penne con prosciutto e asparagi

I’ve already mentioned that my little brother, W, was visiting MM and I this week. He is quite the charming young man, and I tend to believe that my Italian fiance has had nothing but a positive effect on him. Last year, MM began to instruct W on the ways to charm the ladies – one major trick: cook for them. W began to hang out with MM and me in the kitchen to watch our methods and learn some recipes – sometimes, all it takes is the mention of the ladies. My mom wasn’t complaining, to say the least.

Since then, W has been pulling out the stops! He charmed a nice young woman in DC this summer while they were both interning, and he sealed the deal by cooking her Penne con Prosciutto e Asparagi. He cooked the same pasta for MM and I last night – he included roasted chicken, but MM and I would have done with out the “pollo.” I highly recommend trying it for yourself (with or without the chicken):

1 box De Cecco penne
1 bundle of asparagus
1 package of prosciutto (about 1/2lb)
1/2 cup olive oil (not extra virgin)
2 cloves garlic
1 cup Ricotta
roasted chicken (optional)

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat. When it boils, add pasta and cook as indicated on box.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add chopped garlic and let simmer until you can smell the garlic – do not burn. Add prosciutto and cook, stirring occasionally, until prosciutto is crisp, about 5 minutes. Add asparagus and toss to coat evenly. Let cook until asparagus just starts to get browned on the edges, about 3 minutes.

Add a few tablespoons of pasta water to the asparagus mixture, stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to incorporate browned bits. Drain pasta and add to sauce pan. Add ricotta and stir to coat evenly. Taste and adjust seasoning, as desired. Serve immediately.


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