Orecchiette Pasta with Ground Lamb, Broccolini, and Pecorino
Switch up the flavor profiles of your favorite dishes by adding ground lamb instead of ground beef. Broccolini looks similar to broccoli, but has longer, thinner stems and smaller florets. Recipe courtesy of the American Lamb Board.
- 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 Pound orecchiette pasta
- 1 bunch broccolini (about 12 ounces), cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/4 Pound ground lamb
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 to 1/2 Teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
- 3/4 Cups grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano
Bring about 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot and season it with 1 tablespoon of the salt. Add the pasta and cook until almost tender but still a little underdone, stirring occasionally, about 7 minutes. Add the broccolini to the pot and cook 3 minutes more, until the pasta is al dente and the broccolini is bright green and crisp-tender. Drain, reserving about ½ cup of the cooking water.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or other large pot. Add the lamb and break it up into small chunks. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the lamb is deeply browned and a little crispy, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and the pepper flakes, add the remaining teaspoon of salt, and cook about 1 minute longer.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir the pasta and broccolini into the pot with the lamb. Add the reserved cooking water and continue cooking about 1 to 2 minutes more, to allow the pasta to absorb the flavors. Sprinkle in about ½ cup of the cheese and stir to combine well. Serve the pasta in warm bowls with the remaining ¼ cup of cheese sprinkled over the top.