Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Little ears

Soffrito the "Holy Trinity" of Italian cooking

This recipe is for a great, quick orecchiette pasta.  Orecchiette in Italian means "little ears."  (I have adapted this recipe from Giada De Laurentiis.)  Her recipe calls for ground turkey and mascarpone, but I substitute boca ground "meat" and heavy cream (or you could try cream cheese or maybe sour cream instead of the mascarpone.)  It is just really hard to find good mascarpone, so I just don't even try.  First I cook down my onions.  But the special ingredient I use while doing this is a cube of soffritto.   Soffritto is basically carrots, onions and celery, the base veggies for many Italian dishes.  We found this great product at Carrefour in Massa, Italy and always bring a bunch of it home.  Basically it is a bouillion cube, but it really adds a lot of flavor and is much faster then chopping up carrots, celery and onions and then cooking them down.  Next I add my "meat" but again here I am using Boca ground meat which is vegetarian.  But for you meat eaters add ground beef or turkey.  All the while my pasta is cooking, so when the meat and onions are ready so is the pasta.  So I add some oregano (the recipe calls for fresh but I only had dried and it was just fine.)  And the heavy cream and a cup of the water from boiling the pasta.  Then I add the pasta and mix together.  Very quick and very filling!

Soffritto bouillion cooking down with onions

Boca ground "beef" less fat and tastes extremely similar

Boca and onions cooking

Cannellini beans added, make sure you cook them so they "bread down" (get soft)

After adding pasta water and cream

All mixed together

On the plate ready to mangiare!



  1. Yum! Could you please put the recipe up?

  2. Ingredients
    1 pound orechiette pasta
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 cube soffritto (if you can find it)
    1 bag boca crumbles or 1/2 pound ground meat
    1 small onion, chopped
    1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano leaves (or dried herb)
    1/2 cup mascarpone cheese or 1/2 cup cream, cream cheese or sour cream
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or use cayenne instead for a kick
    Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

    In a large, heavy skillet warm the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and soffritto cube. Cook until onions are tender. Add meat and continue to cook.
    Add the beans and oregano cook for 2 more minutes. Add the cup of pasta cooking liquid and stir, scrapping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the mascarpone cheese and stir until it dissolved into a light sauce. Add the salt, pepper, and hot pasta. Stir until coated and serve.

    Original recipe from Giada, but I modified it...Buon Appetito!