Orecchiette with Chanterelles, Brocollini, Frisee and Pancetta


The warm feeling that permeates all over; when your heart is overflowing and you know that though your life isn’t perfect you can’t possibly want or need anything else that very moment.  Pure joy.  That’s what I’ve felt all day.  Much more than happy.  Happiness is feeling pleasure about something or someone but joy is so much more.  With joy, along with pleasure comes deep satisfaction, peace and gratitude.  So what made me so joyful today?

  • I took a couple of days off from blogging-related activities.  I enjoy what I do here so much that I’ve had a tendency lately to put cooking and photography on top of everything else.  It was nice to be outdoors and smell the roses (and get some much-needed exercise).
  • I spent quality time with my husband this weekend.  We shared a lot of laughs.
  • My 11-year old niece sent me a text message saying that she made the cut and will be dancing with a group in front of the Sacramento Kings audience this month.  “Not everyone got in”,  she said.  I’m so proud of her.
  • I overheard my husband chatting jovially with our 17-year old nephew about Christmas and future plans, laughing and teasing with each other.   It was music to my ears.
  • I spent some time at the craft store picking up packaging material for a cookie swap with some blogger friends.  I’m so thankful to have met so many kindred spirits doing what I love so much.
  • The pastor’s message really resonated with me today.
  • A kind woman at the department store gave me a gift card on her way out.  She had nothing to buy and her gift card would be expiring today so she passed it on to me.  Much more than the extra $50 that I saved today, her thoughtfulness and generosity warmed my heart so much that a smile has been plastered on my face all afternoon.

‘Tis the season for giving, for all things merry and bright but I admit that I lose sight of this when I allow myself to get caught up in the busyness of the season.  Today was different and I’m very thankful.

This dish was inspired by a featured recipe in my latest issue of La Cucina Italiana.  The magazine’s version used pancetta, potatoes and frisee but I improvised with other ingredients that inspired me at the market.  I sautéed  chanterelles, cremini mushrooms and broccolini together along with the frisee.  Garlic, a dab of butter, a little half-and-half and stock made up the sauce and I sprinkled crispy pancetta on top as a finishing touch but it also added a nice contrast against the creaminess of the sauce and the mellow quality of the vegetables.  These pictures I took in a rush do not do this dish justice.  They don’t show how full of flavor and thoroughly satisfying all the ingredients were together but I enjoyed it so much I prepared it again two days later.

Heart warm, belly full, I couldn’t ask for more.



5.0 from 7 reviews
Orecchiette with Chanterelles, Brocollini, Frisee and Pancetta
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This pasta dish comes together in minutes but the flavors are explosive. An ideal weeknight meal.
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 2
  • ½ - ¾ pound pasta
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced (use any combination of mushrooms you like)
  • ½ onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1¼ cup stock
  • ¼ - ⅓ cup half and half or cream
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 bunch brocollini, blanched and cut into one-inch pieces
  • a handful frisee
  • olive oil 2-3 T
  • parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup cooked, crispy pancetta
  • salt and pepper
  • lemon juice
  1. To prepare the orecchiette, bring a pot of water to a boil. Salt generously blance the brocollini, about 1-2 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the pot (but don't drain the water!) and run with cold water to stop the cooking. Bring the water back to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente. Tip: add the pasta to the pot when you start cooking your sauce. They should finish at about the same time.
  2. To prepare the sauce: Cook the onion in olive oil over medium-high heat then add the mushrooms. Cook for 4 minutes until caramelized. Season with salt and pepper. Add the garlic and cook for about a minute then add the stock. Bring to a boil. Add the half and half and lemon juice, to taste. Simmer for a couple of minutes then add brocollini and frisee. The pasta should be cooked by now.
  3. Add pasta to the pan, toss, and add parmesan, pancetta and lemon juice to taste and serve.




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  1. Your post made me smile, Jean. It’s so easy to get caught up in life that we forget to actually live… to enjoy little moments, small pleasures, and soak it in. Thank you for the reminder :).

    I’ve always liked orecchiette (those little ears are too cute!) and I love your addition of mushrooms and broccolini.

  2. Now, especially now with the crazy holidays, it’s so great that you took a little time to make that list of positive happenings. Good for you!

