Chefs Dinner – Pigs Ears & Speck Pasta

Every now and again my chefs and I treat our selves with a meal before service. Usually it’s left over stuff that would normally hit the bins from specials that might not have performed too well or change of menu and we’re left with ingredients we can’t incorporate into the new menu.

This particular occasion, we had pigs ears.  I love pig ears, you can do so many things with them.  I like them really crispy on the outside and the cartelidge in the middle adds to that texture.  Crispy fried pig ears, tossed in salt served with a chili, soy and vinegar dipping sauce –  priceless!

Try to really cook out the pig ears and speck in a dry pan until they crispin up, the oil from the speck will render out and start frying both the ears and the speck leaving you a texture crunchy texture that is fantastic.

If you like carbonara, you’ll like this.  Deep in mushroom flavour predominately from the dried porcini’s and the speck gives that lovely smokey bacon flavour, the two in combination are just a match made in heaven.

Pigs Ears, Speck & Mushroom Pasta

Serves 4

500gr Packet Penne

200gr Speck                          cut into tiny strips, 1cm thick

4 Pigs Ears                             boiled for 20 minutes then cut into strips

1 Onion                                 peeled & finely diced

½ Bunch Thyme

200gr Swiss Browns               finely sliced

200gr Button Mushrooms       finely sliced

200gr Shitake Mushrooms      finely sliced

150gr Dried Porcini                 processed to powder in spice grinder

100gr Butter

1 Cup Cream

1 Bunch Parsley                      finely chopped

Sea Salt

Cracked Black Pepper



  1. Place about 5 litres of water on the boil and add 1 tablespoon of salt into the water
  2. Add the pasta to the water and cook until aldente, with a little resistance when you bite into the pasta but with no crunch
  3. Whilst the pasta is cooking, heat up a large pan on high heat for 2 minutes(in my case a wok)
  4. Add the pig ears and speck and cook pan fry until ears are crispy and bacon starts to brown
  5. Add the onions and garlic and sauté through, stirring at all times until onions are clear and cooked
  6. Add the all the mushrooms including the dried porcini powder, butter, thyme and sauté through for about 2 minutes or until the mushrooms starts to soften and colour slightly
  7. Add the cream and turn the heat right down to low.  Stir the cream through an continue to cook for about 4-5 minutes, until he cream slightly thickens
  8. By this time the pasta should be cooked, strain then put the pasta in the pan
  9. Toss the pasta through the sauce
  10. Season with sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste
  11. Add the chopped parsley and toss through.

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