Last week was a bit crazy. Busy on Sunday, sick on Monday . . . I never got around to make a meal plan, or grocery shopping. I felt a little better the next day, yet it didn't occur to me until around 3 p.m. that I had very little (food-wise) to cook with!
I grabbed the nearest magazine (Every Day with Rachael Ray), and flipped to the recipe index. I chose two potential recipes, loaded the baby into the car and went to the store. My first stop was the deli counter. My first-choice recipe called for about 4 ounces of prosciutto, cut into small dice, and recommended asking at the deli counter for "prosciutto ends" — leftovers from the blocks of prosciutto that they slice at the deli counter. I'd never heard of asking for such a thing before, and wasn't sure if the deli would have them available. And if they didn't, I had my backup recipe.
Well, it turned out, they had two ends! So, I got my 4 ounces of prosciutto, and picked up the rest of my ingredients. This was also very easy to prepare. Not quite a ready-in-30-minutes meal, but it didn't take all day, either. It was ready in less than an hour.
I substitute light cream for heavy cream, and also let it reduce for 15 minutes instead of 10, for a thicker sauce. It had a delicious, earthy taste. Serve with crusty French or Italian bread to soak up any remaining sauce!
Creamy Porcini and Prosciutto Penne
Source: Every Day with Rachael Ray
- Salt and pepper
- 1 pound penne rigate
- 1 ½ cups chicken stock
- 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ - ½ pound prosciutto di parma*, cut into ¼-inch dice
- ½ pound cremini (a.k.a. baby bella) mushrooms, sliced
- 1 large shallot, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
- 1 cup light cream
- ½ cup dry marsala wine
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- Shaved parmesan cheese, for garnishing**
- 2 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnishing (optional)
- Bring a large stockpot of water to a boil. Generously salt the water, and add the penne. Cook to al dente, according to package directions. Reserve ½ cup of cooking water before draining pasta.
- While pasta is cooking, bring the chicken stock and dried porcini mushrooms to a boil, to soften. Puree with an immersion blender or food processor.
- Place the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the diced prosciutto, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the fat melts (called rendering), stirring frequently. Add the sliced cremini mushrooms to the skillet, and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and brown, about 10 minutes.
- Add the shallot and the garlic to the skillet, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the cream, the marsala wine, and the chicken stock/porcini mushroom puree. Reduce heat to medium and simmer at a rapid bubble for 15 minutes, until reduced and thickened.
- Add the pasta to the skillet, loosening with the reserved cooking water if the penne sticks together. Add the parmesan cheese and toss until cheese melts.
- Serve with shaved parmesan and chopped parsley.
* Ask at the deli counter of your local grocery store for prosciutto ends.
** You're grating your Parmesan cheese from a block, right? (Right??) If so, take a vegetable peeler and run it lightly along the cut sides of the block to get thin shavings for garnishing.