flavor. Naturally, pork is my first instinct, and sometimes I want something a little more elegant then sausage or pepperoni from my good ol’ pork friend. Cured meats are my idea of pork dressed up a bit. Curing is a process that was initially set up to help preserve meats and prevent diseases back in the day. It usually consists of salt, sugar, and nitrates that are rubbed on the protein in order to draw out the moisture so there’s no chance of microbe growth, which in turn would spoil your food. Curing can also consist of smoking (so good!), spicing, and cooking. Curing is a whole other world. With that being said, welcome pancetta to the recipe. Pancetta is pork belly that is salt cured with other spices. It’s simply delicious and typically eaten raw. However, thrown in a pasta dish, it livens it up. Think of it as a fancier bacon but priced at about the same as bacon, which is crazy.
—Chef Katie Picher
1 package Orechiette
1 bag Frozen Peas
1 package Parmesan Cheese of your choosing (Grated/Block/Crumbled)
1 package Pancetta
Sun-dried Tomato Pesto (recipe to follow or you can buy 1 jar at grocery store)
2 Cups Fresh Tomatoes, diced and/or halved if cherry tomatoes
Method of Preparation:
- Get a pot of water boiling for your orechiette pasta.
- While water is working, dice up the pancetta and throw into a large sauté pan to start cooking. Since it’s so fatty, it’s not really necessary to put any oil in the pan. Cook the pancetta on medium heat for about 3-5 minutes. You want the pancetta to start getting crispy before you throw in the other ingredients. Make sure to stir the pancetta off and on so it doesn’t stick to the pan.
- While pancetta and water are working, dice up the fresh tomatoes and grate the Parmesan cheese.
- Throw the orechiette into the water once it has come to a boil. Let it cook for about 8 minutes. Make sure to check the instructions on the package as all pasta makers are different.
- Open bag of frozen peas and pour in pancetta pan. Stir off and on. The peas will instantly start thawing and there will be water in the pan because of it after a while. This is a good thing, as it will help with the sauce.
- Pour in pesto and mix with the cooking pancetta and peas. Make sure you stir if off and on.
- Once pasta is cooked, pour in colander and have cold water run over the pasta to help stop the orechiette from cooking.
- While pasta is cooling, put a splash or two of the red wine in the pancetta mixture and a healthy handful of Parmesan cheese. Stir the mixture together before adding pasta.
- Add orechiette to pancetta mixture and stir all together. Add more cheese as needed.
*If this dish is too light, simply adding a jar of marinara will go a long way to make the dish more hearty.
Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto
4 Cups Sun-dried Tomatoes, hydrated
3 Cups Walnuts
2 Cups Olive Oil
1 Cup Grape Seed Oil
1-2 cloves Garlic
Handful of Basil, fresh
To taste: Salt
1 Cup Parmesan Cheese, grated or crumbled
Method of Preparation:
- Hydrate the sun-dried tomatoes by letting them sit in a bowl of hot/warm water for about 5 minutes.
- Pour water out or save to use in sauce for recipe above.
- Using a food processor or blender, add all ingredients, except for oil. Try to pulse the ingredients. *If using a blender, it may not work.
- Slowly start adding the oil while ingredients are blending. When adding the oil slowly, it helps the mixture to emulsify better.
- You just made a sun-dried tomato-walnut pesto. Be sure to taste and add salt to your liking.
Enjoy with a nice glass of Weathervane’s Temperature Rising.