With school back in session and all of the busy fall events, it's nice to take a break and treat yourself and loved one. Date night at home has never been easier than with Mushroom and Leek Orecchiette.
Pasta is not only sets a mood, it's perfect for a quick and easy meal, such as Sheet Pan Tortellini alla Norma. This quick cooking pasta dish comes together in less time than it'll take you to decide what type of wine to serve with it!
All good things start with bacon, including this Mushroom and Leek Orecchiette. With just a few simple ingredients that you probably already have, this pasta recipe is sure to become a new favorite.
- Orecchiette - This pasta literally translates to little ears. The cupped shape of this pasta is perfect for scooping sauce and trapping ingredients like bacon and leeks. It's a common shape in southern Italy.
- Bacon - Not only does this add smoky, savory, and salty flavors to the white wine cream sauce, the bacon fat is also used to sauté the mushrooms, garlic, and leeks.
- Leeks - These delicately flavored onions sweeten as they cook and pair well with light sauces like this white wine and cream sauce.
- Mushrooms - Add earthiness, meatiness, and umami to the sauce. Baby bella or cremini mushrooms will have a meatier flavor but use your favorite variety.
- Garlic - Adds savory flavor with its sharp, pungent bite.
- Butter - Adds richness to this pasta while also helping to cook the mushrooms.
- White Wine - Light, bright, and crisp, pick one that you like drinking as the flavors will concentrate.
- Heavy Cream - Adds richness to the sauce and also helps to emulsify the sauce into a silky texture.
- Parmesan - Adds both saltiness and a nutty note to the pasta.
- Chili Flakes - A pinch will wake up all of the flavors and give a back note of heat.
How to Make Mushroom and Leek Orecchiette
This dish comes together about as quickly as it'll take you to boil your pasta. While the water is boiling you can already have the sauce going.
Time needed: 35 minutes.
Pop open a bottle of white and put on some Sinatra. Date night gets a makeover with this easy and elegant pasta dish.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt. Cook your pasta according to the package directions for al dente. It will continue to cook in the sauce. Drain your pasta, reserving one cup of the starchy pasta water.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and allow it to cook until the bacon is crispy, and it has rendered its fat. Remove from the pan.
Add the leeks, mushrooms, and garlic into the pan and cook for 3-5 minutes until the leeks are tender and the mushrooms are beginning to brown. Add the butter and continue to continue to cook until the mushrooms are cooked through.
Add the white wine, stirring and scraping up any brown bits. Allow the wine to cook until it is slightly reduced.
Add the cream into the pan and stir to combine. Add the pasta and bacon. Grate fresh parmesan over the top and then add the reserved pasta water. Continue to gently stir the pasta until the cheese has melted and the sauce has taken on a creamy texture.
Garnish with a pinch of chili flakes and freshly shaved parmesan.
While bacon adds a smoky note to this dish, you can substitute the bacon with pancetta or guanciale. For a similar smoky note, you can also use speck.
This recipe can be made completely Gluten Free. Substitute the orecchiette in this pasta recipe for a similar shaped Gluten Free variety.
Top Tip for Mushroom and Leek Orecchiette
Always make sure you season your pasta water. Not only is it the only change you get to season the pasta itself, but in recipes such as this that call for pasta water as an ingredient, it will add flavor. Once your water is boiling add your salt. Wait for the salt to dissolve and then add your pasta. If you add the salt at the beginning, you risk the salinity concentrating too much.
Mushroom and Leek Orecchiette
- 1 stockpot
- 1 large skillet
- 1 colander
- 6 oz orecchiette pasta
- 4-6 strips bacon, sliced
- 1 leek, thinly sliced
- 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp butter
- splash of white wine
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 cup parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
- 1 cup pasta water
- pinch of chili flakes
- Bring a pot of water to a boil. Season with salt. Cook your pasta according to the package directions for al dente.
- Drain the pasta and reserve 1 cup of the pasta water.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until crispy and the fat is rendered.
- Remove the bacon from the pan.
- Add the mushrooms, leek, and garlic. Cook for 3-5 minutes.
- Add the butter and continue to cook the mushrooms until they are lightly golden, and the leeks are tender.
- Add the wine, making sure to scrape up the dark bits on the pan. Let slightly reduce.
- Add the cream and stir to combine.
- Add the pasta and the bacon into the pan. Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
- Add the pasta water and continue to stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is creamy.
- Garnish with a pinch of red pepper flakes and freshly shaved parmesan.
- Buon appettito!