Monday, April 15, 2013

Paglia e Fieno (Straw and Hay Pasta)

This dish got its name because the mixture of spinach linguine and plain linguine looks like a mound of straw and hay when served. I first ate this dish in Italy when I was a student spending my junior year abroad, and it became a favorite of mine the moment I tasted the saltiness of the prosciutto against the creamy texture of the sauce and the sweet explosion of the fresh peas. This is a perfect fish to serve in the spring as soon as fresh peas are available. Serve family-style in a large, low bowl, with a mixed green salad and the rest of the Pinot Grigio.



1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 - 3 tablespoons butter
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 scallion, finely minced
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine (like Pinot)
1 tablespoon pureed tomato
2 ounces Italian prosciutto, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
8 ounces dried or fresh spinach linguine
8 ounces dried or fresh plain linguine
1/2 cup shelled fresh peas or frozen baby peas
Sea salt
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, in one piece for grating

1. In a large saucepan, combine the oil and butter and place over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the garlic and scallion. Saute for 3 minutes, watching carefully so the garlic doesn't burn. Add the brother and wine and bring to a simmer. Add the pureed tomato and peas. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the sauce has reduced slightly. Add the prosciutto and cook for 5 minutes longer. Remove from the heat and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, cook the pastas together in a large pot  of boiling salted water until al dente (with a little give). Drain in a colander.


3. Put half of the sauce in the pasta pot, then return the pasta to the pot and top with remaining vegetable mixture and the cream. Toss to combine the pasta and vegetables, adding salt to taste if necessary. Grate cheese over the top and serve immediately.



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