So lately I'm finding myself following fewer and fewer recipes than what I used to. I'll look in the fridge or the pantry, see what's available and think to myself, "This would taste great with that, and oh, I'll put some of this in for some nice crunch."
Yesterday for lunch, I did just that, and I realized while I was making the dish that it was a modified version of Giada DeLaurentiis's Orecchiette with Toasted Breadcrumbs. I've made this dish a couple times before, but it was a very long time ago - and, dare I say? my version was better than hers!
Here are the ingredients: (measurements are approximations)
- 1 lb. dried orecchiette
- 3 slices prosciutto
- 1/2 cup coarse breadcrumbs (not the ones from the store that have the texture of sawdust)
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 C shredded white sharp cheese such as Vermont cheddar or Gruyere
- 1 T butter
- 2 T EVOO
- 2 T chopped chives
1. As much as I love prosciutto, I have noticed that it can sometimes have a metallic taste to it depending on the quality. One of the ways to mask this is to crisp it up in a nonstick saute pan. Using nonstick prevents you from having to add any extra fat to the pan, so all you're doing is adding a crispy texture and a salty bite.
2. While prosciutto is crisping, bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil and cook pasta until al dente.
3. Using the same pan as you crisped up the prosciutto, add butter and EVOO. Once butter has melted, add garlic and shallot. Saute until fragrant. Add breadcrumbs and distribute evenly through the fat. Add the cheese. Take the pan off the burner and let the cheese melt just through the warmth of the breadcrumbs. Add chopped chives to top of breadcrumb mixture.
4. Once pasta is drained, mix together with breadcrumb mixture and then crumble crispy prosciutto on top. Enjoy!