Spring Orecchiette with Asparagus and Goat Cheese

Spring has officially sprung and whoa does it feel good!  I am loving the new seasonal produce and fresher, lighter dishes.  I’m also loving this spring orecchiette with asparagus and goat cheese because what’s not to love?  Pasta, goat cheese, and seasonal stars asparagus and peas–yes please!

a white bowl with orecchiette pasta, asparagus, peas, pancetta, and a sauce of goat cheese and parmesan cheese

This dish really is so many of my favorite things in one place.  Pasta, of course, because who doesn’t love pasta, right?  But then that pasta is mixed with fresh, bright asparagus and sweet spring peas.  It all gets enveloped in the lightest sauce made from garlic, two kinds of cheese, and a hit of pasta water.  Top that with crunchy pine nuts and crisp, salty pancetta and there’s truly no way not to devour this.  It’s simple enough for a weeknight and fancy enough for a dinner party or your Easter table.  In fact, you could even swap the pancetta for bits of leftover ham if you want to make this next week when the internet is all ablaze with calls for help using up all that Easter ham.

An army of asparagus lovers in your home?  Try these recipes!

No matter when or how you make this, it’s going to be a hit in your house.  You’ll be making it a few times this spring.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

a bite of orecchiette pasta with asparagus, peas, pancetta, and a sauce of goat cheese and parmesan cheese

Tender pasta, two kinds of cheese, crispy pancetta, and the best seasonal vegetables make this spring orecchiette with asparagus and goat cheese a true winner.


Spring Orecchiette with Asparagus and Goat Cheese

adapted from Williams-Sonoma



Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1 lb. asparagus, ends trimmed, spears cut into 1-inch pieces

5 oz. pancetta, chopped

1/2 yellow onion, chopped

12 oz. orecchiette

6 TBSP olive oil

1 c. frozen peas

1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese

3 oz. goat cheese, at room temperature, cut or broken into 1-inch pieces

2 TBSP pine nuts, toasted



  1. Toast the pine nuts in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat.  Set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil.  Add the asparagus and cook until just fork-tender, about 3 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the asparagus to a plate and set aside.  Return the water to a boil.
  3. Add the orecchiette to the boiling water and cook according to the package instructions. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) of the cooking water, and set aside.
  4. Meanwhile in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, cook the pancetta, stirring occasionally, until crisp and cooked through, about 5 minutes.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pancetta to paper towels to drain.  Add the onion to the fat in the pan, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until lightly browned and soft, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the olive oil to the pan and stir in the asparagus, peas, pancetta, and reserved pasta water. Add the orecchiette and stir to mix well. Cook until the sauce in the pan thickens just a bit, about 2 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan and goat cheese until slightly melted and gooey.
  6. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with pine nuts, and serve immediately.

yield: 4 to 6 servings

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1 Comment

  1. July 27, 2023 / 11:13 pm

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