Orecchiette with Mustard Greens, Country Ham, and Potatoes

August 30, 2011
2 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

A riff on the classic Orecchiette with Turnip Tops. Mustard greens have a lot more flavor, and a little zing. American country ham (dry cured) is one of our treasures and I wish folks would use it more often. It's closest relative is probably speck. It doesn't have the aromatic undertones of (juniper, nutmeg), but you ca use that to your advantage. - eastprong —eastprong

Test Kitchen Notes

This was a recipe I would never normally make, I thought ‘Why on earth would I want two types of starch in one dish? The pasta is enough!’ Turns out, I was wrong -- and that never happens! The soft creaminess of the potatoes and the al dente bite of the pasta is an amazing combo only heightened by the great balance of bitter mustards with savory, salty ham. I would have thought cubed ham but the julienne was spot on. Eastprong doesn't tell us what to do with the Parmesan, but make sure to add it before serving because it really puts this dish over the edge. I'd recommend adding some herbage, probably thyme and rosemary, too. This is a wonderful recipe that allows lots of experimentation and building. Think this recipe isn't your cup of tea? Try it anyway. - JessicaBakes —JessicaBakes

What You'll Need
  • 1 1/2 pounds large red potatoes
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 2 bunches mustard greens
  • 8 ounces country ham steak, julienned
  • 1 pound Orecchiette
  • 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
  1. Cut the potatoes into 1/2" dice. Cook in a large pasta pot in boiling salted water until just barely tender. Shock in ice water, drain.
  2. Wash, de-stem, and coarsely chop the mustard greens. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat and saute the garlic until golden. Add the red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds. Add the greens and chicken stock, bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 7 minutes. Remove cover, increase the heat stir in the ham, and cook, tossing with tongs, for another minute. Add the potatoes, toss and serve over the orecchiette
  3. When you add the greens to the pan in Step 2, start cooking the orecchiette in the same pot as the potatoes until al dente. Drain.
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1 Review

mboerner September 17, 2011
There is a confusion in this recipe. What the Italians call "turnip tops," are called "broccoli rape" in the US, and are absolutely full of flavor -- really more flavorful than mustard greens.