Orecchiette with Bacon Meatballs

Orecchiette with Bacon Meatballs

Orecchiette with Bacon Meatballs

12 ounces ground pork

4 slices bacon or uncured smoked bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces*

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper, divided

2 – 3 T. olive oil

8 ounces dried orecchiette pasta

2 small shallots, thinly sliced

3 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped (2 C.)

4 C. kale or spinach, coarsely chopped

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 C. shaved Parmesan (optional)


In a medium bowl combine pork, bacon, garlic and 1/4 tsp. of the pepper until well mixed. Using a tsp., scoop the mixture into the palm of your hand and shape into 1-inch meatballs. Pieces of the bacon should be visible. In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add half the meatballs. Cook and stir until meatballs are browned on all sides and the bacon is crisp, about 8 to 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer meatballs to paper towel; drain. Repeat with remaining meatballs. Reserving 1 T. bacon drippings in the skillet; set aside. Cook pasta according to package directions in lightly salted water; drain. Reserving about 1/4 C. of cooking liquid. Cook shallot in reserved bacon dripping, over medium-high heat, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan with wooden spoon to release the brown bits. Return meatballs to the skillet. Add tomatoes; cook 2 to 3 minutes. Add pasta and kale; toss to combine, adding pasta liquid as needed to moisten the pasta. Season with salt and remaining 1/4 tsp. pepper. Top with Parmesan before serving.   Extra thick bacon does not work with this recipe. It’s too big for the mini meatballs and doesn’t stay incorporated into the meatballs when cooking.


Yield: 4 servings

Calories: 673

Fat: 37g

Fiber: 5g

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