Do you ever get tired of making the same dish? That was a topic on Chowhound recently and it got me to thinking about my tendency to go back to my five or six favorite recipes over and over. I mean not back-to-back nights, but when I’m stuck for a recipe idea I can always pull out one of the standards and it does the trick.
A few years ago, I actually made up one of my favorite go-to recipes when I ended up with some odd ingredients in the fridge: cream and prosciutto. Somewhere in the dim recesses of my mind I remembered some chef saying that you never cook prosciutto. Something about compromising the integrity of the product. Well, I threw that notion right out the window.
The cream and prosciutto joined some pasta, peas, mushrooms and Parmesan cheese to produce an extremely tasty dish. I usually use bowtie pasta but any kind will do. This recipe calls for Madeira and you will be tempted to leave it out. DO NOT. Madeira is dirt cheap and a bottle will last for 17 years. Any time you’re making a pan sauce, if you add a little Madeira and reduce it by half in the pan it will add a deep dimension to the sauce.
Which reminds me of my favorite refrigerator magnet: “I cook with wine and sometimes I even add it to the food.” Truer words.
Pasta and Prosciutto
1 pound bowtie pasta
2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 ounces prosciutto, cut into thin strips
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
2 tablespoons Madeira
1 cup frozen peas
2 cups cream
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
Boil pasta in salty water until it is al dente.
Heat butter in a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add onions. Sauté until onions are translucent. Add garlic and continue cooking for another minute. Add prosciutto and mushrooms. Continue cooking until mushrooms are browned and their juice has evaporated. Add Madeira and peas. Continue cooking until Madeira has reduced by half. Salt and pepper to taste.
Add cream and continue cooking until cream thickens. Add the Parmesan cheese and combine thoroughly. Add the pasta.