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Lazy Person's Creamy Prosciutto Cotto Arrosto Pasta

Lazy Person's Creamy Prosciutto Cotto Arrosto Pasta
Story/recipe and photographs by Tom Weber

inside an Italian butcher shop

Let's have a show of hands from those of you who like cooked ham.

Very good.

Now, let's take that cooked ham, add a few herbs and roast it. Like it even more?

Excellent.

The reason why I'm asking is because the cooked and roasted Italian ham - Prosciutto Cotto Arrosto - is a key ingredient in this Lazy Person recipe that's sure to provide you with a "fork full of Heaven" in each and every bite. And even better than its heavenly taste, this recipe takes less than 15-minutes to prepare, plate and get underway.

Now how LAZY is that?

We call this culinary quickie the Lazy Person's Creamy Prosciutto Cotto Arrosto Pasta - LPCPCAP for short. It's a pasta in bianco - white pasta, no tomato sauce.

Now, a Lazy Person recipe wouldn't be complete without an historical footnote, or, in the case of the LPCPCAP, an historical THIGH note. And I'll sneak it in here, and then on to the recipe.

storefront piggies

Let me just put on my cap and gown first. AHEM!

Prosciutto comes from the Latin word perexsuctum, meaning prosciugato in Italian ("dried thoroughly," or "deprived of all liquid").

Prosciutto has been around in Italy since at least the Roman Republic (4-3 BC) and may have been introduced earlier by the Etruscans (8-5 BC), that marvelous tribe that tamed the earth under the sun that we've come to love today, Tuscany.

prosciutto on display

There are two basic preparation methods. First, Prosciutto Crudo, air-cured ham that's bathed in salt, pepper, pork fat and, sometimes, herbs and sugar, then hung out to dry for up to 16-months. Second, Prosciutto Cotto, boiled ham, which can be further coated with aromatic herbs and then roasted, becoming Prosciutto Cotto Arrosto, and that's where we're headed.

Okay. That's the quick Prosciutto primer. Now we can head into the kitchen. Drum roll, please.

__________________________________

Lazy Person's Creamy Prosciutto Cotto Arrosto Pasta

Ingredients (per person)

  • 90-100 gr (3.0-3.5 oz) of Sedani Rigate or Penne Rigate dried semolina pasta
  • 2 large thin slices (40 gr/1.4 oz) of Prosciutto Cotto-Arrosto
  • 60 ml (1/3 cup) of Heavy Cream
  • 44 gr (3 tablespoons) of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese
  • 5 gr (1 teaspoon) freshly ground (medium coarseness) Black Pepper
  • 1 Medium-size pot of Boiling Water
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of salt

Cooking and Prep Time: 12-15 min. (not including time to boil the water)

__________________________________

Step-1: Fill the pot with water, cover, set burner on HIGH and begin the boiling process

pot of boiling water

Step-2: While waiting for the water to boil, weigh the pasta.

sedani rigate dried semolina pasta

Step-3: Measure the cream and grate the cheese

cream and cheese with grater

Step-4: Cut the ham into bite-size pieces

prosciutto cotto-arrosto ham cut into bite-size pieces

Step-5: As the water comes to a roaring boil, uncover, add the salt, drop the pasta down, stir vigorously and then wait 10-min.

salt and pot with pasta in boiling water

Step-6: You've now got 10-min. to kill. So, set the table, uncork the wine and unleash some Andrea Bocelli around the house to sweep you away to the Bel Paese while you wait.

Step-7: At the 9-min. mark of the cooking pasta, remove a piece and check its al dente status. The pasta needs to be firm, but not hard. Continue taking samples until its just right.

Step-8: Drain the pasta and reintroduce it into the now empty pot. Turn the burner up to MEDIUM-HIGH, add the cream and begin stirring vigorously.

drained pasta with cream added

Step-9: Right on the heels of Step-8 add the grated cheese and continue stirring.

cheese added to pasta and cream

Step-10: On the heels of Step-9 add the pieces of ham and continue stirring until the cream has reduced to a slightly thick-not-runny consistency (about 1.5-2 min. from the start of Step-8).

pieces of ham added to pasta, cheese and cream

Step-11: Remove from heat, plate the pasta, add freshly ground black pepper and serve.

finished creamy prosciutto cotto arrosto pasta and black pepper

Wine Pairing: Bardolino Chiaretto DOC - Cantina di Soave (VR), Italy - A rosé with a fruity bouquet, including raspberry and pomegranate. Well-balanced, it has a fine crispness and fragrance. The palate is harmonious with slightly bitter nuances. Due to its light character, it marries well with light foods, cheeses and pasta dishes, like the LPCPCAP. Enjoy at 10-12 °C (50-53 °F).

Bardolino Chiaretto DOC rose wine

__________________________________

Not too shabby for someone who really doesn't have much of a clue around the kitchen and is just plain LAZY, right?

Now it's your turn. Have fun. Don't panic. And, most importantly, Buon Appetito!

Care to Share?
Do you have any favorite recipes that you
picked up in one of your travels?
Can you share them with us?
Click here and send them
to Audrey.

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Lazy Person's Creamy Prosciutto Cotto Arrosto Pasta
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Hi Audrey,

Love your lamb shanks.

--- Paul, Scottsdale AZ

Haven't been called Tad for . . .gee, maybe I've NEVER been called Tad . . . guess I'm the only one with chutzpah enough to mention Bourdain. BRILLIANT?

--- Ken, Shutesbury, MA

I think we must have had an entirely different experience in the UK. (Fresh Food and Real Ale – week 1). We were up in Edinburgh and they served something called ‘Neeps & Tatties.’ The items were boiled so long that I couldn’t even recognize what I was eating. Come to think of it… I couldn’t taste them either. Later I found that Neeps’ are Turnips and ‘Tatties’ are potatoes.

--- Lindy, Phoenix, AZ

My mouth was watering as I read some of your descriptions of the fantastic fare of ... England? I had always felt smug about the lowly reputation of British cuisine as this gave us at least one country with a worse culinary reputation than America's. I guess I'll have to change my views. Your article made me actually want to take a CULINARY tour of Britain. Yummy yummy yummy.

--- Sandy Miner, Portland, OR

Thanks for your note. Thanks to Traveling Boy I get to interview a world famous chef this week who is widely recognized as spearheading the Yummy movement in Ireland. Guess I'll have to take yet another culinary tour a little further north and check it out... (I love my job!) --- Audrey

Very interesting, mouth-watering piece by Audrey! (A McDreamy McMeel). Your web site is fascinating!

--- Susie, Victoria, BC

Combining travel, food, and intelligent advice -- BRILLIANT! Your site fills a long-felt need for hungry roamers. Keep it up! It's Anthony Bourdain with reservations and CLASS.

--- Tad, Boston, MA


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