It's my favorite Monday of the month: Secret Recipe Club reveal day. The Secret Recipe Club is a group of food bloggers who secretly make one of someone else's dishes and post them all on the same day at the same time. It's really fun, choosing a recipe to make, making the recipe, then reading about everyone else's recipes. It's a great way to "meet" other bloggers and check out some great blogs that you never knew about before.
I was so excited when I got my assignment for this month. I was assigned to the blog penned by our group's lovely hostess, Jane. Jane is a super sweet lady who is always there to help out and can be depended on for anything. Jane is the reason Group A is the best group in the SRC. (Not that I am biased or anything!) Jane's blog is called The Heritage Cook. It is an amazing blog with a great variety of recipes. Jane posts a chocolate recipe every Monday (gotta love that!), and has lots of yummy gluten-free recipes to offer. It was so hard choosing which recipe to make! Since it was just before Easter that I was deciding, the first recipe to catch my eye was her Bourbon Glazed Ham. Unfortunately, I didn't get to make a big Easter dinner this year, but I did buy a ham to stick in the freezer, so I am definitely trying that one soon. Another one that interested me was her Peach Mustard Grilled Pork Chops, but I am currently grill-less (getting one this week though, yay!). And then, of course, there are desserts. I know it's the wrong season, but her Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars look so good!
But you know, I love to cook seasonally, so I absolutely could not pass up the opportunity to make her Penne with Asparagus and Prosciutto in Lemon Cream Sauce. Nothing says "spring!" more than tender asparagus, delicate prosciutto, and lemon. If you read my blog last Wednesday, you probably already know that I like a little hint of lemon in my pasta (yeah, probably should have planned better and spaced these two recipes out a little, but oh well!). But this takes the whole lemon pasta thing up a notch by adding fresh verdant asparagus and salty prosciutto to make it a main dish with a lot to offer.
Penne with Asparagus and Prosciutto in Lemon Cream Sauce
1 lb. fresh asparagus, trimmed
1 shallot, peeled and sliced
6-8 oz thinly sliced prosciutto
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb. penne or other short cut pasta
1 cup heavy cream
1 clove garlic, peeled and halved
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest, finely grated
Salt and pepper, to taste
¾ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, divided
3 tbsp fresh chives, chopped
Preheat oven to 350°.
Cut asparagus spears into bite-sized pieces. Combine with the shallot and prosciutto; place on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil. Transfer to oven and roast until nearly tender, about 15-20 minutes. (Timing will depend on the thickness of spears.) Remove from oven and set aside.
While asparagus is roasting, bring a large stockpot of water to a boil over high heat and add 2 tbsp kosher salt. Cook pasta until just barely al dente. Reserve 2 cups of the cooking water and drain the pasta.
While pasta is cooking, combine the cream, garlic, butter, lemon juice, and zest in a large skillet,. Warm over medium heat until butter melts, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and remove the garlic pieces and discard. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.
Whisk ½ cup of the cheese into the sauce until smooth. Add the cooked pasta and stir to coat thoroughly. Cook over medium heat for about 3 more minutes or until pasta is cooked through. Stir in the roasted asparagus, shallots, and prosciutto, tossing to combine and cook another minute to warm it through. Add a little of the cooking water at a time, if needed, to get the sauce to your desired consistency.
Transfer to serving platter, sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup cheese and chives. Serve immediately.
Makes 4-6 servings.
Isn't that a beautiful dish? Oh my goodness, it is so good! The lemon isn't overpowering (you can easily customize the amount of lemon to your preferences), and it pairs so well with the asparagus and the prosciutto. And the grated cheese and snipped chives just take it over the top.
Asparagus, prosciutto, and shallots before roasting.
And after. I love how these roast at a lower temperature, so they don't get too brown and crispy. I love brown and crispy, usually, but in this dish they are perfect just being tender but still keeping their gorgeous bright color.
I also loved the shallots in this dish. I had never roasted shallots before; now I want to put roasted shallots in everything I make!
I just love the colors in this dish.
The lemon cream sauce is light and bright, with just the perfect amount of lemon and garlic. It coats the pasta nicely without being thick and heavy.
Thanks for a great recipe, Jane! And for being the best hostess in the SRC! :)
Oh, I forgot to mention one thing. Jane is a San Francisco Giants fan. And since I am a Cardinals fan, I just have to ask: Jane, did you see the score from yesterday's game? Ouch! :) I am seeing the Giants play the Brewers in Milwaukee next week, so I will give them a special cheer just for you!