Orecchiette Pasta with Pesto and Cod Cheeks

Orecchiette Pasta with Pesto and Cod

Orecchiette isn't an easy pasta shape to track down in the UK, so unless you're lucky enough to have an artisan pasta maker at your nearest farmer's market, your best bet is to roll up your sleeves and make it yourself.

The "recipe" for the traditional egg-free dough couldn't be simpler: 2 parts semolina flour to 1 part tepid water. The technique is not so simple. Head over to the Pasta Grannies YouTube channel for tips from the pros.

As for our choice of protein, well, some people are a little squeamish about "odd" cuts of meat or fish, but cod cheeks are truly delicious and considered a delicacy in many parts of the world.

Pro tip
If your dinner guests squirm as you serve this, just tell them to get on YouTube and investigate the production of those cheap fish fingers they have in the back of their freezer.

Ingredients for two

Orecchiette 150g
Pesto 100g
Cod cheeks x2
Whole milk 1 pint
Cress for garnish
Parmesan to taste
Seasoning as needed

In a saucepan, add the milk, cod cheeks, and a little seasoning and warm over a medium-low heat. When the milk starts to simmer, turn the heat right down and cook for 5-8 minutes, or until the cod practically falls apart as you remove it from the pan.

Salt a clean pan of water and bring it to a boil. If you've managed to get hold of some dried orecchiette, simply cook according to the pack instructions (typically 10-12 minutes). If you're working with fresh pasta, it should take no more than 3-4 minutes.

Drain the pasta, but not before confiscating a tablespoon of the starchy pasta water and adding it to your pesto.

Shred the cod and mix it with the pasta and pesto. Garnish with some cress and top with a generous amount of Parmesan.