Weeknight Kitchen: Straw & Hay Pasta
This colorful pasta dish has been on restaurant menus as far back as I can remember. Patrons love the two-tone pasta, crispy peas, prosciutto bits, and creamy sauce. Your family and guests will ask for second helpings every time. But, as traditional as this dish is, feel free to change the vegetables according to seasons; for example, I love adding fava beans in the spring, corn in the summer, mushrooms in the fall, and cooked chestnuts in the winter.
Salt for the pasta pot
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup shelled fresh peas, blanched, or frozen baby peas, defrosted
6 to 8 slices imported prosciutto, cut crosswise into 1/2 inch-thick ribbons
2/3 cup chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 pound fresh paglia e fi eno fettuccine, or 1/2 pound dry egg fettucine and 1/2 pound dry spinach fettuccine
3/4 cup freshly grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.
Trim the roots, tips, and any yellow or wilted leaves from the scallions. Cut them in half lengthwise, then crosswise into 3-inch lengths. Cut the scallion pieces lengthwise into thin strips.
Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the scallions, and cook until wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Scatter in the peas and cook until just tender, about 3 minutes. Add the prosciutto, and toss until it changes color, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour in the chicken stock, and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the sauce to a simmer, and cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the heavy cream, and continue to simmer until the liquid is lightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.|
Stir the pasta into the salted boiling water. Return to a boil, and cook the pasta until al dente. Fish the pasta out of the boiling water with a large wire skimmer, and add it directly to the sauce in the skillet, stirring to coat the pasta with sauce. Cook over high heat until the liquid is reduced enough to form a creamy sauce. Remove from the heat, toss in the grated cheese, and serve immediately in warm bowls.Excerpted from Lidia's Favorite Recipes by Lidia Bastianich. Copyright © 2012 by Tutti a Tavola, LLC. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.