Buon giorno, Friends!
After a longer-than-expcted blogging break, it is so great to be back here sharing recipes with you, and today's post is extra, extra special. Today, I am joining many of my food blogging friends in a virtual baby shower for Aggie of Aggie's Kitchen!
No doubt you have come across many food bloggers who say that one of the best things-if not the best thing-about being a food blogger is the friendships that are born through our mutual love of cooking, baking, eating and sharing our creations on our respective blogs. But that is just the start. Many of us are lucky to eventually meet each other in person at conferences and various blogging events and the friendships grow even deeper. We get to know each other more personally, meet spouses and children, share stories about our lives and make connections that go beyond our love of food. To this day, I am still in awe of the many lovely friendships I have made and continue to make through food blogging.
Aggie's friendship is one of many that I am grateful for every day. We met for the first time in person at EVO '11 and we instantly hit it off. I felt like I had known her my whole life. We quickly discovered that we are both from Italian families and when two Italians meet, look out because we will not stop talking! Both Aggie and her fantastic blog are genuine and warm. When you read her posts, you feel like you are sitting next to a long-time friend and having a relaxed and fun conversation. She shares healthy and nutritious recipes that are family-friendly and use a creative and mouthwatering mix of flavorful ingredients.
For Aggie's virtual baby shower today, I am sharing a recipe for "Straw and Hay" tagliatelle, which is known in Italian as paglia e fieno. Most of Aggie's fantastic recipes are very figure-friendly, but this pasta recipe does not exactly fit into that category. However, since we are celebrating the upcoming arrival of Aggie's baby boy, I know she would definitely approve of indulging in something a little more decadent.
The reason this recipe is known as "straw and hay" is because the green spinach tagliatelle resemble the color of fresh straw and the egg tagliatelle resemble the color of hay. This dish is incredibly easy to make and comes together quickly once you have prepped your ingredients and cookware. The unexpected ingredient in this dish is scallions. Italians normally use shallots or onions as a flavor base for their sauces, but the scallions impart a more delicate onion flavor, which does not overwhelm the flavor of the finished dish. Bright green peas add pops of color and subtle sweetness and prosciutto adds a slightly salty note to every forkful. Of course, the best part is the cream sauce which coats every strand of tagliatelle. You just cannot go wrong with pasta in a cream sauce!
Dear Aggie, I hope you enjoy this recipe. I wish I lived closer to you so I could come over and make it for you and your family after the baby arrives. But since that is not possible, I hope you enjoy the gift of a new recipe to add to your recipe box. Auguri on welcoming Baby Micah to the world soon! Love you and Buon Appetito!
You can check out the full list of Aggie's blogging friends' delicious contributions to her virtual baby shower over on Liz, Julie and Sandy's blogs. There are some seriously delectable recipes. Can you imagine if we were all getting together in person and eating all this wonderful food? We would have to be (happily) rolled back home!
"Straw & Hay" Tagliatelle
Adapted from Lidia's Italian-American Kitchen by Lidia BastianichServes 3-4 people
Dried tagliatelle are often packaged in "nests", which unfurl on their own and with some gentle stirring once they are submerged into the pasta cooking water. Be sure to stir the tagliatelle with a wooden spoon (instead of a metal utensil) to prevent them from breaking apart when you first add them to the pasta cooking water.Since this dish comes together quickly, be sure to have all your ingredients and cookware ready in advance.1/2 pound dried egg tagliatelle
1/2 pound dried spinach tagliatelle2 T. salt (to season the pasta cooking water)2 T. extra-virgin olive oil2 T. unsalted butter4 scallions, finely minced1 cup frozen peas, thawed6 slices prosciutto, diced into 1/2-inch pieces2/3 cup low-sodium chicken stock1/2 cup heavy cream1/2 cup grated parmigiano-reggianoFreshly ground black pepper (optional)Bring 5-6 quarts of water to a rolling boil and add in the 2 tablespoons of salt. Stir well to dissolve the salt. Add in the tagliatelle and stir gently and often to ensure they do not stick while cooking.Heat a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and butter. When the butter has completely melted, add the scallions and saute them until they are wilted, 1-2 minutes. Add the peas and cook them for about 2 minutes until they have softened slightly. Add the prosciutto and toss it until it turns slightly opaque, about 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and bring it to a rapid boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let the chicken stock simmer until it reduces by half. Add the heavy cream and continue to lightly simmer the sauce until it thickens slightly.Once the tagliatelle are finished cooking, use tongs to carefully transfer them to the skillet of simmering cream sauce. Note: When transferring the tagliatelle from the pot to the skillet, let most of the water drip back into the pot, but it is OK if some of the pasta cooking water transfers to the skillet--the starch from the pasta water will help thicken the sauce and add great flavor.Once all the tagliatelle are in the skillet, raise the heat back up to medium and use the tongs to toss the pasta until it is completely coated in the sauce. The sauce will continue to thicken slightly. Remove the skillet from the heat, add the parmigiano, toss to incorporate the cheese and serve immediately. Garnish each bowl of pasta with a few grinds of fresh, black pepper.
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