September 30

Prosciutto, Asparagus, and Parmesan Pasta

I won’t lie:  there are certain foods out there that I never had a real affinity with. I mean, I eat them, they’re okay, and I move on. Sometimes they’re so expensive that even if they made my tastebuds half-way happy, I probably wouldn’t buy it again. It just isn’t good for the pocketbook. Prosciutto is one of those foods that I didn’t have until I was in Portugal. Or if I had eaten it before, I can’t recall when, or whether I liked it or not. But I do remember the prosciutto sandwich I bought in the Lisbon airport. In fact, have an excerpt from my book regarding it:

The dining was a self service area with a big trough-like bin filled with various meat sandwiches. Kit grabbed a plain ham and cheddar; I chose prosciutto. On top of that, we bought yogurt, a bag of chips to split, and a soda. €15 for it all. Not much of a surprise considering it was an airport eatery. In fact, I was expecting to pay that amount per person. I suppose we got off light. The real surprise came when we sat down with the trays of food and I saw my sandwich was entirely comprised of fat. Greasy, stringy fat. I tried to salvage the white bread surrounding it, but it had been thoroughly slimed. Kit offered me some of hers. I declined and just fed off the remainder of my meal.

So that was my first interaction with the dry-cured ham. Or what was supposed to be dry-cured ham. There’s nothing worse than biting in to something like that and having a feeling of food melding to every contour of your teeth and leaving a film once you’ve chewed it up or spit it out. I could honestly say I was left disappointed and wanting. I didn’t ever want prosciutto in my life if that’s what it yielded.

Luckily for me, I discovered that this was not the case and my local whole foods market sells delicious, albeit overpriced, prosciutto. When I saw this recipe, I knew I had to bite the bullet and pay the ungodsly amount of money (okay, okay, it’s not that much, but it’s more than I would normally spend on ham [I know, I know, it’s not just any kind of crappy ham]) to give this a try. We love asparagus and Parmesan in this house. Everything would have to come together nicely.

I underestimated how much heavy cream I needed. Obviously, it states right there in the recipe how much you need, but my excited brain forgot how much 1 1/4 cups was in ounces and I ended up with an 8 ounce container. This did not detract from the recipe’s outcome.

Also, I’m totally making white sauce from scratch from now on. This was such a light and easy recipe that didn’t make me feel like I was experiencing an Olive Garden Fettuccine Alfredo Gut Bomb™ but didn’t leave me feeling unfulfilled, appetite wise.

Prosciutto, Asparagus, and Parmesan Linguine

source: Val So Cal [Prosciutto, Asparagus, and Parmesan Spaghetti]

Ingredients

8 ounces linguine
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1 small onion, diced
2 cups sliced mushrooms
4 ounces prosciutto, cut into strips
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Directions

1) Cook pasta according to directions and put pack in pot.

2) Meanwhile, heat oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat. Cook onion, garlic, and mushrooms until fragrant and semi done. Add prosciutto and asparagus and cook until asparagus is bright green, about 3 minutes. Add cream, 1/3 cup cheese, salt and pepper and red pepper flakes. Reduce heat to simmer and cook until sauce has thickened, about 4 minutes.

3) Pour sauce with vegetables over pasta and toss to coat.

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