Monday, March 10, 2014

Pappardelle with Chestnuts, Prosciutto, and Sage

I can't believe I haven't written a post about this pasta dish!  It's been part of my regular rotation for years.  It's very quick and delicious!  I love chestnuts so it's one of my favorite meals to make, especially in winter when it's easier to get chestnuts.  A few years ago, Wegmans only sold Haddon House jarred chestnuts in the baking aisle.  They were nearly always sold out.  Thankfully, they now carry Galil bagged chestnuts year round.  Chestnuts are kind of earthy so I think the salty flavor of the prosciutto goes really well with it.  According to a random episode of Chopped I saw the other night, people don't like to eat raw sage.  This recipe calls for a little as a garnish and I think it's fine.

I made a few adaptations to the recipe.  The original recipe called for pancetta, but I almost always use cubed prosciutto because I can get it without nitrites.  Even though 8 ounces of chestnuts is supposed to be for 4 servings, I use the whole 8 oz jar of Haddon House chestnuts or two 3.5 ounce bags of Galil chestnuts.  Regardless, I use extra.  I add some extra sage to the pan with the garlic.  I usually end up using twice the amount of meat because nitrite-free prosciutto comes in 3 oz packages and I don't want to waste it.  I like to buy fresh pasta and the store doesn't always have tagliatelle, for this batch I used pappardelle instead.  The recipe says to use 1/2 cup of pasta cooking water when adding the cheese and butter.  The few times I followed this step, I ended up with a gross watery sauce that diluted the cheese and looked ugly.  So now I just eyeball it and I doubt I even use 1/4 cup.

Papardelle with Chestnuts, Prosciutto, and Sage
Serves 2
slightly adapted from epicurious

3 ounces diced prosciutto
1/2 small Spanish onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbsp chopped fresh sage, divided into 2 Tbsp and 1 Tbsp
~6-8 ounces bottled or bagged roasted whole chestnuts, coarsely chopped or crumbled
1 ounce finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (I used extra for this batch)
Pappardelle or Tagliatelle


1) Heat some salted water for the pasta and do prep work while waiting for the water to boil.

2) In a pan that will eventually be able to hold all ingredients, cook the prosciutto in the olive oil over moderate heat until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes. At the same time, cook pasta according to package directions.  Retain 1/2 cup of pasta cooking water, drain the pasta and set aside.

2) Add the garlic and 2 Tbsp sage and cook for 1 minute. Then stir in chestnuts and remove from heat.

3) Add pasta to the pan with the prosciutto mixture and stir in butter and cheese.  Add a splash or two of the reserved 1/2 cup of pasta cooking water if the sauce looks too dry.  Once everything is well incorporated, add salt and pepper to taste.

4) Serve sprinkled with parsley and the remaining 1 Tbsp of sage.

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