the bottom of the bowl...I know, I know, there's pork in this. Loyal readers many be pointing fingers at my hipocracy refering to an earlier post outlining my recent diet guidelines. I did mention, however, that there are a few exceptions. This is one of them. Try it, and you'll know why. Even though there is pork in this, it's a very small amount, not like I'm eating a pork chop or something, and it does amazing things for the flavor. With that said, my Mother-in-law found this recipe in the newspaper last summer, and prepared it as a side for a family dinner. It became an instant, and I mean first bite instant, favorite. The flavors are fresh and simple... The procuitto-pea combination is really nothing new, but it was to me, and it came just in time to take advantage of the fresh, Michigan peas and asparagus that were so readily available. Unfortunately, the produce is not local this time of year, so I have to settle for peas and asparagus of a slightly lower quality, but it's still worth it. Often times pasta can be considered a budget meal, but you have to be careful with this one. A very nice gentleman at a local market tried to persuade me with a new prociutto they were carrying that customers raved about. I was intrigued, but not at $30 a pound (!), especially since this is a great meal for entertaining, and in that case I usually double or triple the recipe. Even picky eaters go back for seconds, and will be surprised at how many vegetables they'll eat when spiked with the flavors of parmesan and the bacon-y goodness of sauteed prociutto. Omitting the prociutto would make this an outstanding vegetarian dish. For Thanksgiving, I took some liberties and made this without the pasta and prociutto for a non-traditional vegetable side dish, reducing the amount of oil and spices, and everyone was delighted. I decided not to share it then because I wanted to present the recipe in its entirety.
Pasta with Sugar Snap Peas and Prociutto
adapted from the Detroit News
4 oz. prociutto, chopped
3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes as desired
1 tablespoon fresh, crushed garlic
1 lb. asparagus, trimmed, cut into 1 1/2 inch peices
1/2 lb. sugar snap peas, trimmed
1/2 lb. bow-tie pasta
3/4 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese (about 1 1/2 oz.), divided
fresh ground black pepper
1. Saute prosciutto in 1 Tbsp. olive oil until crisp. Remove from pan and drain on paper towel.
2. Add the remaining 2 Tbsp. oil to the pan along with red pepper flakes and garlic, and heat until fragrant.
3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add pasta and cook according to package directions. Add asparagus and snap peas 2-4 minutes before the pasta is completely cooked. Drain pasta and vegetables.
4. Add the pasta and vegetables and prociutto to the oil mixture and toss to coat. Add 1/2 c. parmesan, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately with extra cheese.