Inspiration for tonight's dinner: fresh mint and its ability to make the stars of the season sing.
Asparagus' woodsy crunch is coaxed out by snippets of mint in Meatballs&Milkshakes' stunning Shaved Asparagus and Mint Salad. A tough act to follow, but lechef's rich and indulgent Pasta with Prosciutto, Snap Peas, Mint and Cream is up to the task. A delicious feast of a weeknight dinner, and why not? As a very wise woman once said, "Too much of a good thing can be wonderful".
4 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 pound prosciutto shank, finely diced
4 shallots, minced
1 pint cream
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
1/2 pound fresh snap peas, whole, chopped
1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped
salt and fresh ground pepper
3/4 pounds (3/4 box) pasta, farfalle or orechiette
1. In a heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and cook the garlic for 2-3 minutes until just beginning to color.
2. Add the prosciutto and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes. I use whole prosciutto shanks because my butcher has them, but you can also ask for a 1/4 inch thick slice of prosciutto and chop that up instead. I think this works much better in pasta than thin slices.
3. Add the shallots and cook for 3-4 minutes to soften, and season with a pinch or two of salt and a turn or two of fresh black pepper.
4. Meanwhile, bring your pasta water to a boil, salt it, and add your pasta. You will want to time the pasta to be finished just as the sauce is finishing so that the cream doesn't sit long.
5. With about 3 minutes left on your pasta, add the peas and cook for 2 minutes. We want them to retain their crunch. With one minute remaining, add the cream and quickly bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
6. Add the cheese, stir, and reduce the heat to low.
7. Drain the pasta, and toss with the sauce to coat. Sprinkle liberally with fresh mint, and serve with black pepper and extra Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
1/4 lb proscuitto shank
1 pint cream
1/2 lb snap peas
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1 bunch asparagus
1 handful of hazelnuts
We assume you have dried pasta (the recipe calls for farfalle or orchiette, but any pasta works) garlic, onions, salt, pepper, olive oil, vinegar (preferably sherry), honey, parmesan, and a lemon. If not, add those pantry essentials to the list!
1. Pasta is happening tonight, so the first thing to do is get a big pot of generously salted (supposedly it should taste like the ocean) water on the stove. Now you can turn your attention to the salad.
2. Peel all of that asparagus. Sure, it sounds a little tedious, but it's also simple and meditative. Zone in on NPR, or turn on some relaxing music, and peel the stresses of the day away. Toss the shavings with the hazelnuts.
3. Prep the dressing for the salad and set it aside.
4. Back to the pasta! It will require all of your attention for about 12 minutes, after which it will be creamy, hot and very ready to be eaten! Dress the salad and have a seat.
5. Pour a sunny, well-chilled Chenin Blanc with this meal and pretend you're in France. Feast!
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