Orecchiette con Funghi Porcini, Fava, e Pancetta
Region: Italy, Apulia
Category: Pasta with Vegetables and Meat
Difficulty: Easy but labor intensive
This preparation from Apulia is perfect for the early summer and is a huge favorite because the tastes are so complementary and delicious. Fresh porcini mushrooms are expensive and available only in farmers markets and some specialty supermarkets such as Whole Foods, so feel free to replace them with shiitake mushrooms.[Clifford A. Wright]
Yield: Makes 6 servings
Preparation Time: 40 minutes
1/2 pound tomato
1 quart unpeeled fava beans (from about 3 pounds of pods)
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 ounce pancetta, diced
1/4 pound fresh porcini mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 1/4 cup freshly grated pecorino cheese or more if desired
1. Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat then plunge the tomatoes in just enough to loosen their skins, about 2 minutes. Remove the tomatoes and add the fava beans to loosen their skins and cook them a bit, about 6 minutes. Drain.
2. Once the tomatoes are cool, remove the skin and cut up coarsely. Remove the skins of the fava beans and set aside.
3. In a flame-proof casserole, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat with the pancetta and cook until crispy golden brown, about6 minutes. Add the porcini mushrooms and garlic and cook, stirring until soft and the garlic starts turning color, about 3 minutes or less. Add the fava beans and tomatoes; reduce the heat to low and cook until soft, about 20 minutes. Stir in the basil, season with salt and pepper, and leave until needed.
4. Meanwhile, for every pound of pasta, bring 6 quarts of water to a rolling boil over high heat, salt abundantly with up to 1/2 cup of salt, then add the pasta in handfuls. Cook over high heat, stirring occasionally so the pasta doesn't stick together, until al dente. Drain without rinsing, saving a ladle or two of pasta water.
5. Transfer the pasta into the sauce and add a ladle or two of pasta water to make it creamy. Add the pecorino cheese and cook for 2 minutes or until the cheese has melted, then serve hot.