Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Pappardelle with Prosciutto and Arugula

I'll admit it.  I'm old.  As in, not young anymore.  It wasn't an instant realization, more like a progressive wave of events the last few weeks.  An intern recently joined the office, fresh out of high school.  She's half my age.  We got a new tenant in our rental property.   He was born in the 90's.  My neck and upper back is still quite tender from pulling a muscle.  Folding down a car seat.  I find myself tucking in my shirt more often at work.   Even when the very important people aren't around.  I just got life insurance.  Shit I remember this weird but awesome band Radiohead making their TV debut on The Arsenio Hall Show with the hit song 'Creep'.  What finally pushed me over the hill?  The paper.  Myself and this guy even older than me, we are the only ones in our office lunchroom that prefer to receive our news events by reading an actual paper.  It's not electronic.  You have to unfold it and then physically turn pages with your hands, not just repeatedly swipe some tiny screen.  It can't reach the internet and download stuff.  It won't play games with you, unless you consider the crossword or word jumble.  As I sat in the lunchroom with my Chicago Tribune, all these kids around me have food in one hand and their phones in the other.  Now I'm not against technology, (I do author a website) but I felt like I was holding a stone tablet and wearing mom jeans.  There's a lot more gray in my chin stubble these days, and these young bastards are making me feel old.  Yet I will remain youthful by eating healthy meals made from scratch from good ingredients that are whole and not processed.  You punks can read your kindles and drink your Monsters for lunch and microwave those frozen preservative-packed meals to eat.  I prefer a different route.

This is a tasty and somewhat light summer meal, for having pasta and prosciutto and butter, cheese and oil.  Thank the lemon and arugula.  There's plenty of arugula in the garden the rabbits haven't discovered yet, and this recipe is a delicious way to enjoy the produce.  Arugula and lemon are good friends.  Pig parts get along with everything, the thinly sliced prosciutto is added to the pasta at the last minute to highlight it's flavor. 

Important notes for this recipe- 
wash your leeks very well, dirt loves to hide in all them layers. 
use the real deal parmigiano reggiano, there is no compromise when it comes to parm
you don't have to spend $24/lb on prosciutto di parma, the normal stuff will do
if you cannot find pappardelle, fettuccine or another fat ass noodle can sub

Pappardelle with Prosciutto and Arugula
4 servings

3/4 lb pappardelle
2 TB EVOO
2 TB unsalted butter
2 leeks, white and pale green part only, halved lengthwise and then thinly sliced
1 small garlic clove, minced
3 ts grated lemon zest (about 1 large lemon)
1/4 finely chopped fresh chives
4-5 C fresh arugula, thick stems removed, large leaves torn in half
3/4 C freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
 Freshly cracked black pepper and kosher salt
4 oz. prosciutto, sliced into 1" pieces

Cook the pappardelle in a large pot of salted water until al dente, probably a minute or two before the box tells you it's done.  Reserve 2 C of the cooking liquid when draining. 

In a large skillet, heat oil and butter over medium heat.  Add the leeks and cook, stirring often, for about 6-7 minutes until soft but not browned.  Add in the garlic during the last minute.  

Add the pasta, most of the chives, 2 ts lemon zest, and 1 C of the pasta cooking water to the skillet and stir well to combine.  Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring, until you have a nice sauce coating the pappardelle.  You may need a couple more 1/4 C additions of pasta water if things look too dry, there should be plenty available.

Add the arugula and 1/2 C of parmigiano reggiano, season with salt and pepper and stir well to combine.  Fold in the prosciutto and stir again.  Serve onto plates or shallow bowls with more grated cheese, the rest of the chives and a touch of lemon zest. 


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