Fettuccine with Prosciutto, Tomatoes, and Peas
There is a quaint Bed & Breakfast in Walla Walla, Washington where we stay whenever we visit our daughter, Isabelle, who attends college in that town. We enjoy the Fat Duck Inn not only for its peaceful surroundings, and the lush hydrangea which charms us on the patio during a leisurely breakfast, but also for the innovative wine-tasting dinners prepared by the proprietor, Chef Rich Koby. The Inn’s craftsman-style dining room provides a relaxing, homey environment for meeting other guests staying at the inn, and townspeople who flock to the Duck for the meals. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to taste wines from local wineries.
The last time we enjoyed a special dinner there was on Valentine’s Day. Several of the courses contained either bacon or pork, about which my left-hand dining neighbor remarked, “Back in the day, I was a vegetarian. Now, I eat it all. And whoever says they don’t like bacon, is lying.”
If bacon is what you’re craving, you can’t go wrong with this recipe. Loaded with flavor, you can leave the prosciutto off, if you like. Bacon is always optional, isn’t it? But in this case, I’d highly recommend it.
3 T extra virgin olive oil, divided (plus more for pasta)
4 oz thinly sliced prosciutto, halved, and cut crosswise into 1-inch strips
3 large garlic cloves, pressed
3 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup shredded fresh basil
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb fettucine
Cook pasta in large pot of boiling water according to package directions. Pasta should be tender but firm to the bite when ready. Drain and return to pot. Toss with 1-2 T olive oil and cover until ready to serve.
While pasta is cooking, warm 1 T oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add prosciutto and sauté until crisp, about 5-7 minutes. Transfer to plate lined with paper towels. Add remaining oil to same skillet. Add garlic and sauté over medium heat for 15 seconds, until fragrant. Add tomatoes and peas, and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in half-and-half, basil, and cheese. Bring to a low boil, stirring to combine elements of sauce, and to melt cheese evenly. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add sauce to pasta in pot, tossing gently to coat. Serve in shallow pasta bowls, sprinkling with prosciutto to each diner’s taste.
I paired this dish with a Walla Walla favorite from Tertulia Cellars. Their 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon has intense fruit flavors, particularly that of blueberry and black currant, underscored by a balsamic essence perfect for this hearty, Italian pasta. While one wouldn’t necessarily think of a Cab to go with pasta, Stephanie Davis of Winacea, LLC welcomes non-traditional food and wine pairings. Basically, she says, if you like it, it goes together. However, she says that in our world of over 100,000 different wines available in the US, the choices can be overwhelming. It is much easier to follow a suggestion from a trusted friend, or wine professional. Tertulia sells their wines in Washington State, Idaho, or online at their website. If you can’t find it, and are looking for a “taste” of Walla Walla, you can find other area producers in your local wine shop, such as Charles Smith, Amavi, Dunham, or L’Ecole.
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Here’s a great website for visiting Walla Walla wine country. Ciao from Stephanie and Emily!