Feeling Like Tuscan Royalty: Pasta with Prosciutto, Tomato, and Basil
La dolce, dolce vita. Monday morning and time to get to work in my very cool little apartmento here in Montalcino. After a quick cappuccino at my favorite spot in the piazza, Caffe’ Fiaschetteria, I popped into the market so I could test out my little kitchen for dinner this evening. After a day of conference calls and work, I took a quick spin through the village (of course, I had to stop for a glass of Brunello with a friend) and headed back to my home base to try my hand at cooking. I was about to put some tunes on the ipod. It was then I realized that there could be no music sweeter than the sound of the wind whistling across the village, the sound of the Brunello cork popping, the lilt of the beautiful Italian voices in the streets below or the chirp of the birds between swoops and swirls across the rooftops. I have made this pasta for dinner a million times at home but nothing compares to the beauty surrounding me as I ate (or should I say ‘dined’?) on my balcony this evening surrounded by the peace of this village. I felt like a queen with the whole world at her feet and considering how high this apartment is…I mean that literally . How often do I get to take a food photo like this one? I shouldn’t admit this but I had tears of gratitude welling in my eyes as I ate (do queens cry?).
As I type this, I am watching the sun slowing sink below the horizon. A stiff wind has kicked up across the valley and night is settling upon the village as the voices quiet and dusk falls. Time to head inside and tuck into bed for a night of sleep fit for a queen. As they say in Italy, ‘Sogni d’oro’ (dreams of gold). Nite, nite, tutti.
Pasta with Prosciutto, Tomato and Basil
Serving size for 2
1/2 pound pasta of your choice
Extra virgin olive oil
3 or 4 slices of prosciutto, diced
3 cloves of garlic, diced
4 medium tomatoes, chopped
About 6 leaves of basil, cut into thin ribbons
A bit of pasta water
Freshly grated Parmigiano
Hot pepper, to taste
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
2. Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat until hot. Add in the diced prosciutto and saute until cooked and slightly browned. Add in the chopped garlic and saute until light golden – careful not to overcook.
3. Add in the diced tomatoes and saute over medium heat until softened. Allow to simmer while the pasta is cooking.
4. Cook pasta according to package directions until ‘al dente’. Add a bit of pasta water to the sauce (about 1/4 cup) and simmer. Drain pasta.
5. Add pasta to the sauce and stir to combine. Toss in the fresh basil. Add hot pepper if using and adjust seasoning.
6. Plate and sprinkle with plenty of grated parmigiano. Buon appetito!