Orecchiette with Mushroom Thyme Sauce

This Orecchiette with Mushroom Thyme Sauce features pasta coated with a creamy, flavorful sauce – and it’s easy enough to make for a weeknight meal!

This Orecchiette with Mushroom Thyme Sauce features pasta coated with a creamy, flavorful sauce - and it's easy enough to make for a weeknight meal!Little ears.  That’s the literal translation of orecchiette (orecchio + -etto).  And that’s what we call it here in our house – little ears pasta.  As noted a couple of weeks ago, mac and cheese is a staple in Robbie’s diet.  (Oh, who am I kidding?  Mac and cheese is a staple in my diet, too!)  On mac and cheese nights, we typically open the pantry and use whatever pasta we happen to have lying around.  Recently, that meant he got ‘little ears mac and cheese’ for dinner.  He was rather amused by that name!

This Orecchiette with Mushroom Thyme Sauce features pasta coated with a creamy, flavorful sauce - and it's easy enough to make for a weeknight meal!Orecchiette is a type of pasta that hails from the Apulia region of Italy (i.e. the heel of the “boot” at the southern tip of the country).  The name comes from the fact that orecchiette looks like little ears.  (According to legend, orecchiette was invented as a way to use every last bit of pasta dough.)  While this type of pasta might not be as common as penne or spaghetti, it is widely available here in the States.  You should be able to find it fairly easily at any grocery store.

The concave shape of this pasta makes it perfect for cream sauces – the sauce gets caught in the ‘ear’ and makes for one heck of a good bite!  And speaking of creamy pasta sauces, the sauce used in this Orecchiette with Mushroom Thyme Sauce recipe is amazing.  It’s flavorful and easy enough to make on a weeknight – that’s my kinda meal right there!

This Orecchiette with Mushroom Thyme Sauce features pasta coated with a creamy, flavorful sauce - and it's easy enough to make for a weeknight meal!Orecchiette with Mushroom Thyme Sauce

I first stumbled across the idea of a mushroom thyme pasta sauce in the cookbook that came with our pasta machine.  To be fair, cookbook is a generous term here.  It was more of a small instruction manual with a couple of recipes at the back.  Oh, and it was in Italian.

This Orecchiette with Mushroom Thyme Sauce features pasta coated with a creamy, flavorful sauce - and it's easy enough to make for a weeknight meal!With the help of google, I managed to get the gist of that mushroom thyme sauce.  It sounded tasty, so I put it on the menu here recently.  Tasty is an understatement of the year!  Granted, I did make some adjustments to this recipe like adding bacon (because bacon!) and a bit of cornstarch (to thicken the sauce).  I’ll be the first to admit that mushrooms haven’t always been a favorite.  I enjoy the flavor, but I can’t get past the spongy texture.  However, when the mushrooms are cooked in this sauce and then served with pasta?  Count me in!  The thicker nature of orecchiette pasta paired quite well with the mushrooms.

This Orecchiette with Mushroom Thyme Sauce features pasta coated with a creamy, flavorful sauce - and it's easy enough to make for a weeknight meal!After just one bite, this Orecchiette with Mushroom Thyme Sauce absolutely landed on a spot on our list of favorite pasta dishes.  The flavor is incredible, and it’s an easy recipe to make.  I hope you enjoy this one as much as we do!

Did you make this Orecchiette with Mushroom Thyme Sauce at home?  Leave a comment, or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog) – I’d love to see your version!

This Orecchiette with Mushroom Thyme Sauce features pasta coated with a creamy, flavorful sauce - and it's easy enough to make for a weeknight meal!

Orecchiette with Mushroom Thyme Sauce

This Orecchiette with Mushroom Thyme Sauce features pasta coated with a creamy, flavorful sauce - and it's easy enough to make for a weeknight meal!
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 584kcal

Ingredients

  • 6 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 16 oz. orecchiette pasta
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 16 oz. button mushrooms sliced
  • tsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp minced fresh thyme or ½ tsp dried thyme
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • Using a large skillet, cook bacon until crispy. Transfer bacon to a paper-towel lined plate and drain most of the excess bacon grease from the skillet. (Tip: Leave ~2 tsp of grease in the skillet for flavor.)
  • Meanwhile, cook orecchiette according to package instructions. Once cooked, drain and set aside.
  • Add butter and sliced mushrooms to the skillet and place over medium heat.
  • Sauté for 3-4 minutes without stirring. Flip mushrooms over, add the garlic and continue sautéing for 3-4 more minutes without stirring.
  • Using a small bowl, whisk cornstarch and half-and-half together. Add this mixture to the skillet along with milk, crumbled cooked bacon (from above), salt, pepper, thyme and Parmesan cheese; stir until well combined.
  • Simmer mixture over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 6-8 minutes, or until sauce has thickened.
  • Add cooked orecchiette to skillet and toss until well combined.

