8.22.2012

penne with pesto, tomatoes, and crispy prosciutto

after reading through my dad's pesto tale last week, i had pesto on the brain. lucky for me, i also had a pint of fresh cherry tomatoes from my mom's backyard - lucky, since the chipmunks and deer managed to eat all of my tomatoes, plant and all, this year - and my basil was overflowing. i tossed the two together, topped it with some prosciutto i crisped up in a pan and had a simple, flavorful, thirty minute summer-on-a-plate dinner.



penne with pesto, softened tomatoes, and crispy prosciutto
30 minutes, serves 6

one word of warning about the time: if you're a good kitchen multitasker - meaning you can have a pot of water boiling for pasta on the stove, prosciutto sizzling in a skillet, and make pesto at the same time - then this can be made in in 30 minutes. if you aren't so good at multitasking, give yourself an extra 10 minutes or so.

1 pound penne or other short cut pasta
1/4 pound prosciutto
at least 2 cups fresh cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup almonds or pine nuts
2 garlic cloves, peeled
about 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup fresh grated romano cheese
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
  1. cook your pasta according to the package directions.
  2. while the pasta is cooking, heat a small non-stick skillet over low heat. cook the prosciutto in batches until browned, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.  roughly chop the crispy prosciutto and set aside.
  3. when the prosciutto is finished cooking, add the cherry tomatoes, turn the heat down as low as it can go, and cook just until heated through and starting to soften.
  4. to make the pesto, combine the basil, nuts, and garlic in your food processor. pulse until it is roughly chopped. while the processor is running, stream in about a half cup of olive oil. add the cheese and pulse just until combined.
  5. drain the cooked pasta and return it to the pan. toss the hot pasta with the pesto and mix in the tomatoes. serve with the crispy prosciutto on top.

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