Orecchiette with Fennel in Parmesan Cream

  • Active Time 20m
  • Total Time 20m

Makes 6 side-dish servings

Translated from the Italian, orecchiette means "little ears," a good description of their appearance. This is a very appealing pasta that can be made by hand or purchased dried. Here it pairs with a complex sauce that features exotic mushrooms and strips of Italian ham.


  • 4 ounces dried or 8 ounces fresh orecchiette
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 3-4 ounces fresh crimini or shiitake mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoons margarine or butter
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 ounces prosciutto, cut into thin bite-size strips
  • 1/3 cup snipped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 tablespoon sambuca or other anise liqueur or 1/2 teaspoon anise extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon aniseed


In a large saucepan or pasta pot bring 3 quarts water to boiling. Add pasta. Reduce heat slightly. Boil, uncovered, 9-12 minutes for dried pasta or 2-3 minutes for fresh, or till al dente, stirring occasionally. (Or, cook according to package directions.) Drain.

Meanwhile, clean, trim, and slice the fennel bulb. Clean mushrooms; remove stems and discard. Slice mushroom caps.

In a large skillet cook and stir the fennel over medium-high heat in hot margarine or butter for 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and onion. Cook and stir for 5 minutes more. Add prosciutto and parsley.

In a small mixing bowl combine whipping cream, Parmesan cheese, chicken broth, egg, anise liqueur or anise extract, and aniseed. Pour cream mixture into skillet. Cook and stir till cheese melts and sauce thickens slightly. Add hot cooked pasta and toss to coat pasta well. Serve immediately.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Owen. All rights reserved.

RecID 2320

nutrition information per serving

290 calories; 19g total fat; 87mg cholesterol; 278mg sodium; 20g carbohydrates; 3g fiber; 11g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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