Thursday, June 17, 2010

Few things are better than this.

So after this week's Tomato Tart fiasco, I was glad when tonight's dinner came together smashingly. Then again, few things (and I mean very few things) are better than pasta. Especially, if that pasta involves butter, prosciutto and parmesan cheese. And then of course, there were the sage leaves fried in brown butter, and I think I might have melted into my chair after the first bite.

There is something so wonderfully homey, so wonderfully heart-warming about a bowl of pasta. But it is summer, and there really isn't any need to be warmed up, when the sun is shining like it was today. That's why this pasta is so perfect. It's the ultimate go-to dish when you feel like making something rustic and comforting, but also something quick and effortless- the kind of meal that won't have you using your stove or oven any longer than you need to on a hot day. It's also sort of a godsend, when you are still(!) getting over the scars from a previous dinner gone bad (we all know what I'm talking about). So do yourself a favor, and make this amazingly no-fuss pasta that will have you swooning in no time (from the taste, not the heat, I swear).

And since we are on a roll here, I thought I would share another low key recipe that is quite the regular in our kitchen- and one that goes perfectly with the aforementioned pasta, if I might add. I'm talking about broccoli, oven-roasted with some garlic and olive oil and then topped with a bit of parmesan cheese and lemon zest. I know, I know, you thought I would never roast a single thing after the tomatoes, but look at me now! Like the old saying goes, "If you can't succeed, try, try again."

Anyway, back to the recipe. I am here to tell you that I became an instant broccoli lover- no wait- an instant broccoli fanatic from the moment I tried this. And I'll have you know, I didn't even like the vegetable until this recipe. And if that's not enough to make you want to get up right now and roast some broccoli in the heat, than maybe this will: I will bet you twenty dollars that if you make this for someone who claims to dislike broccoli, they will totally and forever be changed after one bite. They will probably even ask for more, because they will like it that much. Seriously, I'm betting money on this dish. So come on, make it- I dare you.

Roasted Broccoli with Parmesan

Some notes: This dish is adapted from an Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa) recipe. My version serves two, but can be multiplied very easily to accommodate more if needed. 

  • 2 large heads of broccoli
  • 2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • good olive oil
  • generous pinches of salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Cut the broccoli florets from the thick stalks, leaving an inch or two of stalk attached to the florets. Discard the rest of the stalks. Cut the larger pieces through the base of the head with a knife and pull the florets apart.
  3. Place the broccoli florets on a baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle the the florets generously with olive oil and then toss with the garlic. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. 
  4. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until florets are crisp-tender and some of their tips are browned.
  5. Remove the broccoli from the oven and immediately toss with parmesan and lemon zest. 
Pasta with Prosciuto and Fried Sage Leaves

Some notes: This recipe is a combination of a few different recipes and variations, including this one. It serves two, generously, but feel free to scale up the recipe to your preference.

  • About 6 ounces dried pasta, whatever you prefer (although this dish is best with egg Tagliatelle or egg Papperdelle, which is what we used)
  • 2 oz. prosciutto, sliced 1/8 inch thick 
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano 
  • kosher salt
  • good olive oil
  • 10 sage leaves
  1. Drizzle enough olive oil to coat the bottom of a skillet, about 1/4-inch deep, on medium-high heat. Add sage leaves, and cook for about 1-2 minutes, flipping once. Transfer to paper towels.
  2. Bring a well-salted pot of water to a boil.
  3. In the meantime, cut the prosciutto into thin strips length-wise, about a 1/4-inch wide- and then cut the strips in the other direction, about 1-inch long.
  4. Place the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When the butter is melted, add the prosciutto. Sprinkle with a small pinch of kosher salt. 
  5. Saute the prosciutto until it loses its raw color (but make sure you don't let it brown), about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
  6. Add the pasta to boiling water and cook until it is al dente. Drain the pasta, but not too thouroughly, leaving some moisture on the noodles- the starch from the pasta water will help create a sauce when everything is tossed together. 
  7. Transfer the noodles into the skillet with prosciutto, and toss. Grate parmesan cheese on top and toss once more. Top with sage leaves, and serve immediately, with more parmesan to your preference. 


    1. Seriously Jen, this is the only way I eat broccoli. It's craazy good. Most of it's usually gone within 5 min, I just stand there and eat it off the tray.

    2. Billy! I am so glad to hear that I'm not the only one who eats it off the tray!