Thirty Minute Thursday: Penne with asparagus and prosciutto

20 01 2011

My selection for TMT this week is the Giuliano Hazan’s Penne with asparagus and prosciutto.  I can sum this up in one word…KEEPER!  Maybe it’s because it’s been so foggy and the world seems so colorless in the fog, day after day…  Maybe it’s because thin spears of asparagus just seem to whisper…Spring is coming soon!  Maybe it’s because rather than using penne, I used “gigli”…*giggle*  Sorry…couldn’t help that one!  Aren’t the little trumpets cute?  They served the same purpose as the penne…catching and holding the creamy sauce…  I don’t know exactly what it was, but this is a fabulous dish!

Here we are with the sauce just before adding the cheese and pasta…  I swear, this fit inside 30 minutes with photo time included.  I was amazed!  I usually manage to dink away enough additional time to cost me 45 minutes on most 30 minute nights.  I usually chalk that up to not having a stop-watch going, and laugh it off.   I confess that I used a slightly different prep method…  I sauteéd my onions, added the asparagus, cut into 1-1/2 inch pieces, reserving the thinnest stalks and all the tops to be cooked last, and the prosciutto to the pan.  I added 1/3 cup of water to the pan after the prosciutto had lost its raw color and simmered the asparagus while the pasta cooked.   When the water was mostly evaporated, I stirred in the cream and the cheese.  By that time my pasta was done.   Gigli pasta, meet fresh creamy sauce!

Tasting Notes~
In a word…KEEPER!  Seriously…the prosciutto gives just the right amount of seasoning to the sauce, and the asparagus…with that special natural essence that makes everything you eat after it taste just a little sweeter…ends up making the creamy sauce just a bit on the sweet, nutty, creamy side, and it’s heavenly!  It sings of Spring days to come.  I admit, the photos would have been prettier had I used white pasta, but…c’mon…could you resist something called “gigli”??  Obviously I couldn’t!  It was too fun!  I’m glad I only made a half recipe…that way I can have it again, nice and fresh!  This was heaven after a really challenging day in the office!