Monday, March 3, 2008

Spaghetti with Asparagus, Smoked Mozzarella, and Proscuitto

This dish has a very impressive presentation. It also has the benefit in cooking in the time it takes to bring the pasta water to a boil. Everything combines to make really great dish.

2 pounds asparagus, trimmed
3/4 pound spaghetti
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut crosswise into strips
6 ounces smoked mozzarella cheese, diced (about 1 cup)
6 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil leaves

Cook the asparagus in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. With a spider or slotted spoon, remove asparagus from boiling water to a bowl of ice water to cool and stop the cooking. When cool, strain, cut asparagus into 1-inch pieces, and set aside.

Return the water in the pot to a boil, adding additional water, if necessary. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add asparagus to the skillet. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Add the pasta, and if needed, some of the reserved cooking liquid. Toss to coat. Add the prosciutto, mozzarella, and basil, and toss to combine. Turn off the heat. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve.

-- Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

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