November 20, 2023

Orecchiette Pasta with Ground Lamb, Broccolini and Pecorino


Recipe Provided By
American Lamb Board
Prep Time

10 min 

Cook Time

25 min

Total Time

35 min


4 to 6

Orecchiette Pasta with Ground Lamb, Broccolini and Pecorino


  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pound orecchiette pasta
  • 1 bunch broccolini (about 12 ounces), cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1-1/4 pounds ground American Lamb
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese


Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot; season with 1 tablespoon salt. Add the pasta; cook until almost tender but still a little underdone, stirring occasionally, about 7 minutes. Add broccolini; cook 3 more minutes, until the pasta is al dente and the broccolini is bright green and crisp-tender. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup cooking water. 

Meanwhile, heat oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or other large pot. Add American Lamb; break it up into small chunks. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lamb is deeply browned and a little crispy, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and pepper flakes (to taste); season with 1 teaspoon of salt and cook about 1 minute longer. 

Reduce heat to medium-low; stir pasta and broccolini into the pot with the lamb. Add reserved cooking water; continue cooking about 1 to 2 minutes more to allow the pasta to absorb the flavors. Sprinkle in about 1/2 cup of the cheese; stir to combine well. Serve the pasta in warm bowls with the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese sprinkled over the top.

USDA recommends the following time and temperature parameters

Ground Lamb

Internal temperature of 160°F

All Other Cuts

Internal temperature of 145°F, with a 3 minute rest

thermometer timer illustration
Visit our Lamb Cooking Time & Temperature page for recipe inspiration and tips on preparing the perfect lamb.
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