Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Pasta with Spring Vegetables & Mint

Fresh asparagus and leftover prosciutto... how to make it a meal that isn't just wrapping prosciutto around the asparagus spears?
Like so.
Put your pot of water on to boil for your pasta, and start on the rest of the ingredients.
Arty shot of trimmed asparagus and fresh mint... or so attempted.
I sliced the asparagus very thinly on an angle, and chopped up the mint, ready for future use.

Sautéing two cloves of garlic in olive oil, I then added the sliced asparagus, seasoned them with salt, and cooked them for about 5 minutes, until they had started to get tender, but still had a bit of bite left.
Remove the asparagus and set aside.

To the garlic and oil I then added about 3/4 of a cup of chicken stock, and set that to reduce a bit.
About 5 minutes later I added 1/2 a cup of cream and let the sauce continue to reduce. 
While this was happening, the pasta was cooking in heavily salted water, and I had set some slices of prosciutto on a sheet pan in the oven. 

In a 375º oven, I crisped up some prosciutto.
Unfortunately I let it crisp a little too long.
Keep an eye on your oven, and remove your prosciutto before it looks like this!
Back to the sauce.
When it began to thicken, I added 2 tablespoons of mascarpone cheese and about a handful of grated pecorino into the mix. 
(I know. I'm going to need a mascarpone intervention soon...)
Add the chopped fresh mint and check for seasoning, adding salt if necessary.
I then added a handful or two of frozen baby peas into the mix, and let them warm through, followed by the asparagus back in the pot, and then the cooked pasta. Stir to combine and allow the sauce to infiltrate the pasta.
(Infiltrate? WTF? Dinner is not War. Infuse. Allow the sauce to INFUSE the pasta. Geez, brain.)
At this point I thought it was still missing something, so I added the zest of half a lemon. 

Using NON-burnt prosciutto, I sprinkled that on top last, dished everything up, and topped it with more fresh mint and prosciutto crumbles.
Very tasty indeed.

And yes, I used elbow macaroni.
Sometimes you just have to use what is on hand, even if it isn't as fancy and ideal as orrecchiette.
And as though there isn't already enough cheese and cream in this dish, I think the final product would be even tastier with some crumbled ricotta salata as a finishing flourish.
If you have it, go for it!


Joe Ambrosino said...

I like your style, kiddo. You use a little too much fat for my old arteries, but still.I dub thee an "Italian Granddaughter" Live long and prosper.

RocknRollGourmet said...

I am honored!

(And yes, it is a fat-heavy sauce, but also one that I only make a couple times a year ;)

sEy said...

looks delicious :)