Wednesday, September 16, 2015

friday night pasta

Growing up, Friday nights were reserved for family dinner. In my great grandmothers basement kitchen (she had two kitchens, mind you), more than 20 of us would gather at her long table, usually to enjoy pasta.

My mom has a big family and everyone lived within minutes of each other, so these dinners were so much of our routine that they felt like they were in my own home. Pounds and pounds of pasta were served, with homemade sauce of course and lots of grated cheese. Feeding the hungry masses in the simplest way possible.

Family pasta nights on Friday was not a tradition that carried through into my adulthood and soon I began to associate Sunday with pasta day and the table got just a bit smaller, in my parents kitchen. But the idea was and is still the same: al dente noodles, a salty cheesy bite, and now, lots of wine poured. I can get on board with that.

Last Friday I had a craving for pasta and was transported back to those childhood Friday nights. A more upscale take on the simple childhood favorite, but delicious just the same.

pasta with mint, peas and prosciutto in a ricotta cream sauce with lemon
(serves two)
1/4 lb of pasta (I used bucatini here, a thin spaghetti looking noodle with a hole in the middle)
4 slices of prosciutto, diced and crisped in a pan
1/2 cup of peas
a handful of mint, roughly chopped
juice of 1 lemon, plus the zest
2 tbsp of butter
1 tbsp of flour
2/3 cup of milk (I used fat free, you can also use half and half)
1/2 cup whole milk ricotta
a sprinkle of nutmeg
1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

  • cook pasta to package directions, about 2 minutes before you are ready to pull it, add the peas
  • while pasta is cooking, make your cream sauce by melting butter and adding flour, whisking together to form a thin paste
  • once the flour/butter base is formed, remove pot from heat and add the milk and ricotta, stir in
  • add nutmeg, salt and pepper and let it simmer on low until it forms a creamy sauce (use my back of the spoon trick to test it)
  • once pasta and peas are done, drain and then transfer back to cooking pot
  • pour cream sauce over it, then add lemon juice and mint and stir together
  • before serving, sprinkle the prosciutto and lemon zest on top

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