Pasta with Asparagus, Prosciutto, and Parmesan

The trifecta of asparagus, prosciutto, and Parmesan is a natural for pasta. Have the deli slice the prosciutto a bit thicker than normal so it can more easily be cut into strips.

  • 1 pound any type pasta
  • 1 tablespoon plus salt to taste
  • 1 pound asparagus spears of medium thickness
  • 6 ounces sliced prosciutto
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Grated nutmeg
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus cheese at the table

1)Bring four quarts of water to boil over high heat in a covered pasta (or other large) pot. Meanwhile, cut the bottom 1 inch from the asparagus spears and discard. Cut the spears on the diagonal into 1 1/2-inch pieces.

2)When the water boils, add the 1 tablespoon salt and the pasta. Cook pasta according to package instructions. A few minutes before the pasta is done, add the asparagus, stir well, cover, and return to a boil. Stir again and cook just until the pasta and asparagus are done to your taste.

3)While the pasta and asparagus cook, cut the prosciutto slices crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide strips. Combine the olive oil, nutmeg, and salt, and pepper to taste in a cup. Drain the pasta and asparagus, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Put the pasta and asparagus back into the pasta pot. Add the prosciutto and the olive oil mixture and toss well. Add the cheese and the cooking water and toss well. Serve in soup plates or pasta bowls. Pass the additional cheese at the table.  Serves 4.

Sam Gugino

I am a former chef and restaurateur who turned to writing, full-time in 1987. I have been a restaurant critic (Philadelphia Daily News), food editor (San Jose Mercury News), wine columnist (Newark, NJ Star Ledger and Specialty Food Magazine) and cookbook author (“Eat Fresh, Stay Healthy,” and “Cooking to Beat the Clock” among others.) I’ve also written for numerous other magazines and newspapers such as Cigar Aficionado, Women’s Day and The New York Times. Currently, I’m contributing editor and food columnist for Wine Spectator magazine. I love food, wine and travel because all three encompass so many other aspects of life such as history, geography, and politics. I’m a passionate Unitarian Universalist (as oxymoronic as that may sound). And I live in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia, my adopted hometown (I was born and reared in Buffalo, NY.) with Mary Lee Keane, my wife of many years but also my best friend, consigliore and webmaster.

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