This orecchiette pasta with lemon asparagus is tossed with feta cheese and a drizzle of olive oil. It’s a delicious fast and easy dinner recipe!

Orecchiette Pasta with Lemon Asparagus

This post was created in partnership with Alessi Foods. All opinions are our own.

Have you been avoiding pasta because it’s not typically considered healthy? Good news: a new study found pasta can actually help you lose weight. The Italian researchers found that eaten in moderation, pasta can be part of a healthy diet. This is a full 180 of conventional wisdom, right? And it’s good news for Alex and me, because we’re big Italian cuisine fans. We’ve been enjoying pasta in moderation for years—so we’re glad it’s back in good graces! And lately, we’ve started to tend toward the more specialty shapes: like this orecchiette pasta! Keep reading for the orecchiette pasta with lemon asparagus and a bit more about Italian pasta.

Related: 12 Quick Dinner Recipes

Orecchiette Pasta with Lemon Asparagus

What is orecchiette pasta?

In Italian, orecchiette means “small ears”; it’s a small cup-shaped type of pasta. Here we’ve used it to make an easy lemon asparagus pasta. What we’ve learned from our travels to Italy: simple is best. A few flavors elegantly combined can taste better than something that has taken all day to prepare. This one combines bright green asparagus with lemon, feta cheese, and olive oil.

Anything goes with orecchiette pasta: combine it with roasted vegetables as we have here, use fresh veg and load it with herbs in the summer, or simply douse it in marinara. This orecchiette recipe takes just 7 ingredients and about 20 minutes to make. It’s so quick and simple it works for a weeknight meatless dinner, but it’s also elegant enough to serve at a dinner party.

You can serve orecchiette pasta as you would any short-cut pasta. Try it with our pumpkin sauce, easy marinara, creamy vegan marinara, vegan pesto, or with peas, feta and dill.

How to pronounce orecchiette?

If you’re serving orecchiette pasta, you probably want to know how to pronounce orecchiette! Here’s the phonetic pronunciation: oh-reck-KIET-tay. Try it with an Italian accent! It’s a little clumsy at first, but you’ll get the hang of it. Video: how to pronounce orecchiette

 Lemon asparagus pasta

How to find orecchiette pasta

Orecchiette pasta can be found mainstream grocery stores, but sometimes be hard to find consistently. Here we’ve ordered pasta from Alessi Foods, a company descended from a real-life Italian family business started in the 1900’s. Alessi’s pasta is made with wheat grown in Italy, which is combined with spring water and then pressed using bronze dies.

What’s unique about bronze dies? If you’re not familiar with pasta-making technology, dies are stamps that dough is pressed through to make different shapes of pasta. Bronze dies create a more porous texture that helps the pastas absorb sauce more effectively. All of this results in one very high quality pasta.

Orecchiette Pasta with Lemon Asparagus

We tried this recipe once with an orecchiette pasta from the grocery and then compared against the bronze die Alessi pasta, and we could absolutely taste the difference! I was surprised to find that we really did need less olive oil, feta, and salt to make the flavors pop with the bronze die pasta, and the texture was lighter and fluffier.

Order it: You can order orecchiette pasta online here. Buon appetito!

Orecchiette Pasta with Lemon Asparagus | Orecchiette recipes | Orecchiette pronounce | Lemon asparagus pasta

Travel inspiration

Want to be transported to Italy? See our photos from Rome and the Amalfi Coast.

Looking for more fast and easy dinner recipes?

In addition to this orecchiette pasta with lemon asparagus, here a few more of our favorite fast and easy dinner recipes:

This recipe is…

This orecchiette pasta with lemon asparagus is vegetarian. For vegan, sprinkle with Vegan Parmesan Cheese.

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Orecchiette with Roasted Asparagus and Feta

Lemon Asparagus Orecchiette Pasta

  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


This orecchiette pasta with lemon asparagus is tossed with feta cheese and a drizzle of olive oil. It’s a delicious fast and easy dinner recipe!


  • 1 pound organic orecchiette pasta
  • 1 1/2 pounds asparagus spears (2 small bunches)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) feta cheese crumbles


  1. Preheat oven to 450F.
  2. In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, then drain.
  3. Chop off the woody, thick ends of the asparagus, and chop the remaining stalks into 2-inch pieces. Drizzle with 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt (or about ½ teaspoon kosher salt) and several grinds of black pepper. Roast for 10 to 15 minutes, until tender (timing will depend on the thickness of the asparagus). Remove from the oven and drizzle with 3 tablespoons lemon juice. Taste, and add additional salt as necessary until well salted.
  4. Once the pasta is cooked, place it in a large bowl. Mix the warm pasta together with the asparagus, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2/3 of the feta, zest of ½ lemon, additional sea salt (or about ¼ or more teaspoon kosher salt), and fresh ground pepper. Taste and adjust flavors as necessary. Garnish with sprinkles of feta, lemon zest, and fresh ground pepper, and serve immediately.


To make it vegan, sprinkle with Vegan Parmesan Cheese!

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Pasta, Orechiette, Asparagus, Roasted Asparagus, Vegetarian, Spring, Healthy, Easy Dinner, Fast Dinner,

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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  1. I made this for dinner last night with home-made orecchiette (or really just home made circular pasta!). I added peas and used some feta from a dairy near our home. It turned out delicious! We will definitely make again.