How to Make It
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the orecchiette until al dente; drain and reserve along with 1/4 cup of the cooking water.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderately high heat, stirring often, until browned, about 8 minutes Add the ham and cook until it starts to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the cabbage and season with salt and pepper. Cover the saucepan and cook over moderate heat, stirring once or twice, until the cabbage is tender, about 7 minutes.
Add the orecchiette and the reserved cooking water to the saucepan along with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon of oil and toss. Cook over moderate heat until the pasta is hot. Serve immediately, passing the cheese at the table.