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Orecchiette with Pork, Tomatoes, and Arugula

Rourke and I moved in to our new place on Saturday, and all I can say is that I’m tired. Moving is always this perfect storm of excitement, dread, and exhaustion. I’m squarely in the exhaustion phase.

Because of said moving, we’ve been eating out for almost a week. While it is nice to have someone make the food for you, I’m a bit of a control freak so I like to know exactly what’s going in to my food. Best way to do that is to cook it myself.

So as we were eating out tonight, I was dreaming of one of my easy, weeknight pasta dishes: Orecchiette with Pork, Tomatoes, and Arugula. I confess that one of the reasons I like orecchiette is that it’s such a cute little shape. It’s also the perfect shape to hold little bits of the tomato-y ground pork. A perfect bite every time! ┬áMy kitchen is almost set up (finally!), so I think I’m going to make this tomorrow night for dinner. Mmmmm….

Orecchiette with Pork, Tomatoes, and Arugula
- serves 2-

1/2 lb. dried orecchiette
1/3 lb. ground pork
2 small garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. of whole fennel seed, toasted
1/2 tsp. of oregano
1/4 tsp. of dried red chili flakes
1/8 tsp. sweet paprika
1/3 lb. or arugula, rinsed and spun dry
1 – 28 oz. can of chopped tomatoes, drained
kosher salt
1 Tbsp. olive oil
grated parmesan cheese (optional)

1. Bring a large pot of water and cook the orecchiette to package directions. It’s best to time it so that the orecchiette is ready just as it’s ready to be added to the pork, but the first time around you might want to cook the pasta in advance and set it aside until you’ve got the timing down.

2. While the orecchiette is cooking, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Add the garlic and chili flakes and cook until fragrant, approx. 30 seconds.

3. Add the pork to the pan, then to the pork add the fennel seed, oregano, paprika, and a pinch of salt. Mix with a wooden spoon and brown the pork.

4. When the pork is no longer pink, add the drained tomatoes to the pan and cook until the tomatoes are heated through.

5. To the pan add the arugula and the orecchiette and stir. Heat until the arugula is wilted and the pasta is heated through (if you’ve cooked the pasta in advance). Divide the pasta among the plates and top with parmesan cheese (if using). Serve and enjoy!

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