Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Ziti with Asparagus, Smoked Mozzarella, and Prosciutto

From Giada De Laurentiis; Everyday Italian

8 ounces dried ziti or other tubular pasta
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut diagonally into 1 inch pieces
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper, plus more to taste
3 ounces smoked mozzarella cheese, diced (about 1/2 cup)
3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut crosswise into strips
3 Tbsp thinly sliced fresh basil

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the ziti and cook 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the asparagus and cook until the pasta is tender but still firm to the bite, and the asparagus is crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain the pasta and asparagus, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

In a large, heavy skillet, heat the oil over a medium flame. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add the pasta, asparagus, 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper, and the 1 cup of reserved cooking liquid. Toss to coat. Remove the skillet from the heat. Add the mozzarella, prosciutto, and basil and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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