Prep 20 mins
Cook 1 hr 15 mins
Insanely golden orecchiette pasta infused with the flavor and fragrance of saffron, smothered in a rich sauce of pork and pancetta seasoned delicately with sage and bay leaves. It's as beautiful as it is delicious! If you can't locate orecchiette (little ears) pasta, shells can be substituted.
- 4 ounces pancetta, chopped
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 4 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 lb ground lean pork
- 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes in puree
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons dried sage
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 1⁄2-2 cups grated romano cheese
- 12 ounces orecchiette (little ears if unavailable, shells are a good substitute)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon saffron
- In a large saucepan, brown pancetta until fat is rendered.
- At this point, I like to remove it from the pan and trim and discard fat off of the meatier pieces.
- Return the meaty pieces to the saucepan and add onions and parsley, sauteeing until onion is translucent, about 10 minutes.
- Add ground pork and brown thoroughly.
- Pour in crushed tomatoes, then add bay leaves, sage and garlic.
- Simmer together for about 45 minutes, stirring in half of the Romano cheese about ten minutes before done.
- In the meantime, bring to boil a large pan of salted water; add saffron, then add orecchiette.
- Cook according to package directions (mine cooked in about 20 minutes).
- Drain, but don't rinse, pasta.
- Return to sauce: remove the bay leaves, then combine pasta and sauce in a serving bowl.
- Top with remaining Romano cheese to serve.
This was delicious! The flavors were, in fact, delicate and balanced, and added a new, fresh take on the same old pasta dish. All I had on hand were shells, so I used those, and I had ground chicken rather than the pork. Everything else was done according to recipe. Thanks for the recipe; I will most definitely make this again!