What do we know about it? I've learned recently that the word primavera actually means "the season of Spring", and that the main focus of a primavera is to highlight the veggies. How fitting, eh? And thanks to spring, we have quite the beautiful veggie selection to choose from.
This recipe is jam-packed with some excellent veggie dosage: artichokes, sugar snap peas, and carrots. Aren't the colors just beautiful? The taste was so fresh and light. The sauce wasn't overbearing, and allowed the veggies to speak for the dish. I couldn't find prosciutto at my local supermarket, so I settled for some premium ham steaks (for a great price, too). I loved the ham, but I think next time I'll make the extra trip to the "fancy-rich-people-food" place to pick up some prosciutto. I think it would have added some delicious saltiness to the overall flavor of the dish.
Don't '86 the heavy cream on this one. It blankets the noodles and veggies wonderfully. I promise. Also, if you wanted to go meatless, you could maybe use mushrooms instead of ham/prosciutto?
Ryan really loved this dish (to my surprise). We don't usually have artichokes and sugar snap peas around here. I think I need to change that after seeing how fast he gobbled them up.
I usually hate mustard. I winch a little when I see someone eating a hot dog with a quart of mustard smothered all over it - even a little of that yellow-paste-of-the-devil on a hamburger bothers me. It's just not my thing. However, I always keep a bottle of dijon in the fridge for cooking. Adding a little bit of that crazy dijon to some recipes provides such a little, but lovely, zing to the flavor of the dish. Crazy, but true. I can still taste the dijon's actual 'mustardiness' but it's not enough to turn me away. And as we know, for me, it doesn't take much.
Once again, this recipe is from my April edition of Food Network Magazine. Kudos to you people. Seriously.
Primavera with Prosciutto, Asparagus, and Carrots
recipe from Food Network Magazine, Ted Allen
1 pound penne (I used Rigatore)
1 pound asparagus spears, stems trimmed, cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths
1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks
1 cup snap peas
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces sliced prosciutto or high-quality ham, diced (I couldn't find prosciutto, so we used ham)
1 large shallot, sliced 1/8 inch thick (fresh outta shallots. So I used 1/2 small yellow onion)
1 garlic clove minced (I used two cloves. I love garlic!)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade or low-sodium store-bought
3 tablespoons dijon mustard (I only used 2 tablespoons. I chickened out.)
Parmesan cheese for sprinkling
Bring a pot of water to a boil, salt it generously and cook the pasta for 8 minutes; add the asparagus, carrot and snap peas and cook for 3 minutes. Check the pasta and vegetables to make sure they're cooked through but still have texture, then drain.While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large saute pan, add the ham and shallot and cook until lightly browned, 3 minutes or so. Add the garlic and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the cream, stock and mustard and simmer for a minute or two, scraping up any brown bits.
Add the pasta and vegetables to the pan. Toss and cook for another 2 minutes, until cooked through and the pasta is coated. Taste for seasoning, add salt if necessary and serve immediately in warm bowls, sprinkled with parm.
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