Friday, April 11, 2014

Mediterranean Ham Pasta


* 2 servings of your choice of pasta (I used a Ukrainian egg pasta here)
* 1 1/2 thick slice from a cured smoked ham, fat and all, cubed into 1/2" cubes
* 1/2 cup assorted pitted olives, chopped
* 1/4 cup olive tampenade
* 1/4 cup artichoke hearts, chopped
* 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes in olive oil, not sliced
* 1/2 cup frozen peas
* Parmesan cheese for garnish
* 3 cloves garlic - chopped
* 1/4 cup white wine
* 1/4 cup (approx) pasta water reserved from making pasta
* Optional parsley for garnish
* Plain EVOO for saute
* Single source Italian or Greek EVOO for dressing


Prep pasta:
1) Prepare pasta in salted water, should be a little bit firmer than al dente - time varies by pasta type
2) Drain water into a bowl, so that you can use it later, when draining pasta. Set pasta aside in a cool container so it doesn't continue to cook
3) If you are experienced with pasta you can do this while sauteing the other ingredients. If not prepare it ahead of time.

1) Heat 2 tbsp plain EVOO in a cast iron skillet till almost smoking
2) Add garlic and ham, continually stir fry until the fat from the ham starts to gel and the ham starts to brown.  Ham is ALREADY COOKED so don't overdo this step.
3) Once ham is sizzling away add the olives, Tampenade, artichoke hearts, and sun-dried tomatoes
4) Saute for a few minutes in the hot oil and fat from the ham, stirring constantly until you can smell the olives cooking.
5) Just before ready to add pasta add salt and pepper to taste, add frozen peas.  If using fresh peas add them a little earlier
6) Add 1/4 cup white wine and reduce for a couple minutes and 1/4 cup pasta water and bring to a boil.
7) Add pasta to bring up to temp and warm through, pasta should be al dente
8) Transfer immediately to a bowl and pour 2-3 tblsp of high-end EVOO and mix thoroughly
9) Serve while hot, grate parmesan over top to taste.  If you want garnish with whole parsley.

Goes well with an Italian White Wine or a Semi-Sweet Reisling.

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