07 April 2013

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.

Secret Recipe Club

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!

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  1. I love the taste of asparagus with lemon. That pasta must have been sensational.

  2. I agree, Jane's recipes are always the best! This looks perfect for the season. I have some Meyer lemons from my CSA box. Will make this this week.

  3. I have not yet tried lemon with my pasta. This looks like the perfect little dish for the hot weather we're experiencing now. Gonna have to try it out soon!

  4. Go Cards! Haha...my husband and I love the Cardinals. This looks like a great summer dish. Something delicious but not super heavy in the heat. Great SRC pick.

  5. I LOVE prosciutto! This looks delicious! I'm making something similar to it next week actually.

  6. I really like the idea of roasting the asparagus at a lower temp- I don't know why I haven't thought of that before! Anything with Prosciutto is amazing, and this sauce looks soooooo good. #SRCLOVE

  7. When you talk prosciutto, you talk my language. I would have probably picked this one too.

  8. I knew there were extra reasons I enjoyed this blog besides the great recipes! Cardinals fan here too, and yes that win yesterday was pretty sweet. Especially that 4th inning. Maybe it made up, just a little bit, for the way the NL series turned out last year! : )

  9. Kate | Food BabblesApril 8, 2013 at 7:44 PM

    This looks like there perfect light spring pasta dish!! I have been on such an asparagus kick lately so it's great to be introduced to another recipe to incorporate it into. Lovely!

  10. What a gorgeous meal. Perfect for springtime. Love Jane too.

  11. I'd love a bowl of this right now please!
    Unfortunately my post missed the blog hop due to tech issues..argh..Here is the link as I'd hate for people to miss seeing Aly's recipe and her wonderful blog -http://chitchatchomp.blogspot.com.au/2013/04/secret-recipe-club-april.html

  12. Mmm! There really are too many to choose from, but asparagus is probably at least my favorite springtime veggie. Love this pasta!

  13. Simple and delicious. Love it!

  14. Wow! This looks and sounds YUMMY!!! Great choice. I'm a fellow SRC member, group D

  15. OMG....I want a huge plate of that! The asparagus and prosciutto is the perfect accompaniment to a creamy lemon sauce! I've got to try this! Great choice!

  16. That is spring on a plate indeed!
    Great choice for this month SRC. I need to hunt down some asparagus as they are not easily available here

  17. this lemon sauce sounds amazing!! so springy!

  18. What a great way of preparing the sauce! I bet it makes the asparagus delicious!

  19. Your recipes always look and sound so delicious. I just picked up a bunch of asparagus tonight, so I will start with this!

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  23. Elizabeth @ Food RamblingsApril 10, 2013 at 9:42 AM

    Yum- great SRC pick!

  24. Such a nice dish and so spring like. yep those 3 ingredients are winner, love asparagus, prosciutto and lemon. Very lovely dish for SRC.

  25. I have been enjoying asparagus non stop lately, what a wonderful way to enjoy them with your pasta recipe, looks delicious!

    If you haven't already, I'd love for you to check out my SRC entry: Laura Goodenough's Apple Coffee Cake