After our trip to Italy, pasta will never be the same. I've simply never tasted anything like the fresh, homemade pasta we enjoyed in Venice. It was beautiful on the plate and soft in the mouth. At times, I barely had to chew because it would literally just melt away. In a word, it was heavenly.
Sadly, fresh pasta is a little tougher to come by in Phoenix. I know I could make it myself and, believe me, it's a major priority for me this summer when I have more time and tomatoes and basil are fresh and just begging to be made into a simple sauce. For now, a very busy time, I'm making do with dried pasta. It wasn't the mouthful of perfection I loved in Venice, but with this outstanding, creamy sauce, it was definitely a winner. If you can make or find fresh pasta, go for it. This recipe absolutely deserves it.
Fettuccine with White Beans, Mascarpone, and Prosciutto
adapted from Williams-Sonoma
1 lb. fettuccine
3 TBSP unsalted butter
3 TBSP olive oil
5 medium leeks, white portion only, cut into thin rounds
2 (15-oz.) cans white beans
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
1 c. chicken stock
1/2 c. mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
grated zest of 1 large lemon
1/4 lb. thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into narrow strips
large handful of fresh basil leaves, shredded
1/2 c. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
Directions:1. Bring a large pot two-thirds full of water to a boil over high heat. Generously salt the water, add the pasta and cook according to package directions.
2. Meanwhile, in a large frying pan over medium heat, melt the butter and olive oil. Add leeks and sauté until soft, 5-6 minutes. Add the beans, salt, pepper, and nutmeg and sauté 1 minute. Add the stock and simmer about 4 minutes.
3. Remove pan from heat, add the mascarpone and lemon zest, and stir until the cheese is melted. (High heat can make mascarpone separate.)
4. Drain the pasta and transfer to pan containing bean mixture. Add prosciutto, basil, and half of the Parmigiano-Reggiano and toss to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately and pass the remaining cheese at the table. Serves 4-6.