Wasn’t there a Smurf with a name like garganelli? Anyway. Hello, internet friends! I apologize for the long delay in posting. You’d think with the holidays and all I would have a multitude of food-related posts to make, and I did make a lot of food, but I just couldn’t get the words out. This is why no matter how much I’d like to be a successful author it’s just not meant to be – no discipline. What can you do, you know?
My first two issues of Saveur hit my mailbox this month and I am positively giddy about it. Don’t get me wrong, I love the artistry behind the recipes that come from Gourmet and Bon Appétit, but the authenticity of what Saveur has to offer strikes the deepest chord in me. Fancy food is terrific, and it’s created with the whole palette taste has to offer in mind, but recipes from home kitchens, from outdoor kitchens, from remote locations designed simply to eat well with what your homeland has to offer appeals so much. The culture of food at its most basic, at its most honest, fascinates me. From dusty camps in India to farmhouses in Pennsylvania, whatever you’re having is what I want to have, too.
I started simple this time around, picking a recipe from December 2009’s issue of Saveur, which happens to be loaded chock full of my favorite animal, the pig. Of couse, it’s also the least interesting of the many interesting recipes I could have chosen, with little of that anthropological spirit I mentioned in the paragraph above. However, getting my toddler to eat Terrine de Jambon seemed perhaps a little too ambitious.
Garganelli with Prosciutto and Peas
You will need:
1lb garganelli or penne
2 cups heavy cream (and arteries of steel)
1 1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
4 oz thinly sliced prosciutto, Serrano or country ham, torn into strips
1 cup fresh mint leaves, torn
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
Garganelli is a pasta that’s shaped like a calla lily, and I have to tell you, I am not a huge fan of it. I find where the sides overlap never really gets done enough for my tastes, though it is really pretty. I first tried it in an Amatriciana sauce with the now-infamous guanciale (that, I have to tell you, I am tempted to try again!) and had the same reaction then as I did now. I think if I make it again I’ll go the penne route since penne is delicious and cooks evenly. Mine, by the way, is spinach garganelli because that’s what was available at the time. It has no bearing at all on the taste.
OK, on to the bones of it. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Remember, if it tastes like an ocean you’re on the right track! Unsalted pasta water makes everyone sad. Unless you have arterial issues and then unsalted pasta water makes everyone happy! I believe in fairness, after all. Add the pasta and cook to your desired level of doneness – if you’re using the garganelli, you’ll want to take a piece out and bite through the center to check the overlap. Drain and reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water, with all its starchy deliciousness.
While all that’s happening, bring the cream to a boil over high heat in a large skillet, 12” is the recommended. Let it reduce by half, which’ll take about 8 minutes or so. Add the pasta and the peas and cook, stirring every now and then, until the cream starts to coat the pasta. Add the parmesan and season to taste. If it looks too thick, add the pasta water in small amounts until you reach your desired consistency. Gently stir in your prosciutto and chopped mint, and enjoy.