How to Make Orecchiette with Bacon Meatballs

Bacon makes everything better, and it makes meatballs taste amazing! Learn how to make bacon meatballs and pair them with orecchiette in our BLT pasta recipe.

If you love BLTs as much as we do, then you're gonna love this fun pasta twist on the classic bacon, lettuce and tomato combo. Start your BLT pasta with the B, bacony meatballs. Sounds good, right? We think so. Mix together 12 ounces of ground pork, 4 slices of chopped bacon, 2 cloves of chopped garlic and a quarter teaspoon of black pepper. Mix together well and form into 1-inch diameter balls. If the meat sticks to your hands, try dipping them in cold water. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a skillet over a medium heat then add half the meatballs to the pan. Cook them for 8 to 10 minutes. Be sure to turn them occasionally so they brown on all sides. You want that bacon to get all nice and crispy. When those are done, transfer them to a plate line with paper towels to drain and then repeat with the remaining meatballs. After the meatballs are cooked, reserve about a tablespoon of the bacon drippings in the skillet. We'll use this later to add even more bacon flavor to our dish. Meanwhile, cook up 8 ounces of dried orecchiette pasta. When the pasta's ready, reserve a cup or so of the water then drain it in the colander. All right, let's get back to those bacon drippings in our skillet. Turn the heat to medium high, then add a couple of thinly sliced shallots. Cook these for 3 to 4 minutes using a wooden spoon to scrape off all those yummy brown bits in the bottom of the pan. When the shallots are tender, add the meatballs back to the skillet along with 3 chopped tomatoes, the T in our BLT pasta recipe. This will cook for another 2 to 3 minutes until everything is heated. Time to add the final ingredient of our classic BLT trio, baby kale. Add the drained pasta that's been hanging out as well as 4 cups of kale and toss everything in the skillet together. Add a little bit of that reserved pasta water to the skillet to moisten the pasta and season with a little salt and pepper. One final touch, a bit of shaved parmesan. Who doesn't love a little cheesy bonus at the end? Viola. A BLT turned into pasta with bacon meatballs, juicy tomatoes and hearty baby kale. This could give the BLT sandwich a run for its money.