Monday, June 30, 2008

Everybody Likes Pasta


There are a few universal truths in which I whole-heartedly believe: all babies are precious, what goes up must come down, and everybody likes pasta. So, because I already have all the babies I want and because I can't control gravity (although that would be an awesome superpower to have), I present to you:

Bucatini Rigati with Artichokes and Prosciutto

1 pound bucatini rigati (ridged, hollow spaghetti)

1/4 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon flour

1 cup chicken broth (reduced sodium) (I like Better Than Bouillon- find it in the soup aisle)

3-4 large garlic cloves, chopped

4 tablespoons chopped Italian flat leaf parsley

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 14 ounce can artichoke hearts packed in water, drained & sliced (NOT the marinated kind) (feel free to use thawed and drained frozen artichoke hearts)

4 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

8 ounces prosciutto, chopped (if you don't have prosciutto, try Virginia ham or pancetta)

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

Put a large pot of water on high heat and bring to a boil. Feel free to season the water with a big pinch of salt.

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Bucatini rigati usually takes about 6 minutes to cook until al dente.

Meanwhile, melt butter and oil in small saucepan over medium low heat. Stir until well combined.

Add flour, stirring until smooth. Cook for two minutes until thickened slightly.

Add chicken broth, stirring until fully incorporated.

Add garlic, parsley, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring once or twice. Do not allow to boil.

Blend in cheese, stirring until smooth.

Fold in artichoke hearts. Cook for 3 more minutes. Stir a few times. Again, do not allow to boil.

Add prosciutto and stir carefully to avoid clumping up the prosciutto. If it does clump, no worries. Separate the clumps with a fork or just leave them. It will still taste good.

Lower heat and continue to cook until prosciutto is warmed through, about 5 minutes. If the pasta isn't done yet, reduce heat to the lowest setting and cover the pot to keep the sauce warm. Stir every once in a while to prevent the proscuitto from sticking to the bottom.

Drain pasta thoroughly (do not rinse) and transfer to serving dish. Pour over sauce. Toss gently to spread sauce throughout the pasta. Serve immediately.

Serves 4 generously.

COOKING TIPS: You probably looked at the ingredients list and thought, "Holy crap! That's a lot of stuff." It's not--I promise that this is a manageable recipe if you follow a few suggestions:

1. Put out your colander for draining the pasta and your bowl for serving before you begin cooking.

2. Measure and chop all of your ingredients before you begin cooking.

3. Start preparing the sauce as soon as you put the water on to boil.

4. If you forget to add an ingredient at the proper time, so what? Add it when you remember. If you forgot the garlic, I suggest adding a few extra minutes of cooking time to allow the garlic to cook through completely.

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