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Orecchiette Pasta with Vegetables and Cheese

Orecchiette Pasta with Vegetables and CheeseOrecchiette (Italian for little ears) pasta is roughly shaped like 'ears'. This simple, yet delicious vegetable, cheese and pasta toss is sure to please the whole family.

Recipe Ingredients:

1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed of tough ends
2 shallots, diced
1 clove garlic, diced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large ripe yellow tomatoes, peeled and chopped, or substitute 3 to 4 plum tomatoes
1/2 cup Italian white wine, for example, Orvieto*
1/2 cup vegetable stock, canned or homemade
1/2 cup fresh basil, cut in chiffonade (very fine slices)
1/2 pound orecchiette pasta, cooked al dente according to package directions
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded provolone cheese
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan

Cooking Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Place the asparagus in a shallow dish or pan and cover with boiling water. Cover and let sit for 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and cool. Cut into 3 to 4-inch long pieces. Set aside.
  3. In a large sauté pan or deep skillet, sauté the shallots and garlic in olive oil until translucent in a large sauté pan or deep skillet. Add the tomatoes and sauté until they are soft and give up their juices.
  4. Add the wine and vegetable stock. Boil over high heat until reduced by about one-fourth. Add the asparagus pieces and boil about 2 minutes. Add the basil and mix. Add the freshly cooked pasta, and stir to coat.
  5. Add the cheeses and toss to melt.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

*If you don't wish to use wine, substitute additional vegetable stock.

Variation: You may substitute smoked provolone for the regular provolone cheese in the recipe

Recipe and photograph courtesy of Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Inc.