  3. I love how this season brings out the best (and worst) out of people. But I tend to be optimistic now (however, my former self was the other way around), so I believe this season makes people happier, more forgiving, more generous…like that lady who gave you the gift card! Wow, talk about random acts of kindness!

    This pasta is just GORGE-OUS! I love pasta and have a hard time giving it up! Since I’m on my “weight loss” path right now, ideally, I’d love to cut down on simple carbs like pasta…but I just CAN’T! CAN’T!!! I can’t even switch to whole wheat for some reason…always white pasta. Oh well…This dish is just right for me. Wish I had a (big) bowl now!

  4. A mouthwatering pasty dish and awesome combination!



  5. Beautiful post, Jean! I tend to stray to the darker side of the road, this was a great reminder to cheer up and just relish the warmth of the season. 🙂

    Your pasta dish looks ravishing!

  6. Oh Jean what a sweet post. So many of us forget to really stop and be happy and thankful for all we’ve got. The last thing about the woman and the gift card is so kind. Sometimes people don’t realise how the little things we do can really affect others -and in a good way. The pasta looks splendid! Thanks for sharing:)

  7. Beautiful post Jean, very uplifting and positive;-) I have been craving a pasta dish similar to this one- do you suppose it’s fate that I found it here tonight right before I’m going to make dinner!?
    Thankfully I can pin it for dinner inspiration;-)

  8. Oh, how I adore pasta!! And… oh how I adore that magazine!! I’ve found recipe after recipe that I love. My subscription has lapsed, but I think you’ve just inspired me to renew as a present to myself.
    I think we all need a blogging break once in a while, it does wonders for motivation. So happy that you had such a wonderful weekend!! Hope the rest of the week is just as nice.

  9. Jean – your blog resignated with me. We do need to balance and take time – “smell the roses”. I loved your posting and that is was so much from your heart. Looking forward to our cookie swap and I need to find some cute packaging among my many items at home since I will not have any time with my work requirements this week. This pasta looks and sounds so comforting – perfect for the kind of weekend you had.

  10. This looks very appealing. It’s really hot here now and I’ve been making a tortellini pasta salad but maybe I need to go up a notch and try this. 🙂

    Hope the holidays are kind to you!

  11. I love this post, Jean!! I need to do that – I need to stop and take it all in… And enjoy it with a plate of this delicious pasta dish!!

  12. A warm heart and a full belly is what life’s all about! This dish looks like the perfect dinner… a glass of wine alongside wouldn’t hurt 😉

  13. Lora @cakeduchess says:

    This is such a sweet post, Jean. I really loved seeing that story on FB about the gift card…really rare and so nice to have happen. I wish we all could remember to take the time to be more thoughtful throughout the day. Your pasta is making me hungry! I saw that pasta in the issue and was dreaming of it too:))

  14. The pasta looks delicious! You have so much to be happy about, I am glad you took time away, and enjoyed your self and family so much!

  15. What a beautiful post, Jean. It’s nice to take the time and smell the roses, we all need that sometimes. Your pasta is absolutely gorgeous. I would love a big bowl of it!

  16. I always seem to be in a rush when I take my photos and would love to have more time for it but unfortunately there is always someone waiting to eat the food.
    It’s funny how a kindness from a stranger can turn your day around, even just a smile can lift your spirits. You did have a great day, but what was great was that you were aware of it. Too often we are buried in our own woes and busyness and don’t notice the things you noticed today.

  17. I am glad you took some quality time and enjoyed the rest of your world 🙂 And I saw the the post on FB about the lady with the gift card…this is what it is really all about!

    And your pasta dish is simply gorgeous!

  18. Jean – what a sweet post! I love it that you find all these wonderful things to focus on, there’s always negative around us but if we choose to be thankful and focus on all of our amazing blessings it changes everything! Love your pasta (it sounds superb!) and your delightful post!

  19. I loved reading about your little break and thoughts. I am always on the clocks not having enough time and everything seems “necessary”. You reminded me today what’s important and everything can wait (minus school and activities stuff). This recipe is perfect for tonight. Very busy day after kids get out of school and I need to pick up some ingredients before hand… first time trying orecchiette tonight! 🙂


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