Orecchiette a la Malori

Can I just say I’ve wanted to name a recipe after myself since starting the blog?  Mostly because I think it’s hilarious but also because I can, dammit.  So today’s dish is Orecchiette a la Malori.  This is a dish that’s been made over and over again but the recipe below is my own special spin on it.

Orecchiette a la Malori

I used to think that the type of pasta used in recipes didn’t make much of a difference.  I figured that spaghetti, rigatoni, and bowtie pasta all yielded the same end result.  Recently I’ve realized how wrong I was.  Certain types of pasta react to sauces in very different ways.  For example, I love using fusilli or cavatappi in mac n’ cheese because of the way the cheese melts around the curls in the noodle.  Spaghetti is best served in a marinara or creamy cheese sauce so as not to add too much extra bulk to each bite (in my humble opinion).  When it comes to orecchiette, it pairs extremely well with vegetables because the little ear-shaped pasta clings to the veggies like they’re giving each other tiny pasta/veggie hugs.  It’s a perfect pairing.

Orecchiette a la Malori

This dish is a great way to pretend like it’s not winter.  It’s light enough so you can pretend like you’re sticking to your New Year’s diet but hearty enough to warm your soul.  Ya’ll, this orecchiette is damn good.  And now you should make it.

Orecchiette a la Malori

ingredients for the tomatoes:

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 handful of fresh oregano
  • generous pinch of salt and pepper
  • 4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

ingredients for the fennel:

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 fennel bulbs, sliced
  • generous pinch of salt and pepper

for the pasta:

  • 1 lb. orecchiette
  • 1 pack of hot Italian sausage

put it all together:

  1. Start early in the day with your tomatoes.  They’ll take 3 hours to roast so this really isn’t a last-minute recipe.  More of a lazy Sunday situation.  Place your tomatoes in a rimmed baking sheet, coat with the olive oil, salt & pepper, and oregano.  Strategically place your sliced garlic throughout the tray.
  2. Place them in a pre-heated oven (225 F) for 3 hours.
  3. When your tomatoes are finished, increase the heat in your oven to 400F.
  4. Place your fennel on another rimmed baking sheet, top with salt & pepper, and place in the oven for 30 minutes.
  5. While your fennel is roasting, bring a pot of salted water to a boil.  Add your orecchiette and cook until al dente.  Use about 1/4 cup of your pasta water to deglaze the pan with your tomatoes on it.  Some of the best flavor will be roasted onto the pan and adding the water will allow you to get the best of it!
  6. While your pasta is cooking, slice your sausage and brown it in a large saute pan.
  7. At this point, your pasta should be cooked.  Drain it.
  8. Your fennel should also be finished so grab that deliciousness out of the oven.
  9. Pour your drained pasta, fennel, and tomatoes in with the sausage.  Toss to combine and allow everything to cook together for a few minutes.  Then, enjoy!

This pasta seems labor intensive, but it’s really not.  If you’re spending a day at home it’s perfect.  Don’t be afraid of roasting your veggies.  It gives them such an amazing flavor and it’s officially my favorite way to eat tomatoes.  This dish would also be amazing with other veggies in it.  Next time I think I may add some olives and artichoke hearts.  It would probably be great with mushrooms too.  Don’t be afraid to experiment!  That’s the best part of cooking.

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