This recipe is definitely on the top ten list in my household. I find the combination of pasta, prosciutto, an alfredo-esque sauce, and peas (or steamed and blanched asparagus or no vegetable at all) difficult to resist. Not only is it a balanced one-pot meal (just like the kale and sausage pasta I wrote about last month), but it also reheats wonderfully in the microwave for lunch (or, if I’m being completely honest, breakfast) the next day.
Though spring is
supposedly now upon us, it’s a little early in the season for fresh peas, so frozen ones are used here. For me, they serve as a nice reminder of all of the lovely produce coming in the next month or so—perfect for when one is just about hitting their limit on root and cruciferous vegetables.
To warn you, the amount of red pepper flakes listed produces what I’d consider a medium heat. If you prefer food on the milder side of the spectrum, I suggest at least halving the amount listed or eliminating them entirely (pass a shaker filled with pepper flakes at the table for any capsaicin fans).
Prosciutto and Pea Pasta
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
- 1 pound (454 grams) brown rice fusilli/corkscrews/spirals
- 1 pound (454 grams) frozen peas, defrosted and drained
- 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons or 57 grams) tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 – 1/2 pound (113 – 227 grams) prosciutto, cooked until crisp¹ and crumbled or chopped into small pieces
- 2 tablespoons (28 grams or about 8 cloves) minced garlic
- 1 pint (454 grams) half and half
- 2 tablespoons dried basil
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- Generous pinch (about 1/8 teaspoon) ground cinnamon
- 1 cup (113 grams) finely grated Parmesan
- Ground black pepper
- Kosher salt
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add a few tablespoons of salt and cook pasta until about 2 minutes shy of al dente, about 6 – 7 minutes. Reserve about 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Drain pasta into a colander and rinse with cold water until chilled; set aside.
Dry the pot you used to cook the pasta and place it over medium heat. Warm the olive oil in the pot until it shimmers. Add prosciutto and garlic; cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic begins to turn light brown, about 2 minutes.
Stir in the half and half, basil, red pepper flakes (if using), and cinnamon. Bring half and half mixture to a simmer, this will take no more than 5 minutes. Add pasta and peas; stir to coat evenly, continue to cook until the pasta is tender and reheated, about 2 – 3 minutes.
Stir in Parmesan cheese. If desired, thin sauce with a few tablespoons of pasta water at a time. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with additional Parmesan and red pepper flakes.
¹ This can either be done on the stovetop or in the microwave.
- Cook prosciutto in batches in the pasta pot or on a griddle over medium heat, just as you would cook bacon. Drain on a paper towel lined plate.
- Line a microwave-safe plate with a double layer of paper towels. Place prosciutto in a single layer on top of paper towels and microwave for about 1-2 minutes. While the crispness will not be as uniform as what you’ll get from stovetop cooking, for this dish it really doesn’t matter. It will crisp up a bit more in later steps.