Sunday, July 21, 2013

SPAGHETTI WITH ASPARAGUS, SMOKED MOZZARELLA AND PROSCIUTTO


My love affair with Scamorza is just starting to bloom. Actually it is smoked Scamorza that I love. In May I had dinner at Berreta in San Francisco. Great restaurant! We ordered Zucchini Parmigiana with Scamorza and Basil. There was a creamy, smoky flavor that haunted me. I had to learn more. Scamorza is an Italian cow's milk cheese similar to mozzarella. When smoked it adds an amazing dimension to your dish. It melts well and imparts an alluring smoky flavor. This pasta dish combines the saltiness of the proscuitto, the creamy smoky flavor of the cheese and the celebration of seasonal asparagus. This recipe just took top spot in my favorite pasta dinners.


SPAGHETTI WITH ASPARAGUS, SMOKED MOZZARELLA AND PROSCIUTTO

2 pounds asparagus, trimmed
3/4 pound spaghetti
4 TBSP. 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 (smoked scamorza), diced (about 1 cup)
6 TBSP. thinly sliced fresh basil leaves

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

Recipe from Giada De Laurentis

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