Orecchiette with Bacon, Snap Peas, and Ricotta

Here we are with another Molly Baz Cook This Book winner. As we move into fall and winter, creamy pastas are the thing and this is a really easy way to make a cream sauce. You’re not dealing with a ton of ingredients or steps – the key is just to have a couple items prepped in advance and from there it’s all about timing. The sauce feels sorta carbonara…sorta cacio e pepe…sorta just amazing.

Start with the one bit of real prep: trimming snap peas. Cut the ends off 6-8 oz. snap peas and slice (at an angle) into thirds. Once you’re all set, cook 6-8 strips of bacon. (The recipe tells you to cut the bacon into half-inch pieces and do this in a large pot, but I cook my bacon in the oven as strips, let it cool, and then cut it up. It takes absolutely nothing away from the dish and I find it to be simpler. It also means I can prep the snap peas while the bacon cooks since this method is hands off.) Once the bacon is about done (takes 20 min at 375), start cooking 1 lb of orecchiette according to the package directions. When there’s 2 minutes remaining in the cooking time (for me, this meant when the pasta had been boiling for 7 minutes), add the snap peas to the pot and boil for 1 additional minute. Turn off the heat and reserve 1 1/2 c. pasta water before draining the pasta and snap peas. Return the pasta/snap peas back to the pot, add the chopped bacon and 1 c. of the pasta water, and heat over medium. Stir stir stir while slowly adding 1/2 c. grated parmesan, little by little, to form a sauce. Turn off the heat and add 1/4 c. whole milk ricotta in 4 dollops, stirring only once, maybe twice, so you create pockets of ricotta. Add some salt and crack lots of black pepper on top. Serve with extra grated parmesan.

The only issue I have with this pasta is that the proportions are slightly off. I don’t think you need a full pound (aka whole box) of pasta. I would like it to be chock full of bacon and veggies in every bite and would therefore use maybe 3/4 of the box instead. The recipe said this serves 4, but those are 4 big servings – and no way are they 4 servings if you’re serving as a side like we were. That said, I’ve never complained about having too much pasta. I might have questions about the portions, but I got zero questions about the taste. It’s gooood.