So this is the idea that pasta can and should be cooked like risotto, not chucked into boiling water but stirred and simmered in stock until it’s done and the starch from the pasta will help thicken the sauce, and everything will be magical. It’s not a bad idea. Obviously, cooking anything in stock will make it more flavourful than cooking it in water. And the blog I saw this recipe on, Taste of Beirut, says it’s not dissimilar to a method of cooking pasta used traditionally in Lebanon. It’s pretty good, but it’s important to note that this is not a super al dente pasta dish. The long simmering process does make the pasta soft. As long as that’s ok with you, then by all means!
Now. This specific recipe. It’s a little different from the one there, because it doesn’t specify how many cloves of garlic to use, so I made it up, and likewise the prosciutto and the parmesan I either invented or altered the amount to something that sounded good to me. And I just forgot the pine nuts altogether. And… I thought the leftover canned tomatoes from when I’d made the Indian beans and rice were going to add up to a cup and a half, but they didn’t, so I just doubled the amount of sun-dried tomatoes instead. Also, I didn’t use my wok – I try not to use olive oil with my wok, because the wok gets really hot and olive oil’s smoke point is too low. I used my cast-iron skillet instead. The result of all these changes is something that’s probably not dissilar to the the original, but it’s clearly not the same.
Some amount of pasta – I just sort of eyeballed it, but this makes more than enough for 2 people, so chuck in a bunch – of a smallish tubular nature. The original recipe specifies penne, I had macaroni on hand; long noodles probably wouldn’t work as well.
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, cut into thin strips
1 cup regular tomatoes, chopped – for me, this was 2 small ones
3 cups veggie stock (or chicken, but I had the best batch of my veggie stock so far sitting in my freezer, so I used that)
1/2 cup white wine
3 slices prosciutto, sliced or just shredded… it’s so thin it’s hard to slice
1/4 cup parmesan
2 cloves garlic, smashed
Warm the stock in a pot, to just under a simmer.
Heat olive oil in a big pan over medium heat.
Add the pasta and toss to coat.
Cook, stirring often, for a couple of minutes, allowing the pasta to colour a little bit.
Pour the stock into the pasta (yes, all at once!).
Stir in both kinds of tomatoes.
Cook until the liquid is nearly all absorbed, stirring often.
Stir in the parmesan, prosciutto, and garlic, mashing up the garlic more with the back of a spoon or whatever you’re using to stir with.
Keep cooking until the prosciutto is heated through and the cheese is melted.
Throw some basil in there right when you’re about to serve it.
Here’s the thing: sun-dried tomatoes are like volleyball for me – I always think I like them (or it), and then in practice… not so great. And prosciutto I never really took a liking to, but I figured that since that opinion was formed when my family went to Italy when I was 10 or 11, maybe 11-year-olds have bad taste or no taste or I was just being a little jerk, so I was going to try it again. I like it better now, but I’m still not entirely sold on it. So this dish has these two fairly strong flavours in it, and I think they worked together, but they are pretty commanding, so prepare your mouth.