This Orecchiette pasta is almost impossible not to like. A fresh piccata style meat sauce atop tender and chewy pasta all crowned with a shower of grated parmesan!!!
You can make it ahead – it reheats and freezes like a dream. Ready in under 45 minutes this weeknight-friendly dinner is one you’ll make over and over again!
Popular in Apulia, a region in Southern Italy, orecchiette is usually served with a pork, caper and white wine sauce. Since I was after a lighter sauce, I swapped ground turkey for the pork. Given my love of piccata sauce, I tweaked the traditional sauce in that direction – adding lemon juice, zest and a variety of Italian herbs.
What you need
- Orecchiette or other small pasta like farfalle or penne
- olive oil
- ground turkey – you could also use ground chicken or pork.
- chicken stock
- dry white wine
- dried basil, oregano, rosemary and sage OR Italian seasoning
- lemon zest
- unsalted butter
- grated parmesan cheese
Orecchiette Pasta FAQ’s:
The shape resembles a small ear which is how it got it’s name.
It takes between 8 and 15 minutes to cook depending upon the method you use to cook the pasta!
In this recipe, any small shaped pasta works – farfalle, small macaroni or even penne!
There are various thoughts on how to keep orecchiette from sticking. I use a slightly larger pot than I do for other pastas and use about 2 cups more water. I also stir the pasta frequently to separate those cute little ears!
How to make this Weeknight Wonder Orecchiette Pasta:
- Saute the onions and garlic. While the onions and garlic are cooking, cook the orecchiette pasta. TIP: Reserve about ½ cup of the cooking liquid to thicken the sauce! The starch in the sauce works as thickener and gives the sauce a silkier texture.
- Brown the turkey meat.
- Deglaze the pan with white wine and add the herbs. Add the reserved pasta cooking water to thicken the sauce.
- Add the pasta to the turkey piccata sauce and finish with butter and parmesan cheese.
Serve this with salad and dinner is DONE!
Other Pasta Recipes:
Other pasta recipes for you to enjoy!
If you enjoyed this recipe, I would love for you to rate it! Cheers! Nancy
Orecchiette Pasta with Turkey Piccata Sauce
- Cutting board
- Large saucepan or stockpot
- large saute pan or skillet
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 onion medium dice
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 pound ground turkey
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 ½ cups chicken stock
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- ¼ teaspoon dried sage
- ¾ pound dried orecchiette pasta
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- zest of one lemon
- 3 Tablespoons capers drained
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- In a large pot, bring 8 cups of water to a boil.
- In a large saute pan or small dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Add the onions and minced garlic and saute until translucent but not browned, about 5 minutes.
- Add the ground turkey and season with salt and pepper and cook, breaking up the meat, until the turkey is no longer pink – about 7 minutes.
- Add the wine to the turkey and cook until the wine evaporates about 5 minutes.
- While the wine is cooking down, liberally salt the boiling pasta water and add the orecchiette. Cook the orecchiette until tender but still firm to the bite – about 7 – 10 minutes.
- Add the herbs and the chicken stock and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
- Add butter and stir to melt into the sauce. Add the capers, lemon zest and parsley and stir. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
- Drain the pasta and add to the turkey sauce and stir to combine. Transfer the pasta to a serving platter or individual serving bowls. Sprinkle with parmesan if desired, passing additional parmesan at the table.
- When I season any dish that uses chicken stock, I very lightly salt the dish! Depending upon the stock you use, you may need a bit more or a bit less salt.
- As I mentioned, this dish reheats beautifully. You can reheat it on the stove (adding a bit of water) or in the microwave!
- You can also freeze this dish. If making to freeze, omit the parmesan and add it just before serving.