This Orecchiette with Mushroom Thyme Sauce features pasta coated with a creamy, flavorful sauce - and it's easy enough to make for a weeknight meal!

Looking for more tasty pasta recipes?  Check out these other favorites, too:

Spaghetti Carbonara: A simple, easy, and absolutely delicious Italian meal!Spaghetti Carbonara

Say hello to a fun new pasta bake!  This Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta features a delicious combination of chicken, ham, cheese and pasta.  Bake it up for dinner tonight!Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta

This Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta is one heck of an epic 1-pot weeknight meal!Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta

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23 Comments

  1. Will be making this soon can i use more mushrooms / vegan butter / coconut cream / almond milk and vegan parmesan cheese i never had orecchiette with mushroom thyme sauce before i love mushrooms soooooooooo much i saw this recipe on twitter and i open it so fast as love mushrooms perfect for my after office meals love your recipes as always brightens up my day everyday after work will dm you if i make this and let you know how it goes Thanks Ramya

    1. I can’t speak to the vegan alternatives here, Ramya…but I suspect they would work just fine! The creamy sauce combined with the pasta and mushrooms is delicious. I hope you like it!

      1. Sorry just saw the reply to my comment only now as i forgot to check the reply to my comment sorry again btw will be making your chips later today after work and will let you know with vegan subs

  2. This is wonderful. Whenever I saute mushrooms I add thyme. They just goo so well together. And then you include bacon, half & half, garlic, Parm…. Fabulous.

    1. I totally agree with you, Mimi – mushrooms and thyme pair so well together. This recipe? Delicious!! I think I could eat this one at least once a week and not get tired of it. 🙂

    1. I’m with ya, Kathy…there is something about a bowl of pasta. Whether you go with a traditional red sauce or something different like this creamy mushroom thyme sauce, pasta is always a win in my book! Give this sauce a try sometime – it’s delicious!

  3. 5 stars
    We used to have pasta nights on Fridays (I know many people have pizza Friday nights instead), but we haven’t been following that tradition for a while. Still enjoying it every now and then, but definitely not enough!
    Anyway, the combination of mushrooms, bacon (prosciutto), and thyme is one of my favourite pairing to pasta; it’s rich yet not overly heavy and so flavourful. I occasionally add some green peas for the added freshness, but Andrew isn’t a huge fan of peas in pasta, so it doesn’t happen too often 🙂

    1. Ah – it’s cold and dreary outside, Ben. And white. So much white. I say restart the pasta on Friday night tradition as a way to liven things up a bit. And start with this mushroom – thyme sauce. It’s quite delicious!!

  4. Dang – this little ear pasta looks AHMAZING!!! Dishes like this make it hard for this vegetarian to stay vegetarian! Also BTW – now all I see are ears when I look at this! 🙂

    1. Haha – I guess you could alter this recipe slightly and omit the bacon. I’m not sure how to replace that pop of flavor – I bet you have some ideas, though! The sauce itself is amazing!!

  5. 5 stars
    I had never worked with this type of pasta, and if you are saying this is good with cream sauces then I need to find one as that type of sauce is my favourite on pastas

    1. Oh, definitely keep an eye out for orecchiette, Raymund – it’s fairly common here in the States, but I don’t know what it would be like over there. Either way, it’s great for cream sauces!!

  6. this sounds so delicious david but bacon is not on our eating list anymore … sigh … and hubby is not allowed pasta etc. oh well i can dream …

    1. Oh man – it does indeed sound like this is off the list, Sherry. Have you tried chickpea pasta? I’ll be honest…it’s not amazing, but we like to put it in soups. In soup, it’s close enough to “real” pasta that you don’t even notice it!

    1. Oh this is definitely worth putting on the menu, Marissa – it’s jumped up there pretty high on our list of favorite pastas! (And that says something since we love pasta in our house.)

  7. 5 stars
    Definitely an excellent weeknight dinner David. Although I could see myself making some garlic bread to go with this and serving it up with that on a Saturday night with a good bottle of red! Lovely!

  8. 5 stars
    Oh my, you are speaking my language here!! Orecchiette is my favorite pasta shape, thyme is my very, very favorite herb and I’m pretty sure I could eat my body weight in mushrooms! Pinned for the next pasta night {which is frequent at my house!}

    1. We love pasta nights here in our house, too, Tasia! This recipe has raced right up the list…it has SO much flavor. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do! 🙂

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