Monday, September 29, 2008

Bring the yummy

My continual attempts to treat my stomach to various finery has lead me to do a lot more cooking of late, and not just easy-go-to dishes like my spaghetti, my oven fried chicken, or my pesto. Indeed, has become a regularly visited site and I'm continually cracking my ancient and disintegrating copy of The Joy Of Cooking (the most important cooking tome every written). Adding to this joy of culinary discovery, I have also been motivated by the return of our swing dance teacher. He gives us our lesson in our living room and then stays for dinner (he being as much the gourmand as we). So in celebration of his return, I threw together this:

Pasta Emilia-Romagna Style with Prosciutto di Parma

6 ounces prosciutto di Parma, sliced very thin
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium onions, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
2 cups peeled, seeded, and chopped fresh tomatoes or well-drained chopped
canned tomatoes
1 cup cooked sweet peas (or frozen peas, defrosted)
1 1/4 pounds fresh pasta*
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Fill a large pot with 6 to 8 quarts salted water and set over medium heat.
While waiting for the water to boil, make the sauce.

Using a sharp knife, trim the fat from the edges of the prosciutto slices.
Chop and reserve the fat. Cut the prosciutto into bite-size pieces and set aside.

In a large, heavy skillet over medium high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter until foamy. Add the reserved chopped fat and the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in half of the reserved prosciutto and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes, or until the sauce is thickened. Add the peas and remove from the heat.

Increase the heat to high under the salted water and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still "al dente". This will depend upon the thickness of the fresh pasta. Drain in a colander.

Return the pasta sauce to the heat and, when bubbling, add the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter, the cooked pasta, and the remaining prosciutto. Toss thoroughly to combine. Season, to taste, with freshly ground black pepper and serve immediately, passing the cheese with the pasta.

* NOTES: I used a combination of garlic and parsley linguini and rosemary and sundried tomato linguini, but you could technically use dried pasta (spaghetti, linguini, etc) if you wanted. The key is cutting the fat from the prosciutto (an Italian ham) and using it to flavor the other ingredients.

This dish is still in its infancy for me and will no doubt be revisited and altered in the future. Current thoughts are leaning toward the addition of chopped sun dried tomatoes and fresh basil.

Keeping the juices flowing with:

Various - Games, Blame, And Hard Luck Dames
(late nights and freeway flying)

Cold Worker - Rotting Paradise
(locate face, insert fist)

Gravediggaz - 6 Feet Deep
(wetting up 3 cups of blood)

Otto Von Schirach - Oozing Bass Spasms
(dubstep loves Miami bass loves breakcore loves porn)

Art Tatum - The Definitive Art Tatum
(piano speed freak)


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