Need to whip up a quick yet truly impressive dinner? Tagliatelle with Asparagus, Prosciutto Crudo, and Shrimp is the answer. Simply assemble a few good ingredients and toss them with superior-quality dried pasta or fresh pasta. Since I always have prosciutto crudo and dried pasta on hand, shopping for seasonal ingredients is easy. Substitute salmon or steamed mussels for the shrimp. It’s great because it is the same technique and timing, yet the pasta becomes deliciously different. When creating a sauce with broth, this Italian pasta dish remains very light and lower in calories than other dishes, yet full of favorite Italian flavors.
4 first course servings or 2 main course servings. Cooking time is about 10 minutes.
1 pound (454 g) tagliatelle
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 to 2 ounces (28 to 57 g) prosciutto crudo, finely chopped
16 stalks fresh asparagus (4 stalks per serving; 1 bunch)
16 large whole shrimp, shelled, de-veined, chopped (4 whole shrimp per serving)
2 cups (16 ounces or 473 ml) chicken or vegetable broth
1. Asparagus: Trim the ends and peel the stalks if preferred. Cut into 1/2-lengths, on the diagonal. Keep the asparagus tips separate from the stalks since they require less time to cook. The asparagus will be blanched in water: In a medium-sized pot of salted boiling water, cook the asparagus stalks first for about a minute, then add the tips and cook for another minute. Remaining firm, drain the asparagus and reserve.
2. Pasta: Meanwhile, in a deep pasta pot, bring salted water to a rolling boil. Immerse the pasta in the water, swirl occasionally with a fork to prevent the pasta from sticking together, and boil until a bit firmer than al dente since it will cook in the broth.
3. Sauce: In a large saute pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the finely chopped prosciutto crudo and saute for a minute, then add the blanched asparagus and chopped shrimp and saute for a minute. Pour in the broth and simmer for 2 minutes, then add the cooked tagliatelle. Toss the pasta in the hot broth and cook for another minute then put into warmed wide soup or pasta bowls.