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Orecchiette with Bacon Meatballs


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Rate this recipe 4/5 (1 Votes)


  • 12 ounces ground pork
  • 4 slicesbacon or uncured smoked bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces*
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 ounces dried orecchiette pasta
  • 2 small shallots, thinly sliced
  • 3 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped (2 cups)
  • 4 cups kale or spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


Servings 4
Adapted from


Step 1

In a medium bowl combine pork, bacon, garlic and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper until well mixed. Using a teaspoon, scoop the mixture into the palm of your hand and shape into 1-inch meatballs. Pieces of the bacon should be visible.

In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add half the meatballs. Cook and stir until meatballs are browned on all sides and the bacon is crisp, about 8 to 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer meatballs to paper towel; drain. Repeat with remaining meatballs. Reserving 1 Tbsp. bacon drippings in the skillet; set aside.

Cook pasta according to package directions in lightly salted water; drain. Reserving about 1/4 cup of cooking liquid.

Cook shallot in reserved bacon dripping, over medium-high heat, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan with wooden spoon to release the brown bits. Return meatballs to the skillet. Add tomatoes; cook 2 to 3 minutes. Add pasta and kale; toss to combine, adding pasta liquid as needed to moisten the pasta. Season with salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Top with Parmesan before serving.

*Extra thick bacon does not work with this recipe. It's too big for the mini meatballs and doesn't stay incorporated into the meatballs when cooking.


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