Yes, the above image is that of one of the best pasta dishes I have ever made. But first, let me tell you how I came upon this recipe. It all started with Perfect Fish Tacos.
Last weekend, I got into the car to head to the beach at 4:30 in the afternoon, naïvely thinking I would arrive by 7:30… 8 at the latest. But alas, we faced miles and miles of terrible, horrible, no good very bad traffic, and we arrived at 10. And I missed dinner and Anne and Bill’s. Not just any dinner, but one of those dinners that everyone assembled at the beach talked about ALL WEEKEND LONG. Like every third conversation, the thread headed back to something like:
Wow, those fish tacos…
The combination of flavors was magical!
The jicama slaw really made it the dish work, don’t you think?
The pickled jalapenos were such a cool touch,
The breading on the fish was perfect – did you like the halibut or the cod better?
Wow, I can’t stop thinking about those sauces!
Sigh. Really, people rub it in. I ate a McDonald’s Snack Wrap for dinner.
Even my son, who I’ve never actually witnessed eating fish in his nineteen years on the planet was talking about how great the tacos were. He said: “Mom, they didn’t taste fishy at all!”
I replied: “Exactly how would you know what fishy actually tastes like? I’ve been trying to get you to eat fish for years…” (Though let me admit, I am very grateful he now understands how fabulous fish can be.)
And after all this gushing, I thought to myself. Wow. In order to impress friends and family with my culinary prowess, I should really be cooking from Bon Appétit more often. So I picked up this month’s edition. Which is the restaurant edition. Usually, I’m completely intimidated by the restaurant issue, because the recipes are all from chefs, with culinary degrees and real knife skills. I’m just a hungry gal in a home kitchen who can read a recipe.
But then I happened upon this pasta recipe, and was very intrigued. Prosciutto and lemon and cream sauce and toasted garlicky breadcrumbs. Oh my. And, it looked simple enough for someone without a degree from the CIA. (That would be the Culinary Institute of America)
I did tweak it a bit. First the pasta name… the recipe in the magazine called for lumaconi, but my local market called it lumache… both a nifty snail-shaped pasta which are apparently all the rage in the chef community. Then, I wasn’t going to mess with making my own breadcrumbs… I used the panko in my pantry, and it worked very nicely. Finally, I’m not a huge fan of raddichio… so I used thinly sliced spinach instead… lovely.
This is a simply divine pasta… first rate comfort food to eat on a rainy night while watching the Michigan – Notre Dame game. Rich and creamy and salty and tangy… there was not a speck left on any of the six bowls in the sink at the end of the meal… rave reviews all around.
Where is that subscription card for Bon Appétit?
Lumache with Prosciutto and Lemon Breadcrumbs
Adapted (just barely) from the September 2014 issue of Bon Appétit
- 4 oz. prosciutto, cut into ¼” pieces
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed
- ¼ cup brandy
- 2 sprigs thyme
- Zest of 1 lemon, removed in strips with a vegetable peeler
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
- Kosher salt
- 4 oz. prosciutto, cut into ¼” pieces
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for serving
- 1 pound lumache (snail shells) or other medium shell pasta
- Kosher salt
- 1 cup thinly sliced spinach
- ¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Pulse prosciutto in a food processor until finely ground. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook prosciutto, stirring often, until brown and crisp, 5–8 minutes.
Add shallot and garlic to skillet and cook, stirring often, until shallot is soft and garlic is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Add brandy and cook until skillet is almost dry, about 30 seconds.
Add thyme, lemon zest, and cream to skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until cream is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let steep 30 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl; discard solids.
Prosciutto cream can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.
Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook just until golden, about 2 minutes. Add breadcrumbs and cook, stirring constantly, until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain; let cool.
Discard garlic and transfer breadcrumbs to a medium bowl. Add lemon zest and toss to combine; season with salt.
Breadcrumbs (without lemon zest) can be cooked 1 day ahead. Store airtight at room temperature. Add lemon zest just before serving.
Pulse prosciutto in a food processor until finely ground. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook prosciutto, stirring often, until brown and crisp, 5–8 minutes. Add prosciutto cream to skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, until cream is thickened and coats the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente, according to package directions; drain.
Add pasta to sauce. Cook over medium heat, tossing, until pasta is well coated, about 2 minutes. Add spinach, parsley, and lemon juice and toss to combine.
Serve pasta topped with breadcrumbs.