Monday, October 20, 2008

{Cooking Light Night} Pasta with Prosciutto and Parmesan

I was paging through my September 2007 Cooking Light Magazine and ran across this recipe for Cavatappi with Prosciutto and Parmesan. It was cited in the magazine as an example of the principle to "seek quality ingredients." Sounds like a good idea to me. The recipe uses small quantities of a few ingredients, so it's not too difficult to bust out the best olive oil in the pantry.

cook's notes

This recipe came together quickly - everything can be assembled in the time it takes for the pasta to cook.

- There was no cavatappi in my pasta drawer, but I happened to have exactly half a pound of Montebello organic Conchiglie that I'd picked up at Cost Plus World Market last week.

- I bought about half a pound of Bora proscuitto, sliced thin but not shaved. I trimmed the bands of fat, and then cut the remaining meat into medium/small pieces. I froze my extra meat in 1 oz packages for future use.

- The parmesan is easy to shave with a vegetable peeler.

- To save time later, you can freeze chopped italian parsley, and measure it straight from the freezer.

- It pays to use as high quality ingredients as you can for this dish, and it's fairly economical to do so because you use so little of each ingredient.

- If you wanted to make this vegetarian, you could probably substitute sliced sun dried tomatoes or black olives or sauteed mushrooms for the prosciutto.

- I was tempted to toss in some spinach or arugula (or even chard) at the end and let it wilt on top of the pasta, but I recently learned that my husband doesn't like greens mixed into his savory food. A side dish of cooked greens is his idea of heaven, and he loves salad (eating a mixing-bowl full every night at dinner) but doesn't like them in pastas or soups. Hmm, I learn something new about this man even after 27 years of marriage!

- This recipe says it makes four 1-cup servings, which imo is not enough for a full dinner. For us it served 2 as a dinner main course. My plate is pictured above, and my husband's had about 30% more. A big salad accompanied the pasta.

the verdict

This was a perfect quick weeknight supper. The simplicity of the recipe really allowed the ingredients to shine. It was a great vehicle for the "good" olive oil. And the prosciutto really added a special touch. The flavor combination is reminiscent of a pasta carbonara, but without the high calories from the egg and/or cream. We loved it so much that I will make it regularly.

btw, thanks again to CB of I Heart Food4Thought for giving permission to use her "Cooking Light Night" logo. I haven't yet been disappointed by a CL recipe!


Cathy said...

Oooh! I saw this in CL and it jumped out at me at the time; after reading your write-up, I am convinced that I need to get some nice prosciutto and parm reggiano PRONTO and make this for dinner one night this week. I am eager to jump on the Cooking Light Night bandwagon with you and Clara! And congrats on your award!

Audrey said...

Only an idiot would read this post and look at these pictures, and then latch onto your suggestion about freezing the chopped fresh Italian parsley! But I never would have thought of that, and I never use up a whole bunch. (Coincidentally) I'm also with you on the idea of adding the chard, or the spinach...unlike your nice husband, I will probably only eat Swiss chard if it's buried in pasta and parmesan. Thanks for the bookmark!

Lisa magicsprinkles said...

Love the mise en place shot. Great pic!

Matt's Kitchen said...

These are the kind of recipes I love. Quick, easy, delicious! I actually have that issue of Cooking Light. I will definitely try it!