I haven’t been around lately, let’s be honest.
It’s not you, it’s me.
No really, I’m not just saying that.
I hope this temporary hiatus has not come in between our unconditional love . . . of food.
Will you accept my apology? Hmmm, the silent treatment, I get it.
Well, what if I make it up to you?
Something delicious? Something delicious, and simple to make, and there will be prosciutto? I Promise.
See, I knew you’d come around!
I’m glad we could get back together, in the kitchen. It’s just been way too long.
After all of these weeks, sometimes all you need to ignite the recipe-creation-flame are ingredients already within your pantry. In my case it was in my fridge, and I knew it was the right time to get all bundled-up. Well, not in the traditional let’s-put-on-a-North-Face-and-avoid-winter’s-fury sense, rather let’s literally bundle together some fresh ingredients for dinner! Springtime asparagus is a favorite and delicious in peak season. What makes this vegetable even better is that we’re wrapping it in Italian prosciutto—come on now, I promised, and would I lie to you?!
I made these simple—yet striking—asparagus bundles for Easter this year, and knew they’d be making a comeback. The other night I was planning to make pasta with cheese & pepper (people with more impressive Italian accents might venture to call it, Cacio e Pepe), and I couldn’t decide what to serve it with. Then it dawned on me! Asparagus bundles ON the pasta (ah ha! lightbulb moment). Now we have an easy pasta base to marry with our green vegetable, and the salty texture/flavor from the prosciutto-goodness. This is simple to prepare during the week, and it only requires a few ingredients. I knew this would be a keeper from the very beginning, and I think you may enjoy this too.
I opted for fresh pasta noodles, and felt fettuccine would be an excellent choice. I wish I had the time to make my own pasta for this, but I chose the packaged-fresh noodles from the market. We’ll boil these on the stove, and then use the oven to finish the asparagus bundles.
Shall we eat? Let me get your chair. . . .
- bundle of fresh asparagus (thinner spears. trimmed bottoms)
- package of prosciutto, sliced
- package fresh fettuccine (store bought)
- 5T shredded Parmesan-Reggiano cheese
- additional grated Parmesan or Romano cheese for garnish
- 2 tsp fresh garlic, finely chopped
- 3T butter
- 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- freshly ground black pepper to taste (~ ½ tsp)
- sea salt to taste
- lemon zest to taste
- Rinse and trim ends off of asparagus spears.
- In pot with steamer basket, gently steam asparagus for a few mins till slightly tender, then cool spears immediately in a bowl of ice water.
- Drain asparagus and let dry on kitchen towels.
- In the meantime, preheat oven to 425 and lightly oil a baking sheet (can line with foil & oil).
- Roll several asparagus spears at a time in thin slice of prosciutto, repeating for desired amount of bundles (at least one per person), and arrange on tray for baking.
- Sprinkle bundles with little salt & a little lemon zest.
- Bake bundles till asparagus is tender with a fork & prosciutto is slightly crisp/browning, avoid over drying asparagus, and adjust temp as necessary for your oven, (~6-10 minutes).
- In a large pot for pasta, bring salted water to a boil.
- Boil fresh fettuccine according to package directions (only takes a few mins), immediately drain in a colander, and rinse with warm water.
- Drizzle cooked pasta with little olive oil to prevent sticking.
- In the emptied pasta pot, add 2 tsp of oil and sauté chopped garlic, for a few minutes, avoid over-browning garlic.
- To pot, add 3T butter and gently melt on low, stirring frequently until melted.
- Add cooked pasta, black pepper and salt to taste (generous with the pepper).
- Add 5T shredded Parmesan-Reggiano cheese, stirring consistently until melted.
- Dish pasta warm and serve with an asparagus bundle on top.
- Garnish dish with some finely grated Parmesan or Romano cheese and little lemon zest.
That was quick, not to mention satisfying, and all without messing-up the kitchen too much! Now’s the time to embrace spring vegetables before the season’s end. It’s good to be back cooking, and even better to be sharing it with you, cheers!