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Orecchiette is from the Italian word for ear, "orecchio" which these little pastas resemble. This dish is extremely flavorful and easy to prepare. The only draw back is it looses a lot of freshness when reheated as a left-over. As delicious as this is, there may not be anything left over in the first place!

Preparation Time: 40 minutes    Serving Size: 4

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large or 2 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 to 1 pound ground veal
  • kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (like sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio)
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons capers (do not rinse)
  • 3/4 pound orecchiette
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1/4 cup fresh Italian parley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
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Heat olive oil in a large deep-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Have a large pot of water heating for the pasta. Add the finely chopped onion to the olive oil and sauté until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook 2 minutes more, until just beginning to brown. Add the ground veal and season to taste with salt and pepper. Turn the up heat slightly to almost high and cook, stirring often, until veal is no longer pink, any liquid has evaporated and fond has formed on the bottom of the pan.

Add the wine to the pan and scrape up the fond. Boil until nearly evaporated, about 5 minutes total. Add the chicken stock, thyme, rosemary, crushed red pepper and capers. Lower heat back to medium-high and cook until liquid is reduced by half, about 8-10 minutes.

While this reduces, cook the orecchiette in well-salted water until al dente. Use a spider, or slotted spoon to strain the pasta into the skillet, retaining the pasta water. Add the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, parsley and butter. Sitr to combine, adding small amounts of pasta water if necessary. Serve.

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