Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Creamy Pasta with Asparagus, Parmesan, and Crispy Prosciutto

Serves 4

I made this for dinner tonight and it was a hit! Everyone (including my 9 month old) ate until they could eat no more. The recipe says that you can substitute bacon for the Prosciutto (which I did), and the asparagus that I could find (at the 2nd store I went too) looked terrible and was crazy expensive so I substituted broccoli. I also added cooked chicken and I always have a heavy hand on the heavy cream - I probably ended up adding a whole extra cup before it was said and done. (I don't cook much without heavy cream!) Try it - you will love it!

1 Tbsp. olive oil
4 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into 1/4" strips (or 12 slices of bacon)
1 garlic clove, minced (or more if you like garlic like me)
1 cup of heavy cream
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
Salt and pepper
1 lb. Fusilli or Penne pasta
1 lb. asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1" pieces
1 1/2 cups grated parmesan cheese
3/4 c. chopped fresh basil

1. Bring 4 qts. water to a boil in a large pot (DO NOT COOK YOUR PASTA YET!). Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until just smoking. Cook prosciutto until lightly browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate. Add garlic to pan and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in cream and lemon juice and simmer until slightly thickened, 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat.

2. Add 1 Tablespoon salt and pasta to boiling water and cook until just beginning to soften, about 8 minutes. Add asparagus to the pot with the pasta and cook until bright green and tender and pasta is al dente, about 4 minutes. Reserve 1 cup cooking water, drain pasta and asparagus, and return to pot. Add sauce, 1/2 c. reserved cooking water, cheese and basil to pot and toss to combine, adding remaining cooking water as needed. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with crispy prosciutto. Serve.

Guittard Polka Dot Cookies

To any of you that don't know - my favorite baking chocolate is Guittard. In Phoenix you can find it at Safeway, and here in Salt Lake I've seen it at Harmons and other "Associated Foods" stores. It is delicious and I love it. Occasionally we do a wholesale order from the company, so if any of you are interested - it is very inexpensive for a great chocolate. EVERYONE needs a year supply of chocolate on hand!

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups Guittard Green Mint Chips (the recipe is yummy with the mint chips, but if you make them with semisweet or milk chips you'll be eating crazy-good double chocolate chip cookies!)

Preheat oven to 350. In double boiler, melt 1 bag semisweet chips and butter. Set aside to cool. In a large bowl beat eggs, sugar and vanilla until light. Blend in melted chocolate and then dry ingredients. Stir in Mint chips and chill for 20 minutes. Bake 8-10 minutes; cookies will be soft in centers, but will harden as they cool. ENJOY!

Wonton Salad

Our playgroup started a new "dinner recipe" lunch once a month and I LOVED this salad that Nichole brought.
Instead of frying the wontons she puts them on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with Pam. Put them in a single layer and spray the tops with Pam. Brown the in an oven at 400.

1 pkg. wontons, slightly browned
2 cups cooked diced chicken
1 small head of lettuce (or 2 pkgs of ready to eat)
4 small green onions
1/4 c. toasted sesame seeds
1/4 c. or less parsley (optional)
A couple handfuls of peanuts or another nut (optional)
1 cup halved red grapes (optional)

1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 Tbsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. vegetable or olive oil
2 Tbsp. sesame seed oil

Mix greens, chicken, sesame seeds, parsley, nuts and grapes. Mix dressing ingredients in a separate container. Add dressings, onions and crushed wontons to the salad just before serving. (Do not mix it all together until the last minute - the wontons will go soggy and the entire salad will taste like an onion)